Reason to rejoice with Ruzean
Girish Santiago, SJ (GUJ)
In the month of January 2014, I was visiting various educational centres of our Christian organizations in the four dioceses of Gujarat, India. Primarily I had to interview a few students with disabilities and non-disabilities, their parents and principals, in order to assess the impact of the inclusive education in their respective educational institutions.
I reached to interview the English medium students of St. Anne school, Kalol, in Gandhinagar Archdiocese. While an interview was on, the concern filled Principal Sr. Sissy Scaria, approached me with a mother and her child and said, "Father, this 12 year old Ruzean is our student. She cannot hear and speak. She is in 6th standard. I fully trust in God and you. Do something please!" Having listened to the genuine request of the disabled-friendly Principal, the young divorced mother Mrs. Bilkis Sulemanbhai Ghanchi, standing nearby pleaded me with her painful tears: "Please Father, heal my daughter from such hearing and speech impairments". While such conversations were on, Ruzean Asif was in her own world, for neither she heard the requests nor could she request me for such a healing. Instead, she kept on smiling and was holding the hands of her younger sister Kushboo, the 4th standard girl of the same school. In the midst of such an environment, what I enjoyed the most was the innocent smile of the relaxed Ruzean and her direct pierced look into my eyes.
Having experienced such a scene I assured the mother, the peon of the school by saying: "Sure. I assure that one day this girl will hear and speak. Let's trust in God's healing power. Can you, the mother and the Principal, join me for this noble cause?" To my pointed question they answered at once, "By all means Father...!" Thus began our collaborative new evangelization work!
Later, after two months, I had taken the mother and child to the civil hospital in Ahmedabad. There we met my old friend Dr. Rajesh Vishwakarma. From the year 2000 he has been assisting us at various intervals in Unteshwari Sammilitalayam, our centre for persons with all kinds of disabilities. Having listened to us and the initial investigation, Ruzean was sent by him for a proper check up. After having checked thoroughly, the report was handed over to us.
Having seen the report to Dr. Rajesh Vishwakarma finally he said: "Father, I hope, your request will be granted with God's intervention and our human accompaniment. We hope soon she will be able to hear and speak with the right side cochlear implant surgery operation. I will be the one doing such a surgery with the team our Doctors here in the civil hospital itself".
A Cochlear Implant is a surgically implanted electronic device that provides a sense of sound to a person who is profoundly deaf or severely hard of hearing. It may help provide hearing in patients who are deaf because of damage to sensory hair cells in their cochleas. In those patients, the implants often can enable sufficient hearing for better understanding of speech.
Finally, in the month of January 2015 she received the call for the implant. The following day, just before the operation I met Dr. Rajesh and listened to him. After wishing him, I blessed the girl. On 21st January, 2015 she was operated and the cochlear implant device was fixed by Dr. Rajesh and his team of doctors and nurses.
After the operation she remained in the hospital for about ten days. Today, all those who go to visit her in her residence at Kalol are amazed to see her hearing and speaking with a smiling face. I too went to see her. Oh, what a memorable experience it was!
By seeing her daughter conversing with me, the exited mother exclaimed, "Finally, Khuda,(the name of God for Iranians) has heard my prayers Father! My soul rejoices, for God has done wonders in my daughter Ruzean. Thank you Fr. Girish!" Well, by these words I was humbled, for I know very well that it was not I but God who laboured through various persons of good will to make Ruzean hear and speak. At this moment, I could encounter the joyful tears of Ruzean's beloved mother. Oh, what a moment of grace for all of us! Indeed it was a unique experience for all of us to journey with Ruzean and Bilkis for a noble cause!