The Last Outcasts

  • June Goodfield


Before I went to Nepal my understanding of leprosy was similar to that of most people in the West. My knowledge was limited, my experience nil, and I wasn’t especially keen to increase either. As a daughter of the manse I had first learned about leprosy when my parents showed me the small slits high above the nave in many English churches. In medieval times, when leprosy was common in Europe, such windows were the closest contact lepers could make with the congregation. Their scaly skins, thickened features, and eroded lips, fingers, and noses provoked revulsion and fear. By crying “Unclean,” or sounding a bell, or wearing torn clothing, they were forced to identify themselves. Sometimes they were expelled from their villages or herded into special areas.


Water Buffalo Leprosy Patient Lepromatous Leprosy Leprosy Bacillus Kathmandu Valley 
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© June Goodfield 1985

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  • June Goodfield

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