Anton used to work for the Tanzanian government, pushing heavy carts of supplies around the city of Musoma.He often took supplies to Nyabangi, the local camp for lepers. For years he was abusive and cruel to the lepers there.
Many years later Anton became sick. Without a family to support him, he became a ward of the government.Now stripped of his strength, he had to take his place among the neglected poor.He was sent to Nyabangi to live among the very people he had abused, to live as one of them completely dependent on others for his care.
Last week Anton died.At his funeral there was no one from his family, no one from the government, only the people who had loved and cared for him through his last, most desperate years — the lepers of Nyabangi.As they buried Anton, I saw their grief.It wasn’t merely a case of poetic justice.I saw the redemptive power of love.