Friends of the elderly in Pakistan: visit to the nursing home for the elderly in Yohannabad
April 11, 2011
Yohannabad is a big area in the southern part of Lahore, the capital of Punjab. It was born as a separate village estabilished by christian missionaries; despite its melting within the city, it keeps its original physiognomy.
Houses are low and poor, while vehicles and animals huddle in the same dirt roads.
The majority of Lahore christians live in Yohannabad; here the Community of Sant'Egidio gathers for the evening prayer in the church dedicated to St. John.
The Community has been visiting a small institution for poor elderly people since a couple of years ago; fifteen of them live there. Few rooms -mostly without windows- open onto a small courtyard, dusty as everything else around.
The friendship with the youth of the Community has illuminated the lives of these elderly people, who consider them their children and grandchildren: the story of the hours spent together, of the Christmas lunch, of the prayer with the Community, is a source of pride and joy.
The elderly, almost all Christians, came to live there after difficult years, marked by poverty and neglect. Josephine and John, a pair of brothers born in India, recall the dramatic exodus from their village. Others nailed photos on thier walls: a house or a car, owned years ago, of which nothing remains. But now, on the same walls, many elderly sticked the invitations to parties in the Community, the icon of the face of the Lord venerated at Sant'Egidio, along with the pictures of their new "children" who are having a party with them every Thursday.