The smell was overpowering as Esther walked to a shed behind a home in a remote village in East Indonesia. There she found a badly burned boy near death. He was extremely weak. Anto had been burned in an accident. Burns that covered both legs from his hips to his feet were molded and infected. His burns were so bad that his family had given up on this 17 year old boy. They had “put him out” to die. Esther said—she got mad when she saw him and told him he was not going to die but live. They picked up his limp body and took him to the clinic. His burns needed immediate treatment. They needed to be cleaned and the bad skin removed. He also needed a lot of support.
Can you imagine being taken by your family to a shed and left to just die? Anto had his entire life before him but he had to be treated for these terrible injuries. Esther and the medical staff performed the painful process of cleaning the burned skin and began therapy. This was a slow process but day by day and month by month Anto began to improve. He was a quiet young man who had a lot of strength. I watched the staff change his sterile dressings many times. I saw his transformation as he went from a bed to a chair—from a chair to a wheel chair—from a wheel chair to crutches—from crutches to walking a couple steps—from steps to walking—from walking to running.
He had made good progress and worked very hard through a lot of pain to go from a “death shed” to a vibrant teenager who was now running. Anto wants to be a medical worker. He has experienced the life giving care and wants to give it to others. Esther has become an important part of his life because she saw a future for him at his lowest point in his life. Anto is an example of what can happen when a person has a bad burn in remote areas of the world. They do not believe there is anything that can be done for some of these injuries. We need to educate people in these regions that many of these injuries are treatable.