They wear bright color saris if they are nurses. A pink, coral color, which is as beautiful as the flowers that are planted outside the clinic door. Others wear a peaceful turquoise blue sari, the color of clear water in photos of a tropical island. These usually are worn by the custodians who not only keep the floors clean and medical facilities pristine, but who also assist on eye surgery day, helping the nurses and doctor with procedures where needed.
No matter where they are at Menno Clinic, the smiles of the women who work here light up a room. Their hearts connect with the patients, and their laughter is one that draws you to them.
But it’s not because their lives are simple, carefree, and we’re painting a picture of the best workers who don’t tire. It’s because their presence at the clinic, whether working with patients or taking care of the facilities, is powerful. Most of the staff at Menno Clinic are women, with only four men on staff (our doctor, eye surgeon, lab technician, and facility manager, Koti). Our administrator, gynecologist, dentist, eye doctor, nurses, custodians, cook, and laundry provider are all women. Many of them are the primary income for their home because several of them are widows. In a culture where women have fewer opportunities for meaningful work, careers, and equity among
male counterparts, Menno Clinic offers a safe environment of meaningful work for women. Every morning at 9:00 when the clinic is open, several of the women voluntarily gather in the Lambright chapel for prayer, bible reading, and hymns of worship before they start the workday. The care among them is evident. The care for the clients is easy to see.
“Thank you so much for what you do. The work here is so important” said one of the newer staff to a board member on a recent visit, with a hug and tears. These women and men serve almost 90 clients a day, six days a week, at both the eye and dental clinic. They see the conditions of those who come. They see the relationships formed. They see the different groups interacting that, perhaps, would not associate on the streets of Chiluvuru or beyond. People of different castes, religions, and languages.
Meaningful work is a gift. It’s something we all search for and, perhaps, a few of us find in our lifetime. For the women, specifically, working at Menno Clinic, they are not only paid a fair wage in a safe environment, but contribute, perhaps, more to the ministry than what can ever be seen. Their gentle touch, reassuring smile, and friendly conversation impacts those receiving services from the clinic.
Perhaps, more importantly, is what the clinic is able to provide them as women with personal stories that may not be whispered to the general population. But each of them have stories, as we all do, that are seen and honored by God. Hardship. Widowhood. Adversity. Pain and sorrow.
At Menno Clinic, they have the freedom to be the women they’re created to be in the stories God has given them, in an environment where they receive the grace of Jesus Christ.
If you’d like to join in supporting the work of Menno Clinic to fund the salaries of our staff, click the link at the top of the page under “donate” or you can mail a donation to Menno Clinic, c/o Emma Mennonite Church, 1900 S 600 W, Topeka, IN 46571.