Punkaj stayed at the clinic for the entire week leading up to his surgery. It was too far and expensive of a journey to travel back and forth between his home. A few days before his surgery he respectfully asked the surgeons if he could have a different surgery then they had originally planned. He was set to have additional work done to further release his neck. Instead, he asked if he could have the contracture in his armpits released. He shared that his school is a long way from his home and he has to ride his bike to get there. Because of his contractures, it is difficult for him to lift his arms high enough to hold the handle bars and this difficulty was impacting how often he was able to attend class. Of course, the doctors agreed and before we left Punkaj received the surgery which will give him much greater movement in his arms and shoulder.
Here is an excerpt from Punkaj's letter to the volunteer translator and team: "You and all your team members are very nice. All of you are God sent to us. You are like God on earth for us. All of you have our heartfelt prayers. May God give you all the happiness and may he grant all your wishes. May you always be happy."
In this blog, although he may never see it and he surely doesn't understand English, I'd like to write my own note back:
Punkaj - Your bright and hopeful spirit touched our hearts. It was our joy and our privilege to be able to help you. Every day when we arrived at clinic you greeted us with a smile, a 'good morning maam' and stretched our your hands to take ours in greeting. What a lovely person you are. We wish you success and happiness.