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Dosung Village Is Changing
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승인 2011.12.07  15:09:03
트위터 페이스북 미투데이 요즘 네이버 구글 msn
<#314 Reporter’s Sketch>
Dosung Village Is Changing
By Kang Min-hee, Student Editor
When you think of leprosy, otherwise known as Hansen’s disease, what comes to your mind? Many people will come up with Sorok-do because it has been exposed in the media a lot. However, Dosung Village, which is located in Yeosu, is also a place for leprosy patients. Since the 1920s, the patients have gathered in Aeyang Hospital because the U.S. missionaries took care of the lepers and made houses for them. The number of the patients increased rapidly, and they made Dosung Village.


Aeyang Church in Dosung Village

The village is located at the edge of Yeosu, near Yeosu Airport. The city bus crossed the mountain and I left alone, so I definitely doubt that I took the right bus to get to Aeyangwon. In Aeyangwon, the first leprosy hospital in Korea, there are some sculptures and monuments in memory of the founders and contributors, and they remind me that it is not just an ordinary place. Going up Sandol Street, I came across a little old church, that’s name has changed from Aeyangwon to Sungsan. Most of the residents are Christians and the church is a place for meeting. As Sunday approached it looked leisurely but vivid. Nearby is the original Aeyang Hospital building. Nowadays, it is a Memorial Museum, which is a representative museum of leprosy in Korea, but unfortunately its opening hours were over so I could not look around. However I feel the village residents are always thankful to the contributors through the various memorials. There is also a memorial park under construction to honor the lepers and contributors. There are two museums and many memorials for their doctors. If doctors had not done their best, there wouldn’t be any memorials in the village.
The Dosung Village looks like just an ordinary country village. For a long time visitors had restricted access to the village because many people were worried that leprosy was contagious and therefore scared of the lepers. The village is larger than I thought. There are many farms in the village for raising cows or chickens so that lepers can earn money by selling farm livestock. Walking along the street, I could see many electric wheelchairs, so called Sabali. The wheelchairs should become feet for leprosy patients. When I was in the Dosung Village, even though the village was big, it was very silent and it was very difficult to meet someone. After a while I met an old woman and I soon realized that she was in fact a leprosy patient, who did not have any eyebrows. Actually, I felt a little nervous because her face looked strange but she smiled at me. She said, “After 10 years, our village will not be a leprosy village. We are getting old and old people eventually die. Healthy people have lived for many years. If the missionaries had not come here, we couldn’t have survived. We always thank both God and them and I hope everyone knows this“. Dosung Villagers have had tough experiences but they are able to get over the harsh diseases and live with “Sacrifices and Love”. Even though the old lepers will disappear, their spirits will live on and make people come Dosung Village.
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