At our first meeting, at the Purpulia hospital in West Bengal, Amal was stern-looking and reserved. She was waiting for her prosthesis to be adjusted to ensure a good fit.
Amal worked as a lonely farmer until she became ill with leprosy. Then, many years ago (as a complication of leprosy), she developed an ulcer which became infected. Only through amputation was she able to survive the disease. His relatives took pity on him: they even supplied him with food.
Amal had never seen a prosthetic leg before, so she couldn't imagine ever having one. She had no money and had been sitting at home for nearly twenty years, unable to leave her house. Two years ago she got her artificial leg. When we asked him how much it had changed his life now, his stiff expression disappeared and his eyes lit up. He seemed genuinely happy and described the prosthesis as the greatest thing in his life. When I met him, he was delighted to be able to go back and forth from town to village, and even to go to church. It transformed his whole life and he couldn't be happier with his new freedom.