“Our lives are like a storybook,” Tunu Sardar told me. When I had arrived at her home, her youngest grandchild bounced on her lap; as we talked, many happy grandchildren played around her. “Each of our lives is full of joy, and sadness, and learning, and love,” she said. “We each have so much to tell.”
For 35 years, Tunu Sardar has faithfully served thousands of people at AOB’s Memorial Christian Hospital. She has been nurse and midwife, then nursing supervisor and charge nurse. Though she retired from nursing this year, she continues to lovingly serve her family.
Tunu’s love for children is a special God-given gift that has changed her life. She grew up at a British school run by Anglican missionaries; even at a young age she taught children in their church’s Sunday School. Though her father died when she was young, her mother’s aunt provided for her so that she could study nursing at a British hospital. Then the devastating War for Independence began. She and many others escaped to India for a time; later she returned to her hospital and cared for destitute, fearful war-widows and their dear, little children. She invited those fatherless children to her room and played with them. She didn’t realize that she was being watched.
Her pastor’s son, Ajit, who was a few years older than she, had married, moved away, and had children; then suddenly his bride had died. Ajit’s parents noticed Tunu’s love for children, and they arranged her marriage to Ajit. He, too, was a nurse.
Soon after their marriage, Ajit came to Memorial Christian Hospital looking for jobs for himself and his new bride. He returned home to Tunu with news of jobs, housing, and loving Christian community. Soon after Ajit and his family arrived at MCH, a severely diabetic woman gave birth to a premature daughter and then died. When the preemie’s family was unable to care for her, Tunu welcomed the infant into their family as their own daughter. Ajit and Tunu’s son was born at MCH soon after that.
Through these 35 years at MCH, Tunu has worked alongside doctors who have been fast-as-rabbits or slow-as-tortoises. She tells stories of miraculous rescues and astounding cures. She has seen significant changes in the culture and economy and education of the area.
Though Tunu is no longer working at MCH, four of her family members - two of her children and her son-in-law and daughter-in-law work there. “This storybook hasn’t ended yet,” she says with a smile. Tunu Sardar plans to keep learning and loving ‘til the end.