In 1941, Laurie volunteered to go on a mission to help at a medical camp at Kutsing in inland China. Laurie used to make several journeys from the base camp to the north. During one such journey to Pichieh he contracted malaria and was admitted to a small hospital run by a group of German sisters. They were also running a leper colony in the hills away from other human habitation. However the sisters were under house arrest since they were Germans and they could not go to the leper colony to take care of the patients.
In the 1930-40s leprosy was a much-feared disease. So much so that lepers were frequently burnt or buried alive for fear of contamination and spreading of the disease. Naturally, the sisters had not found anyone willing to go and look after the leper colony. When Laurie heard of the plight of the lepers he agreed to go until the sisters could find someone permanent. So with the FAU's permission he took over at the leper colony. He dressed their ulcers, gave them medicines when available. He was doctor, nurse, pharmacist and pathologist. On Sundays he was even the parson at their church!
To continue reading to the next section "India and Gandhiji" click here
[Opens in a new window] Read a piece by one of Baker's FAU-mates who was stationed with him in China here