Oct 31, 2008
|Leaving the children is SO hard. We were unsure of what to tell them this time. We do not know if we will be back in a week after an adventure to Bhutan or if we will be heading to Swaziland and back to Joybells in a couple of years.
We have had a wonderful time. It has been fantastic to have Matt and Catherine Barski guide us in our classrooms, and to spend time with them over meals laughing about the kids and the randomness that can sometimes be Joybells. We have re-connected with the older children and been overwhelmed at their progress and the ways they have settled into this community. We have bonded with new children and fallen in love with this place once again. We have enjoyed teaching, and playing sports, and singing, and unwinding metres and metres of wool to make braceletts, and cuddling, and walking, and washing our clothes in buckets, and being in the warm sunshine at 9am in October, and meeting new staff members and hearing their stories, and the kids, the kids, the kids.
However, as part of my processing, I would like to introduce Sonam. Sonam has been one of my 24(!) kindergarden students who range in ability from no English and literally days of schooling to ones who are quite able to write their alphabet, recognize colours, and communicate with me.
He has big, big eyes and is one of the skinniest children at the school. Part of his story that I know is that he was taken in by his Grandmother after he was found 'feeding' from his dead mother. He has clearly been malnourished and his health is poor as a result of it. His poor health has given him and I an opportunity to bond and bond we have. I had started wound care several times a day with him and our time would end with a treat of dried apricots and coconuts and a walk hand-in-hand back up to the school building.
I didn't think that he could speak any English until a week or so ago when he started jabbering away with me.
"Emma Mam, you like mangoes or oranges?"
"me also, I like mangoes!" ... and so the banter continues...the list of fruit, favourite animals, etc...
One of his coping mechanisms is to completely shut-down if he is in pain or upset. He will not smile, respond to tickling, look at you, cry, nothing. He just shuts down.
A little hand found mine for an hour or so before we left. With only a few minutes to go he was still holding my hand, but was shutting down - only this time big fat tears were dripping onto his green T-shirt. I had been ok up until this point, but it totally broke me. I wiped as many of his tears away as I could with my finger, kissed him, and hugged him. I made sure that he was safe with some of the older children and then I had to get onto our taxi to head to the train station.
These children are so precious. I love them very deeply. It is very painful to not journey with each of them. But, it has been amazing to return after 2 years and know that the "Sonam's" from before are thriving now and that my Sonam will also be thriving before too long.
His photo will be on here soon. Thanks for reading.
Since leaving, we have heard that Pasang (the little girl in the hospital) has had a third draining of her intestinal infection and that she is not doing so well. She has been in hospital for almost four weeks now. If you are the praying kind, please offer some on her behalf (and her younger sister, Sonam Chukie)