My visit to a Residential Care today made me think, feel and reflect on a lot of things. The Care I visited holds several foster homes for children who have been abandoned or ill-treated by their parents. There were around 12 flats, with a “Mother” and around 5 children in each one; ranging from baby to 18 years old. The mothers are paid to stay there and take care of the children, however, they are replaced by “Aunts” (Mothers’ so-called sisters) when the Mothers leave to go to their real house. I understand that the children are not told that the “Mothers” are not their real ones, until they have some maturity.
When I reached there, the teenagers had gone out with one of the Responsible Officer. Hence, only the less-than-11-years-olds were there, all cute and innocent. My heart was beating fast, scared that the kids may start crying on seeing me, a new face. I said Bonjour, entered the first flat and sat on a chair. There were two girls around 4-5 years old and two boys may be 1-2 years younger. I was talking to the Mother, giving the children time to get accustomed to my presence when one of the girls, named Khushi, came to me and hugged me. I closed my eyes, hugged her back and whispered hello in her ear. She showed me the Henna tattoo someone just made on her foot, on which I commented “very beautiful”… because it was! #small_happiness
The mother told me that three of the kids were real brother and sisters and both of their parents were not capable of maintaining the family. So, a decision was taken to bring the kids to the Residential Care. I kept visiting, donating and gifting every kid with what I had brought. It was hard for me to hide my emotions, but I had to smile even though I kept thinking… so young kids!
There were around 15 children and by then, they had accepted me in their trusted circle – I could feel it even though they didn’t say anything. I reached the Care’s garden, where five of the boys were doing their daily or weekly tasks: irrigating, planting, plucking and selling the veggies to the mothers of the care. The person in charge of the garden and their coach told me that they are trying to inculcate business skills in the children as well as train them in some manual jobs. Who knows, some might find their future traced in the agricultural industry!
While going inside the garden, I was like: Oh, it’s muddy! I might slip. One among the boys replied: Miss, don’t worry, it’s dry here. Come and see my veggies. I didn’t need to be asked twice. I was in awe in front of all the veggies, nicely planted! I ended up buying brinjals, coriander, chillies and lettuce. ^_^ I saw the boy who called out to me asking the coach to put some more coriander and chilli in my lot. When he came to me, I told him: I know you asked him to put some more for me, so here’s your money and some additional rupees for that nice gesture. He smiled and said: You know everything :O
I didn’t want that moment to end. Knowing that I will be coming again made me leave the place with a lighter heart. I was waiting for the transport to pick me up when another boy from the garden joined me, barefoot – all muddy. I smiled at him, we took a selfie and well, he cracked me. He said: I miss my mother. If she was here, she would have taken a selfie with me too. To be honest, it was very VERY hard to hold back my tears. Thank GOD there was breeze around, whirlpooling my hair on my face to hide my watery eyes. I asked him about his mother and father. He told me he knows their names but never met any of them. He’s been brought to the Care since he was a baby. I felt so bad… because he is living with a hope that some day they will come take him back – like many others were taken back I presume.
Well, there.. my day. I came home with a headache because I kept thinking about many stuffs which I won’t be able to change, ever. I was feeling angry, happy, sad… I can’t put a word to my feeling actually.
If we all wish together that children should suffer no more, will this wish come true?
“There’s no harm in trying,” says a small voice coming from my heart.