Now we are twelve

Our non-orphan has gone with her mother.  She left smiling, and not looking back.  We had packed her school bag but she only took clothes.  The teachers and a few of the girls cried.  She didn’t.  This is the difference — as she never really wanted to be here;  she always wanted to be with her mother.  The decision came because her mother did not want to stay around long enough to arrange a boarding school.  She had places to go, people to see, and she said she would take her daughter and leave her with her sister.  She would have just walked out the gate, but we said we would drive them to her sister’s.  We wanted to know where they were going.  Whatever non-attachment the girl had, she was our responsibility.  I wanted to know for ourselves, for the other girls, for anyone who asked, where she had gone.

So after lunch, Bijoy, Gibi, Das Uncle (a neighbor and Board member) the child, her mother, and I piled into the car, with me taking pictures of course.  We knew the general area where we were going, as it was not far from where Bubbi, my cow, lives with Bijoy’s wife’s family.  After two hours we passed where Bubbi lives.  Then about fifteen minutes later we turned left off Diamond Harbor Road and I said to Bijoy, "Isn’t this the road with the cows?" meaning where we had gone to look at ‘boy cows" for Bubbi.  But he didn’t recognize it.  The mother had told us this was a very dangerous area, where we could be robbed at any moment.  She clutched my arm as we walked, as she said the car could go no further.  Bijoy stayed with the car.  We walked on.  Gibi worried, wondering where this woman was taking us.  I was relaxed as I’ve been in so many village areas like this — just peaceful people living their lives.

Suddenly though, Gibi stopped and said, "Look, look, the doctor’s house!!!!"  Yes, the house of the cow doctor was in front of us, and his wife was staring at us…. As we were about to pass, I stopped and called inside — as I saw the cows too,  The doctor came out smiling, thrilled to see us again and we told him where we were going, that this was one of our former children — our non-orphan.  So then he joined us, and we promised his wife we would stop on the way back, which we did.  I am often teased that I seem to know everyone, or someone everywhere.  This was an incredible coincidence, as nothing in how this girl came to us would suggest we would be back in this village.

We were well received in the sister’s home, and our girl took off, like a deer set free.  This is all she ever wanted.  When she came they said she was six or seven.  Probably she is 13-14 years old.  We rescued her when she needed rescuing.  It’s a complicated story.  Will she be OK?  Probably not, but there is not much to do about it.  We had little impact on her life.  I’m a realist.  I’ve taken care of girls like this.  I have a 100% failure rate.  When I thought this months ago, others thought i was just being cold-hearted.  It’s a learning process for each of us who tries, and I respect each person who wants to try.  Each teacher had come to me, charmed by this child’s manner, and each tried.  Sometimes there is nothing we can do.

The other girls were sad that she was so happy to leave, but they were also relieved.  Then they asked if we could try to get more of their friends from the government institution.  I said, soon… soon we will try.  I find myself with renewed energy. 

1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Laurie Wulf
    Mar 13, 2008 @ 20:24:52

    Michelle and Gibi,
    We celebrate and grieve with you all. Our memories continue to be updated through your blog and storytelling. This is one story in particular that we have felt deep connections to. Like your story communicates, we are connected over time and place as well as lives filled with heart.


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March 2008
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