The Little Girl I Didn’t Bring Home


The little girl I didn’t bring home

My goal is to help Aunty’s Home to be a better place, where Aunty can take care of the children who look to her for love, comfort, and food.   I sat there, holding this child a long time, talking to her (she doesn’t speak) and trying to define better my personal mission here as well as Shishur Sevay’s.

It came down to responsibilities, and cold decisions that are hard to openly admit.  Right now I do not have a second-in-command.  If I get sick, or die, Shishur Sevay will have to struggle through with some emergency plans we do have in place.  The place will continue, but the course may be rocky in terms of administration.  My goal for the last year was to identify who would do each of the things I do in the course of the day.  I’ve had two people I thought would last, potential administrators, but they did not work out.   So decisions I make today seriously affect the future of Shishur Sevay.  This child will never walk, talk, or be able to care for herself.  We have four children like that, truly our beloved choto bacchas (small children).  K, who I took on Christmas Eve, can walk, talk, feed herself, go to the toilet.  She will one day be independent. Second, Dr. Michelle Harrison, and Shishur Sevay cannot be an answer to the government’s refusal to take seriously the needs of orphans, especially those with multiple disabilities.  I am at Aunty’s orphanage helping because this IS my concern, the care of orphans.  What I can do is to give medical and health guidance to her home.  I’m not licensed in India so I walk a fine line.  (I do function as if someone is paying attention to such things, as I feel vulnerable).  Aunty has several children in the hospital, and this child as well as others will be going into the hospital for a period of evaluation.  As official medical advisor I will be following up with in-hospital visits, and discussions with doctors. Third, the girls at Shishur Sevay really do care about other orphans, about the poor, about those with disabilities.  I want them to learn how to care for these children.  It’s an opportunity for the girls who cannot, or will not study.  This work gives them meaning.  And, in my idealistic world of tomorrow, even my idealistic India, people will be needed who know the job, but even more, those who care.     The fundamental problem with Aunty’s home is that the government is almost one year in arrears.  Without pay, staff stops coming.  Without staff, the children with profound disabilities don’t eat.  Feeding them is very time-consuming.  At Shishur Sevay I have four people feeding four children.  Lunch is from 1-2:30 because it takes that long to feed them, put them on potty chairs, and bathe them.  Aunty has 1-2 people for seven children who cannot feed themselves.  Her older boys help out, but it takes training to feed these children so they don’t choke.  That’s what we have been doing the last three days, feeding and bathing.

Aunty loves these children.  Love is not enough, but neither is food enough.  The government has told her that money will be coming shortly.

December 2011
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