Bright Faces

Today, I’m going to introduce you to a few wonderful people. I met many people along my journey and these three kids deserve to be in the spot light.

I have written about a special encounter I had with a kid before, when I wrote about Child labor before, but these kids are at least as special...

  • Shefali, I meet her during my interpretation job  in a rural village .We interviewed and documented her family life. She’s only 14 yrs old and mute.She goes to a local school but often faced bullying.

Despite her verbal disability she’s a jolly girl. To be honest, she’s also brave for a country girl.I mean we needed her for video shooting with some acting skill, which she did without any hesitation and hundreds of locals around!

After our work there, I spent some time with her family and herself.I tried to give her my positivism and courage. Her mother told some sad stories about her daily life.

You see, living in a village and being a mute is very hard, especially for a girl. So many hyenas, preying on those they would perceive as weak! She was growing up and would soon hit her teens, and a rough world was awaiting for her.

Who would guide her properly? Her parents weren’t educated people and busy with daily life. Who will help her on higher education and such? To grow up, how much more difficulties will she face?

Someday she’ll be handed over to some husband, if her family finds one! I’m sure they need to furnish him with lands, money and god knows what else. What if he’s an another hyena? Yes, there is a chance that some kind, understanding heart marries her and that they venture the joy of life together.

Before I left the village I consulted with her father and an NGO person for her alternate career.

I truly wanted to see her become independent and not be perceived as a burden to any!

  • Amena, was the girl who followed us through our work with a curious smile in another village.Locals don’t care much of her, as she is from the next village. She has a mental disorder, local word is ‘Mad girl’. She kept asking us to visit her family, which we did.

Her family is wealthy compared to the other villagers. We met her mother, who was worried sick for her only daughter. It was quite a surprise for her mother that Amena brought a guest to the house.

She complained about Amena’s tendency to wander off without any notice.There were times when Amena went off for few days without a sign.

Apparently Amena, had been hit by a lightning bolt a year ago, which had caused her psychological disorder. They visited many doctors but they didn’t achieve much of a progress.In their attempt to help, her parents did the most horrible thing to her; calling in the aid of local voodoo doctor which is basically torture! What she really needs is counselling and true medical care, not these harmful practices.

She expressed her disappointment when she found out we wouldn’t be staying with her. We tried to comfort her but we could not accept her invitation.Even though she was a bit lost in her mind, she demonstrated her own way of figuring things out.

She observed our work in her own way and answered like a true philosopher; “You’re taking video of present times but our life will carry on without the camera”, “No one can record time.. but that doesn’t matter”.And then she burst into laughter! I think her mind works quite amazingly and it’s a pity hardly anyone understands her.

It would do her good to have access to higher medical treatment, may be someone in the neuroscience dept. Her brain discovers things which normal people don’t. She lives in a rural place where hospital care was barely available.

I shared my thoughts with her parents so that she won’t end up like another mad one in the village.      

  • Rahim, is a Dhaka city Tokai who lives in a slum and collects plastic garbage from the street.

    Our introduction was an interesting one for me. I was drinking bottled water in a commercial area of Dhaka city and this little street kid(!!) came up to me and complained about why people didn’t leave some water in the bottles when they threw away so he could have the last drops!

I couldn’t drink the rest of the water after that. Giving him another bottle full of cold water wouldn’t solve the issue there but I did help him out for the moment with some food!

What or how do we solve the street kid issue ?.. Don’t ask me; i’m looking for the answer too!..

He moves around from place to place (slums). He is an orphan and often uses a local drug called Dunde, which is a glue for repairing punctures on bicycle tubes. They put the glue in a plastic bag and inhale from the bag.

How can I ever live normally after witnessing this? I go by my daily routines without doing anything about it, let alone resolve it?Don’t you just go crazy over it, as well as helpless in your own self?

I did my best for Rahim while i was there but that’s not even close to any solution. May be only better path to live with dignity for Master Rahim!

There are so many Shefali, Amena, Rahim living around us. How many of us know about them or do anything about them?! I always do my level best, wherever i meet them!

I tried to make them smile and show them some better way of living.But that’s not enough and it always leaves me with sadness.

These kids are not incidents, but symptoms of a negligent, so called civic system.

If Rahim doesn’t work tomorrow, who will collect your thrown away bottle of beverage off the street, hah??     

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