Kirshna’s mother and father were both Maoist rebels and were killed in an uprising when she was just a small toddler. She spent the consecutive years of her life with the Maoist Army moving from camp to camp in hiding. One of the ways that the rebels spread their movement and recruited new members were through moving from village to village singing and dancing to revolutionary songs. When Kirshna came to us she taught the other children every song and dance she knew. She is and probably always will be the first one up on the dance floor.
Kirshna is a bursting bubble of laughter and joy. She exudes happiness and everyone she meets falls in love with her. She likes to talk a lot and I often see her walking along side the women laborers that work at our house. She follows them back and forth as they carry bricks and sand chit-chatting away.
When she’s upset about something, she makes sure that the whole house knows about it. She’ll sit pouting in her room for hours, occasionally stomping outside to where we are all sitting, making an “appearance” and then stomping back into her room.
A few months ago I was teaching all the kids about the importance of respecting a guest. I explained that when someone comes into our home we should give them a warm welcome and a smile. A few days later I was in my room, which happens to be attached to the main entrance room of the house, when I overheard Krishna talking in her most sophisticated voice. “Welcome to our home. You’d like to meet Maggie? I believe she’s a little busy right now. Sit down in this chair and make yourself comfortable. I’ll let her know you’ve arrived. Would you like a cup of tea? Or some water?” She’s now like my “meet and greet” girl and she loves it.
When Krishna came to us her hair was so filled with lice that I had to cut pretty much all of it off. After one of the first days at school, Kirshna came home with a very serious look on her face.
“Maggie, you have to go into school tomorrow and talk to my teacher.”
“Why? What happened?” I asked, worriedly.
She opened up her notebook and showed me her class work from that day. Written on the top of the page in red pen were the words “I am a boy,” and beneath it Kirshna had rewritten the phrase at least 30 times. I fought to hold back a smile.
“Why didn’t you tell the teacher you are a girl silly goose!??”
“I keep telling her but she doesn’t listen to me,” Kirshna answered.
“I have an idea,” I said as I whipped out my pen.
On the top of Kirshna’s homework page I wrote the words, “I am a girl.” I left that evening for the market and when I returned home Krishna came to show me her homework. She had written the words “I am a girl” at least a hundred times consuming the front and back of about 10 pages in her notebook. She marched into school the next day and proudly showed the teacher her homework. (Sometimes people still call Kirshna a boy, but it doesn’t seem to phase her. She still asks me to cut her hair at least once a week.)
Kirshna is very gifted in the classroom. She just seems to pick things up really quickly. I’ve noticed when I teach her a word in English... she’ll say it in a conversation a few days later. I’ll think to myself... “oh my gosh... I didn’t even remember that I taught you that word.” She also takes it upon herself to make sure that her “little brothers” are in line. When one of the boys gets in trouble at school, Krishna is the first one to tell me about it. Sooner or later I’ll have to teach her the word “tattle tale.”
Very often I’ll find her with another child sitting in her room tutoring them and making up little pretend tests. When new little girls come in, Kirshna takes pride in helping me clean them up and feel at home. She combs their hair, gives them a tour, and teaches them the ropes. She’ll even give them some of her own clothes to wear until they have their own. “Maggie, don’t forget to give her a tooth brush,” she’ll tell me and she holds the new girl’s hand and skips out the door.
I’d like to thank Kirshna’s very generous sponsors, the Gaynor Family for supporting her to live in our home and go to school.
Her face is a map of the world
Is a map of the world
You can see she's a beautiful girl
She's a beautiful girl
And everything around her is a silver pool of light
The people who surround her feel the benefit of it
It makes you calm
She holds you captivated in her palm
She’s got the power to be, the power to give and the power to see.
(lyrics by KT Tunstall)
I met this young girl just a few weeks ago in a remote village. She's lost vision in her left eye. If she can be operated on she'll be up as one of our next candidates for surgery when I get back. I've been trying to do some research in the meantime. What is this? How does it happen? Can it be fixed?
There was an entry a few weeks ago on shutter sisters about the French expression "Ugly-beautiful." When I was looking at this photo today it immediately reminded me of what Andrea Scher suggested in her entry. She challenged readers to "Find the messy, the dirty, the discarded, the forgotten, and transform it with your lens. See it into beauty."
Look at the photo again. It's easy to see the ugly. The fact that this little girl hasn't visited a doctor since this started 5 years ago. You can feel the physical pain of it. You can hear the teasing and the taunting. "I can't see," she told me. "It really hurts," ""I spend most of my time inside so that people don't have to see me." She hasn't been to school.
Look again now. And this time see the beautiful.
I almost forgot. Thanks to YOU there are now 3 additional rooms on the 3rd floor of the house!!!! There is also a big open roof top that’s going to be great for art, dance, and other activities on nice days. I just have to work on getting a railing up there.
Here is a great video to watch!