How do I put in words, what has been the experience of my life? I don’t want to loose anything, I want to tell everything.
I found myslef talking about my time in Nepal, about the children, about my hard times and happy times, over and over again in between my travels… and never felt tired. I will never get tired rememorating, and sharing, a time that ment the world to me.
We are incredibly strong as human beings, we can be incredibly beautiful, we can still be genuine, and sincere. The touch of the heart of another human being, can stay with you forever. I have been touched by the hearts of nine children and one beautiful woman, who’ve teached me more than all my years of studies have done, all the struggles of a corporate world I’ve lived in, all my 32 years of life before I met them. And how I thought I knew …
I have been eating rice and vegetables for three months. Many times I was hungry, few times I was sick. I wondered if I would make it, in those times when I was so cold and feeling so weak. But then there was the smile of a child appearing at my room door, with a cup of tea and a few slices of white bread … the best they had to offer me. And I knew every time, I had to get up, give that gesture of hospitality and care what it deserved: my full gratitude.
I had come from a part of this world where everything was extremly easy. Where running water was not questionable, where one could take ten hot showers a day if one whished to, where we would leave the food untouched on our plates. And this world still is, easy. I look around my small apartment in Buenos Aires today: a squared room with dark brownish wooden floor, nicely polished, the red blanket over my bed, the fresh green pillows on the two wooden chairs, the white closet, the cherry red fan I bought yesterday in Plaza de Mayo. It’s all the comfort in the world. And yet, it’s empty. I’m by myself.
It had become so clear to me: we live with false needs, inveted worries and something we call ‘unhappines’ I am sure we can’t even define if we are asked to. We are constantly running after the ‘next’ something: the next meeting, the next weekend in Rome, the next chanche to meet someone, the next night out. And it becomes worse when it’s the next car, the next watch, the next homescreen set, the next dress, the next set of earings. Do we ever rest in ‘our’ world? Do we ever rest in the present?
False needs. Created and powered by a society which made us it’s mere prototypes. A bleeding humanity, only that the bling-bling covers the wounds. One cannot tell. And one does not really care. For the other one.
Individualism. Independance. The ”me”, ”me”, ”me”, ”I”, ”I’, ‘I”, … iPhone, iPad, iTunes. Isn’t it funny?! What we’ve created. And made ourselves slaves to. Luckily, there is hope. Beacause I believe we are given the chance, or the context, at some point in our lives, when we can just sit down and look inside, and question the truthfulness of all this. Sometimes we are forced to; even better, because otherwise we might not get there.
Let me take you back to the kids. They woke up 6 – 6:30 every monring. Each of them had some work to do around the house: some would clean the bathroom, some would clean the front yard, some would clean the house … I used to wake up with Nisha’s singing every very early morning, while she was brushing the dust away in front of my room door. How do I miss that presence!! And when the work was done, they would sit down and finish their homework for the day. Then we would all go up into the kitchen so they would eat rice; by then, it would be around 8:30. The smallest ones, wouldn’t start eating, utill they’ve said their prayers: a small, easly unobservable gesture of touching their forheads and their chests with their right hand. They would eat all it was given to them; there would be no other warm, consistent meal till later in the evening. Once they finished eating, they would stand up, take their plates and wash them. One by one, waiting in line by the kitchen cold water pipe. They would go down to dress up for school. nine kids bumping into each other in their small bed room, fighting over the ownership of one shirt or another sweater. I used to dress up Bhumesh and Sajan, the smallest ones, I had to literally drag them out of the rush the bedroom had become by then … And afterwards they would bring all their notebooks to me to sign them, as a proof I had taken notice of their homework from the day before. Putting the socks and shoes on out in the yard, in front of the house, was another adventure … but well, we managed eventually, Bhumesh and Sajan would take my hands and we could leave for the dusty, bumpy walk to school. 9:30, the classes started.
The smallest ones came back home at 14:30, the rest of them at 16. They would quickly get out of their school clothes and come out again into the yeard, for the daily badminton tournamnet :). That’s all they had: a badminton set, a tennis table set and another game I played so many times, but I don’t know it’s name. They functioned around their internal clock somehow. We would play for about an hour and then you’d see them, once of a sudden, stop, rush to their satchels and their school books and go up on the terrace to start doing their homework. We would stay there as long as the sun was still up.
We would eat rice again at around 19:00. And after dinner, the most beautiful part of the day would begin: the story telling time. Reading, laughing, singing, telling stories. The hardest ones to hear, were the ones told by the children themselves, when they would talk about their lives before the time the got there, to the orphanage. The saddest stories, but brought up somehow lightly, with the heart of a child.
The warmth I had received from those children, in those very very cold nights, was soul healing. It really did not matter our hands and noses were freazing, our clothes were brownish from the dust, the electricity would only come back in a couple of hours. The wholeheartedness of their presences made it all seem unreal.
I have nine weddings to go back to. And a life experience I am not allowed to forget.