I’ve wrote about her once in an article on TinyBuddha. This is the same story, different words, with less lessons, lots of memories, even more unconditional love and a moment of true happiness.
I am not sure where she is today, but the story of a fragile, yet incredibly strong little girl I have met through a research assignment in Kenya will never leave my heart.
We were sitting on the floor covered with red dirt in a slum school. “Big Brother”, or rather, President Kibaki was looking over us through a faded picture hanging off the wall. Though we were alone, we overheard the occasional laugh of two school girls cleaning the dusty school grounds.
An enormous piece of paper was in front of us with colorful pencils for her amazement, “wow, it has every color of the rainbow”. I encouraged her to draw: to draw her dreams, her life, her memories, and use art as a therapy to deal and to heal.
While making a lively picture she told me her heartrending story. By age ten she was raped multiple times by her father, uncle, and teachers. She was living with an emotionally unstable mother abusing her daily. Malnourishment and STDs left her frail, weak, and unwell. Her air thin veins were entirely visible. She warily scratched the tiny rashes covering her skin while explaining, “Children laugh at me because of my STDs. They throw stones at me.” –, she pointed at her deep purple bruises – “They say I am a prostitute and not a child. But I want to be a child. I am a child.”
All she was looking for was love and a happy childhood – too much to ask growing up in the slums. I guess “Big Brother Kibaki” wasn’t watching over her afterall. In spite of her painful memories and helpless daily existence she still hasn’t given up. She was drawing a colorful house with a beautiful garden she someday imagines her life in.
“Can I visit?”, I asked. “You will be a grandma by then,” she giggled, “but don’t worry, I will take care of you.” How caring of her. “Thank you,”, and I mean in.
She smiled. I smiled too. I think for a moment she believed it that she will have the big house. I think she was happy. I think I was happy too. Thank you for showing me what hope is all about.