Well, the last couple days have been a bit whirlwind-ish. I spent a lot more time with the girls than I anticipated due to some incidents. Things changed when Thursday night, Joy* had to be hospitalized due to kidney stones. It made things with the volunteers a bit more tricky because there is supposed to be a FF staff person with the girls at all times, and in this case that also meant someone with Joy* at the hospital. So, yesterday I spent most of my day with the rest of the girls at Roja with some of the other volunteers. Things went pretty well, even got them to do a craft (painting tote bags). Then last night a sort of drama unfolded at the house and I thus had to go earlier this morning. So, I was with the girls from 7:30am-5:30pm. Kinda long for my first go with girls (alone), but it went really well. Time passed fairly quickly due to them sleeping in (related to the drama last night) and Joy’s* return from the hospital. Saturday is their cleaning day, and besides that we chatted and played games (ie. guess who?, connect four, and a memory card game). I’m glad I successfully got them to play because the girls tend to be hesitant to do such activities. The girls are each assigned tasks with cleaning and cooking, and today the youngest of the girls was on cooking duty so she did not have cleaning to do.
So, while Joy* rested and the other girls cleaned, the youngest girl (who was the source of the drama the night before)– I’ll call her Zoe* (since it means life and she has so much ahead of her) opened up to me. First she asked me yet again what I put in my hair because she didn’t believe me when we first met that my hair is naturally red. She said, “No! You did put something!” Ha…. and she thought I would speak Dutch not French because of it! 🙂 After talking a bit about this or that she began to talk openly. She told me she was the first girl ever rescued by Freedom Firm, she wasn’t rescued by police etc, but by Greg (he and his wife Mala are FF’s founders). She was just 11 years old. She told me about how she was put in the hospital for a month due to the way she was acting out– biting girls, and being violent in other ways. She was taken to have tests done (mentally), but nothing was wrong. She was told she just needed a lot more counseling, not drugs. She explained to me how she was, and still is often filled with such anger. It is because of her anger that she acted out this way. Now, she gets verbal (yelling etc.) but no longer hits or bites others. I encouraged her that that is great progress! Zoe* explained how she tries to calm herself down and I encouraged her in doing that… how everybody needs to exercise that sense of calm. Then we got into talking about her future and how she wants to dance; she says it is her only choice. But then she confided in me that she doesn’t think it is what God wants her to do. I expressed to her how often we put limitations on who God is and who we are and that God could blow her away with what he has for her life. I used myself as an example of how I have learned to trust God in whatever and wherever he takes me. To which Zoe* said, “Trust is so hard!” I smiled and said, “Yeah, it is! ” But just because something is hard doesn’t mean we don’t plow through and do it. I told her life is a journey and we are meant to live in the present, not always looking to the future and be in control of it. Anyway, in the end it was great conversation that really encouraged me… I suppose 10 hours at Roja should bring something of the sort. 🙂
I think I have tomorrow and Monday off, so it should be a good chance for me to rest, ponder this week, and to explore Ooty some more.
I like Ooty. It has it’s own sense of charm. I feel plenty safe walking around– that is except for the vehicles on the road. ha! The things I dislike? The dirt, more specifically the pollution. The first several days my eyes were sensitive to it and nose tickles alot. A little more about Ooty… it is in the mountains, so I basically hike everyday. It takes 20 to 40 minutes to get where I need to walk to. I will be walking everywhere really with exception of taking the bus to Smyrna, but I still have to walk to town to get to the bus. 🙂 Well, I can tell you one thing– I am probably going to be in the best shape of my life by the time I head back to the states. HA! If I need to I can take a rickshaw/auto (the Indian version of a taxi I suppose, but it reminds me more of a ride at Disneyland due it’s small size and lack of doors.) Of course my new friends (with scooters:)) may give me rides here and there as well.
Today, on my way home, I heard little voices above me on the hill saying, “Hello! Hi! Hi!” Two adorable little boys were smiling and waving at me when I looked up. They asked me my name, I told them and asked theirs, though I’m afraid I haven’t a clue how to spell them. I asked them if they lived close (they do) and I told them I lived at Farley…. I gave them a toodle-do and then made the rest of the short walk up to the Farley drive way, and there they came running and chatting to each other. “Hi! Hi! Hi!!!” they exclaimed excitedly. I talked to them for a few more minutes, asked them about themselves etc. They were too cute for words. I look forward to seeing them again sometime. 🙂
In honor of completing my first week in India (yesterday) here are some of my FIRSTS:
*ate with only my right hand (no utensils)
*did the Indian head bobble/wobble/shake (oh yes, it’s begun!)
*used a “squat-a-potty” (yeah, it’s what it sounds)
*took an auto/rickshaw
*mastered the art of brushing and then rinsing my toothbrush with only one small cup of water (a triumph!)
*recognized a Hindi phrase (and knew what it meant)
*heard a sex trafficking survivor’s story first hand
*got invited to an Indian neighbor’s house (haven’t gone… it’s common Indian practice to invite without intentions of it happening)
*ate the spiciest thing I’ve ever tasted… and finished it (though by the end I not only was drinking lots of water, my eyes were watering, I was physically hot, and I was coughing…… it’s extremely important to finish what is on your plate here)
*remembered my way back to Farley on my own
*saw a horse get nearly hit by a car (oh, the wandering animals…)
(Monkeys hang in the tree outside Roja.)
*In just a week’s time my life has already changed.*