Sunday, April 25, 2010

The boys

Here is a little more about each of the boys I am working with here at Daya Dan. These are the boys who can interact a bit more than the others; so I have developed more of a relationship with them.P1030508


Justice is a really funny boy. He looks African. He’s about 15 years old, skinny and tall. Because this is a Catholic institution, we all pray together at the beginning, saying at the end, “In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, Amen.” I believe this is why, randomly throughout the day he will shout, “In the name of the Father!” with a cadence that emphasizes “name” and “Fa". He has a really loud voice. He is always moving his hands like he is casting a magic spell. He likes to sing, and has a nice deep voice, but he’ll flip up two octaves and sing like a girl/Micheal Jackson in the middle of a song and sing the rest of the song up high. He helps to do the laundry in the mornings. He is aware enough to help with tasks, but he does so rigidly and scolds us when we don’t do it just right. He’s got a way of grinning and looking very mischievous. When Jacob came for our field trip yesterday, he really got a kick out of Justice. He’ll flip his hand out at you and shout something after sitting silently for a while. I had just finished saying, “The program was very nice. I loved the dancing” when Justice flipped his hand at me and bellowed, “You! No dancing!” He also would order the mild sister with glasses, “Sister! You must be quiet!” These are things he is probably often told.


Rahul, 13, is the most intelligent of the boys at the school. We actually had a long conversation about Israel. I was sewing together some rips on some cushions and he sat next to me and asked many questions. He has a very large limp and unfortunately is not in school at the moment. He knows enough that he can be a bit bossy at times. I would love it if he could have some more personal attention because I think he could be taught a lot more of basic skills, but there isn’t enough tutors to go around, I suppose. He likes to tease the other boys sometimes and he can be depended on to help with various tasks around the orphanage.


Rakesh,10, is a very outgoing little boy. Because his legs are useless, he has developed very good upper body strength to pull himself around. He has a very sweet smile. He is very ADD. If you read him a book, he will ask “What’s this? What’s this?” And really you have no time to answer any of his questions and he’ll forget he asked them. He LOVES watches. From the day I met him he has been obsessed with my watch. He created a watch for himself one day out of string. I would love to buy him a watch, but I know that with these boys, if one boy gets something every boy must have one or it will create resentment. Really all the boys here at Daya Dan love my watch and its light. Hehe. He and the boy I tutor, Bernard, are good friends. When I see Rakesh, he always greets me by saying, “Where’s Bernard?”


I got a taste of my own medicine for laughing at Andrea’s post about dealing with a baby that bites. This little boy would dig his little fingernails into my skin so hard. Scolding him wasn’t enough, so I gave him a good pinch a couple of times! He hasn’t done it since! I have a soft spot in my heart for this little boy. He can’t say a word, but he has ways of communicating. Sometimes, for example, my back will be turned and I’ll feel a WHACK! It’s Manuel greeting me with a smack. Then he slams into me and gives me a hug. And he likes to express affection by putting the side of his head to the side of your head. He’s a tiny little thing with big eyes, and he will scream at the top of his lungs out of nowhere and then will return to his usual mouth-twisted soft “ba ba.”


Mogul has the most beautiful big brown eyes with looooong eyelashes. I have no idea how old he is. He walks with a limp, and has a very large lower lip and a string of drool is permanently escaping from it. He has a bib that he wears always for this purpose. The first couple days I came, I allowed myself to be pulled from place to place by him, until I learned that it is always his habit to grab your hand in a vise-like grip and you have to keep your hands away from him. I feel like he recognizes me, because he’ll get a huge smile on his face, and he likes to sit in people’s laps. Mogul has a special talent. And that is the ability to find any small scrap of paper on the floor and bring it to me. It is his life’s work. He LOVES paper.


Dilip is slowly becoming more socially aware, I think. I learned he was formerly at another charity home which is for older individuals, and he was unhappy there and so he was transferred here. He just got a surgery on his tongue so he can now learn to speak. He looks like he’s 9 or 10 years old. He seemed oblivious, but one day he got kind of affectionate and followed me around and tried to get me to stay. He is a sweet boy. One day he grabbed my earring out of my ear, but not maliciously. I think he just was interested by it.


A smart little boy with glasses who is slowly going blind, I haven’t had as much experience working with him, but I learned about him by reading this blog:

A lady tutored at Daya Dan and ended up adopting one of the boys. It’s a very moving blog and a good description of Kolkata if you get a chance you should read it all in Google Reader.


Ankur, Ankur, Ankur. Really I’d expect more boys to have behavioral issues than there are here. Ankur appears to be autistic and throws fits and is physically violent. There doesn’t seem to be a decided way that that the nuns discipline him. They seem kind of helpless in his rages actually. He’s a very handsome little boy but I tend to get frustrated with the situation because I’ve seen him push Bernard’s chair into the wall and he’ll also hit Bernard, who is helpless. He will run by us during our lesson and grab our books/pens. If I put him in the corner, he will kick and scratch and run away. When we do Play-Doh as a group, invariably Ankur will eat it.


Joy also likes to eat the clay. He is a little Mongolian-looking boy, short and stubby and so cute. He is almost entirely in his own world so it’s hard to get him to participate in group things. He loves bottled water and always tries to grab mine when I arrive from the street. He LOVES climbing. He climbs walls, stairs, tables, doorways, anything to get him higher. Every time I see him I get a little twinge of affection. I just think he is so cute. Even though he is 10 I think he looks like he is 5.


Rama is the most normal-seeming of all the boys here. He doesn’t speak much, but he physically seems to have no problems, he is very polite, and I taught him how to play duck duck goose which he picked up very well. He loves it and always comments on when I wear Indian-style clothes. He is a sweet, small, and handsome little boy. He is another boy that I feel like if he could only get more one on one attention he would just blossom. He has a tutor I think, but the tutor only comes for a few hours a day. Children need so much attention.


I have always been impressed by Sumit’s devotion to the babies of the school. Sumit looks like he could be about 14. He looks retarded and can’t speak. But he spends his entire life attending to the needs of others. He picks up the babies so affectionately. He is always smiling. He wheels boys around. He helps boys dress. He helped me do Bernard’s physical therapy. Since he doesn’t go to school, his entire existence is based around the needs of others which is very sweet. But there is something else that I just learned about Sumit. And that is that he is a tease. We were sitting watching the program yesterday when he scratched the bottom of my feet. My feet are verrry ticklish. I thought it was accident and reacted by yelping and reacting. Then he did it 3 more times. By the end he was laughing hysterically. I couldn’t get him to stop.


Bernard’s original name was Bristi but the sisters decided to change it because it was easier for them to pronouce Bernard. I think Bernard prefers Bristi because that’s what he writes in his lessons. He could get his own post, so I’ll save that for later.

Autorickshaws on the way to Daya Dan


And…since this was a public event maybe it’s okay to post this picture…


1 comment:

Adespain said...

Oh Kalli, these last two posts were so sweet. I don't know what service opportunities you took in the other countries you've been too, but definitely (and not that I've really done much traveling) I feel that the places and people you serve you love even more than you thought you would and inevitably leave a little bit of your heart behind. Good luck with your good-byes!

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