*her name was Pinku
I cannot describe the stink of the room with not one normal smelling thing in it. We had just walked through slush to get here. Marin, the lady with ash blonde fringe and eyes like green stars, she ploughs on as if it were a normal day. In the room, the child* sits with amputated leg; my thoughts are a hung merry-go-round. The child will die soon, her grandmother tells us. The old lady sits spreadeagled in the floor with the abandon of hopelessness and dare. Like- dare you tell me any thing about hygiene– poverty did that to her. To us all. As we leave, the child’s eyes are wide saucers above her smile. She wants to say much but is afraid of Grandma. She loved drawing class with me, and times we did little stories from the Bible. I say ‘did’ because we’d act them out, act out those scenes where we were actors, we were boat and waves, we were the storm, we were scared in the storm till we saw Jesus walking on the water to us, and then we’d scream for sheer happy riotous fear/ joy.
All this I felt as we left the child and grandmother; the child died a few months later. I never forget how beautiful her face was in that little room strung with gunny sack and tarpaulin. The child knew she was loved by Christ, the pain did nothing to stop her joy: like a garden in bloom, in the breeze that took its fragrance into other places.
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