Ecclesiastes 4:10 “If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up.”
She sits sprawled legged on the concrete floor in her pretty ruffled shirt. Palms callused and cold, holding up her crooked back and twisted neck. Sparkling dark eyes fixed on me walking towards her; she desperately tries to keep her head straight and chin up. Her mouth speaking volumes with just her smile, welcoming me and begging me to accept her and draw nearer to her. She tries to get closer to me and drags her almost elderly looking legs with thickly callused knees closer to herself with great effort; The pain of moving evident on her sweet glowing face. Her joy of my hug and tender caress causes her head to fall back in joy and I gently pull it back up for her and whisper that I missed her into her eat. I love her. She loves me. Her name is Albin and she is my new best friend.
She likes deep conversation and fashion. She loves Jesus and is quick to pray. Hindi is her native tongue being raised most her life in Mainland India. Now she is forced to use only English and Manipuri. She has lived with the Sisters of Charity her entire life. At 20 years old one of her fondest memories is of going to school in Calcutta for a while when she was younger. She LOVES to learn. In school she learned letter sounds and simple math. Now she desires to learn to read and write English so she can converse easier with me and others. She can not talk like we do but but if you listen closely you can understand what is it trying to say. It takes so much effort for her to get her muscles to form words coherently so most the time she remains silent. But, her mind races with things to say.
I remember the first 2 times I seen her, I thought she was mentally challenged and spoke to her like a child. I spoke about her to others as if she wasn’t understanding. On the third time I was with her she took a pencil and a paper and wrote her name and letters and numbers and drew a beautiful dress. All with hands that do not cooperate and with great effort in every stroke. She was showing me she wasn’t dumb and was a competent adult. As I was watching Albin with 3 other young people coloring papers on the pavement, I said to Yuna that day, Yuna I think she understands a lot more then we think she does. At this, Albin turned her head, looked right at me and smiled. My hear dropped, I was mortified at my misunderstanding. From that moment on, I treated her as an intellectual equal. As the days and time went by I came to understand just how smart and ambitious she really was and vowed to help her find whatever freedom one can have with that I figured out was Cerebral Palsy.
This next part is written by Yuna, describing her new friend.
I remember the first time i met her. The Sister led us to the courtyard. A girl about my age looked at me; she looked lonely and strange standing all by herself in an award position. She slowly walked up to us with a smile that melted my heart. Her right leg didn’t work right, almost like she had to try extra hard to make it work right. Also, her arms didn’t seem right but I didn’t know why. Maybe it was the way she held them, stiffly. She very much appeared special and I was sure I was approaching a girl about the mental age of 7.
I was enraptured by her bright eyes and smiling mouth. She made me feel welcome and was so approachable; I was enthralled. It wasn’t until the 2nd time I taught her class that I discovered something surprising. We were drawing pictures, and I said I like ice cream, and she drew me an ice cream cone and handed it to me with a smile! I was amazed! Sure enough, she can understand almost every thing I say!
I have been getting to know her better for the last 2 months. She has a servant’s heart and helps me in my class and stays after to clean up. She like white and blue and yellow. She is quick to laugh and jokes easily. Her and I have become fast friends even though she is completely nonverbal. Her name is Khombi. She is mentally the same age as me. But, no one knows her age for sure. She has no family, so I try to be like a sister to her. When we are together it doesn’t matter if she has a disability, together we are just girls, and we like it that way.
Below is a link that takes you to a video. The girl in the video is very much like our new friends. We only wish our friends had the same kind of freedom and life this girls has. But, with Gods help we are trying to get Albin off the floor and into a electric wheel chair. We also have ordered Speaking devices for both of them and they are on there way here! We are super excited! Please watch this video.