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On Friday I will go to India via London for work, and I will be very close to the orpahange that I used to work for, live at, and help administer. I spent a couple of months there after college, and became very attached (and vice versa) to the 40 or so kids who live, play and learn there. I have the opportunity to go back and visit which would be tremendously cool for me. It’d be neat to see the kids three years later, see how everyone is doing, and splash around in the Ganga (Ganges River) like old times. They would always call me “goonda” (translates to villain or jerk) and then I would roar and throw them in the river or tickle them until they cried. We’d sing songs, play cricket and other games, do homework, draw monsters and all kinds of other fun stuff. Although it was really hard, unending work (we even had to put out the fires that arsonists lit to burn us off the property), I loved it, and told myself I would really try to come back to the little corner of India.
But I worry that my return might be hard on the kids. They’ve probably forgotten me or tried to, and it’s probably easier for them to just add me to relegate me to the recesses of their minds. Lots of volunteers like myself work there for a few months at a time and then leave. It’s probably hard for the kids to get so attached and then have to say goodbye. They made me promise I would come back, but what if doing so would awaken happily buried emotions? I could only stay for a day or two, and they (it they remembered me at all) would want me to stay for months.
Another wrinkle is that one of the kids has a horribly deformed hand. Rebels intentionally mangled his hand and what remains has been fashioned into two fingers and a thumb-like appendage. This is exactly the kind of thing Interplast can help, and we will be only five or six hours away by bus. Does the prospect of helping him justify my return? I have written the director of the orphanage who has not responded to my emails.
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