I was in Madagascar for spiritual rehabilitation with congenitally paralyzed and abandoned children at the Sister Stella Children’s Home, run by Anne Marrie, the French founder of Ong Humanitaire. Bolo was one of those five-year-old boys who were born with both feet reversed but was able to walk after a series of surgeries. However, he was the child who was ostracized, who was aggressive towards his friends, who destroyed everything, and who was scolded the most for this reason. So much so that they named him “Bandit”.
He always played alone and did not participate in any group activities. He sticks out his tongue every time I try to talk to him. I was still talking. He would spit in my face when I tried to kiss him! I still asked her permission to kiss him every time I saw him. When I wanted to hug him, he would push me to the ground, but I would open my arms every time I saw him. I would invite him to every game we played, but he would run away, I continued to invite him to every game regardless.
And then one day he came himself and made his nest in my lap. It allowed me to do anything I wanted to do. He allowed me to caress, hug, and kiss his head. He started to participate in each of the plays I set up, learned the song Ali Baba has a farm that I taught and joined the chorus.
The message I want you to take from this experience is this: love and warmth are the best home for everyone. Just as herbs and flowers return to the sun, children return to the warm, caring one. The cure for every problem is compassion. We all have it too.
Ayten Zara, Güney Afrika 2011