“Come closer, children,” Nani-jaan rasped as she passed cookies around once more. The children sat nervously, anticipating the first story for this years winter. From Nani-jaans request for them to come closer they knew that the story was bound to be a grave one, either serious, sad or slightly scary. Nani-jaan always told the grave stories in a soft serious tone, and the light-hearted ones in a jovial, upbeat voice. The best part however was Nani-jaan’s voices. For every character, there was a new, unique tone and voice that she told the story in. The nail-biting anticipation finally reached its end, and pin drop silence reigned as Nani-Jaan began:
There was a young girl named Sarah who had long brown hair and chocolate-brown eyes. She was a very sweet girl who possessed a sharp intellect. She seemed to have everything going for her, so why did she have no friends?
There was nothing wrong with Sarah, neither physically nor mentally. There was just one thing that made Sarah different from everyone else, Sarah had no mummy or daddy! Sarah was an orphan. Sarah’s parents had died in a car crash.
This means that two of those dreadful things that the tourist who come every year arrive in crashed. Yes, those things which make noise, take up space and leave behind a smelly cloud, collided. There was big bang as they slammed into each other, injuring those who were in those cars. Sadly Sarah’s parents were injured so badly, that they passed away a day later.
Sarah was only 3 years old at that time. Poor Sarah was left all alone in this cruel world. Her mother’s cousin was now her guardian but she wanted nothing to do with her. She felt that this child was a burden who would hold her back in life.
Taking the first opportunity she got she dumped this innocent child at the entrance of an orphanage in another country. She felt that this way the child would have no ties back to her as there was no way the child could track her down if she lived so far away.
Now imagine, Sarah was only 3 years old. She had no mother or father anymore. No mother to give her hugs and kisses and read to her bed time stories and no father to spoil her by buying for her yummy sweets and exciting toys.
Not only that, but now this cruel woman had moved her out of her native country so that means she no longer had any link back to her parents. As she was so small there was no way she would remember anything about her parents when she grew up. Even the clothes that she wore on her back were soon passed down to other children in the orphanage when she outgrew them.
Many people feel that an orphanage is a good place for a child to stay because at least the child isn’t on the streets. What many don’t realise is that not all orphanages are nice safe places for children to live in.
The best orphanage in the world still lacks something that every child needs, parental love and attention. When we think of babies who are not yet one year old, all we can think of is what crybabies they are. They are always crying because they want mummy to carry them or change them or feed them.
The babies from as young as 5 months who live in the orphanage do not cry because they know that no matter how much they cry, no one will come see to them. They know that they have a set feeding time and no matter how much they cry they won’t be fed before then.
In orphanages there are generally so many children and not enough adults so the children don’t get any one on one attention. If someone they don’t know carries them they don’t cry at seeing a strange face, instead they smile and laugh out of happiness that someone is actually carrying them. They get so happy to actually be getting some special love and attention.
Nani-Jaan closed her book and looked at them. Her eyes were brimming with tears. “My dear children pray for those who don’t have parents and value and appreciate your own parents. This girl doesn’t have any mother and father but you do. When you go home I want you to give mummy and daddy a hug and kiss and tell them you love them.”
Nani then muttered something in another language, something which none of the kids understood what it meant but knew it was the signal that today’s story session was over and it was time to start heading home. The children reluctantly went home feeling that tomorrow was just too far away. They couldn’t wait to hear the next part of the story. They wanted to know what happened to little Sarah.