Miriam and I have left the farm now but just before we left 2 new arrivals to the orphanage came to distract everyone so we could sneak off…
Shavani & Saloni are two 6 week old twin girls that were brought here by their mother about a week ago. The first we heard about them was when they were 6 days old and the family came with a terrible story of hardship – here’s a paraphrased version (the original was in Hindi):
A husband and wife had 6 children when the mother died, the father remarried and produced another 4 girls and recently a set of twin girls. The father passed away whilst the (step) mother was pregnant, leaving her with 12 girls, 6 of them not her own and a set of brand new girls. She couldn’t afford to feed or look after the arrivals and was desperate for the orphanage to take them.
Some of the staff here went to the family to check out the story and it didn’t appear quite correct and as a result the girls were refused. After about a month however the family came back and the situation looked a little more desperate. When the family came to be admitted, the (miraculously alive) father, mother and surprisingly, a son came with them. The 2 girls were quite small (double whammy since both Indian babies and twins are naturally smaller) so at 6 weeks they were 2kg & 2.5kg.
Everyone has gone crazy, baby mad at “The Farm” – I’ve never seen so many gooey-eyed females almost fighting to hold the babies – including Miriam! (don’t get any ideas people) It’s been great to see how a community like this one pulls together to support these tiny tots. They are a bit malnourished and ill (probably the change of diet from cows milk to baby formula) but seem to be making the transition reasonably well.
Since being here we’ve also seen the arrival of Rena, a 5 year old girl brought 6 months ago. She came with a shaved head and seemed such a sad little girl. I think one parent had died and while the other parent was out begging, she was left alone to wander about on her own with no hope of an education. She had suffered some abuse and when she arrived she was very scared of all adult males, including me.
After a few months it was amazing to see the difference in her – she is a happy, bright and somewhat cheeky girl, having no respect for me whatsoever! Always greeting me with a big smile and then usually teasing me just so I’ll chase after her. Her English (the main language spoken amongst the girls) is amazing for such a short period of time (I’ve been there longer and my Hindi is terrible).