Vishal wandered over to the Education Center, drawn to the sounds of other children laughing and playing. He stood at the gate, peeking through to see what was happening. As soon as we made eye contact, he revealed a bright smile. He began inquiring, but I could not understand what he was saying. He spoke a tribal language, and did not know Hindi. One of our housemothers was able to identify some of the words he spoke. “He wants to come inside.”
Of course, we welcome all children to OLTL’s Home of Hope, but I would need to take his parent/guardian permission first. The housemother managed to explain this to him, and we followed him all the way back to his shanty home.
There his mother stood, in a beautiful pink saree, with bricks on her head. Vishal’s mom and dad work as daily wage laborers. We shared with them about OLTL’s work, and described the admission documents to them. They put their thumb impression on each document, a common alternative to a signature used for those who are unable to read or write.
Vishal immediately returned to the Education Center with us, and he had no trouble mingling with the other children. He did not know any Hindi, but it did not discourage him, nor did it effect his enthusiasm and excitement.
Vishal especially took notice to the special children in our home. He was curious about them, and marveled at their special needs. Vishal became very close to Shivani, a student in Pooja’s Daycare who is completely blind. Vishal made up a game: He would draw something on Shivanis hand with his finger and she would have to guess what it was. The two of them laughed all through the play session.
When OLTL planned a trip to the Delhi Zoo for our children and volunteers, Vishal was super excited. He was the only student without a parent present on the trip. But even that did no bother him. He simply held my hand as we walked through the zoo, marveling at the wild animals.
Every child has gift and talents, but some come along who really set themselves apart from the crowd. Vishal is one of those. He has not been with us long enough for me to know what his exact gifts are, so it is something else that sets him apart. It is his innocent love and compassion for everyone around him. He sees magic in everyone and everything. This is a gift that the world needs more of. And it is my prayer that OLTL can nurture this gift while providing him the resources and protection he needs and deserves.