FS: Questions

FS: Questions

It was a bright, sunny day at Mukti Mission, and Flat Sujata and her best friend Sami were sitting on a bench. They weren’t doing anything particular, just sitting. A tall lady passed them on the walkway.

“Hello,” she said brightly as she passed.

“Who was that?” asked Sami.

“I don’t know,” replied Flat Sujata, “but she looks like a visitor.”

“Let’s follow her and see where she goes,” suggested Sami. So off the two friends skipped, following the tall lady as she walked. “I think she is going to the Bougainvillea Flower Family,” Sami whispered.

“Yes, that is where the special needs children live,” noted Flat Sujata. The lady entered the fenced area around the Bougainvillea home and Sami and Flat Sujata peered through the fence. A little girl walked gingerly toward the tall visitor. “That is Marthi*,” Flat Sujata stated.

“Hi!  Welcome!” bubbled little Marthi [Mar’ tea], as she grabbed the visitor’s hand and smiled up at her. Another visitor; how wonderful! Judging from the sound of the visitor’s voice, she could tell pretty accurately how tall she was and tilted her head up to talk with her.

“Marthi is blind,” whispered Sami. Flat Sujata just nodded as she strained to hear the conversation. “She hears very well and her ears warn her about many things around her,” noted Sami knowingly.

“She can’t see,” added Flat Sujata, “but her ears act as her eyesight. She is amazing!”

“I think noises and sounds alert her to someone nearby or danger too,” Sami continued.

“She is just like us too,” Flat Sujata said.

“How?” Sami inquired.

“Her life wasn’t always good. Her mom and dad worked on a farm where everyone worked long, exhausting hours. Her family had very little money and both of her parents had to work so the family could survive.”

“But who could watch Marthi while her parents worked in the fields?” asked Sami.

“One of our older sisters told me her mom placed her under a big tree during the heat of the day and told her not to move around,” informed Flat Sujata.

“I’ll bet she didn’t obey,” Sami stated with surety.

“Would you?” inquired Flat Sujata. “Any little girl as curious as Marthi would find that hard to do.”

“What would have happened if a spider or a snake had discovered her? What would have happened if she got lost? She could have been hurt. And how could she go to school when she got older?” babbled Sami rapidly. Flat Sujata stood by the fence with her friend thinking of how fortunate Marthi had been.

“I guess being born blind into a poor family in India presents difficulties,” she finally managed. Sami nodded her agreement.

“How did she come to Mukti?” Sami wondered. Just then another voice interrupted the girls from behind them. They spun around to see the tall visitor standing there with a sweet smile on her face.

“I can tell you,” the visitor said, “I was just asking Marthi the same question.”

“We didn’t mean to eavesdrop,” stammered Sami.

“It’s okay,” responded the lady, “I was curious too.” Then she continued. “Marthi came to Mukti because it is a safe place where she would be well cared for, given a home where many other blind children live and would have the opportunity to be educated, too. I think Marthi is blossoming here.”

“Yes,” agreed Sami.

“And she has a wonderful housemother just like we do,” added Flat Sujata.

“Yes, her housemother takes care of the blind children in the Bougainvillea Family,” mused the lady.

“Marthi is always singing,” Sami remarked.

“She spends most of her time singing,” agreed Flat Sujata, “and dancing and playing.”

“Her housemother provides opportunities for her and protects her. While voices around her provide happy learning, touch also ‘speaks’ to her. By feeling, Marthi can learn a lot. Sequins and beads, toys, a soft blanket, hugs, and tickles … everything has unique characteristics. When her fingers touch items or come near them (like the heat of a fire), Marthi learns about life.”

“We should talk to Marthi more,” Sami said. “She is so sweet.”

“She would like that,” agreed the lady. 

“One day she’ll go to school too,” beamed Flat Sujata. “I love school!”

The lady smiled. “When she is a bit older, she will go to school, yes. The School for the Blind over there,” the lady pointed.

“Blind children learn to read with their fingers, don’t they?” Sami marveled.

“They do. It’s called Braille,” the lady noted. “At school, Marthi will have experiences with other children and her teachers that will expand her world and help shape the gifts and abilities God has given her.”

“That is so cool,” giggled Flat Sujata and Sami together.