I've previously posted about visiting a children's home in India and writing letters to the children for a couple of years. I posted the story of Shonibo from this home in this post:
I want to feature another young girl at this home, Here is another child who was very special in my heart and memory over the course of my travels. Her name is Myusha and I have posted about her briefly in other places.
On one particular trip prior to visiting India I stopped off in Thailand as it was a common route to Asia for me to fly through Bangkok. While in Thailand I anticipated my visit to the children's home and stopped at a clothing market. Here I was able to secure good quality dresses for about $10 or less per article. I bought as much clothing as the new bag I bought to carry the clothes would allow and toted it to India. I had no idea at the time that the cost of checking that bag on a flight in India would exceed not only the cost of my ticket, but nearly the cost of the clothes themselves!
When I arrived at the children's home I gave one of the dresses to Myusha, a sweet girl who was very quiet. The dress was an excellent fit for her:
When I first presented her the dress I thought she didn't like it. She never smiled or gave any indication this it appealed to her. In fact, I thought I made a mistake in giving to her because I thought she felt obligated to accept my hideous gift. But I found later it was the nature of the shy children to show little emotions or reactions.
After I gave her the dress I was mobbed by the other children. Not that they necessarily expected a gift too (but they probably did) but more so they just wanted to be around this new American.
As I walked and interacted with these children I noticed Myusha was not among them. I stopped and looked back to where I left her and saw her weeping in the arms of an older girl. Well that broke my heart, so I immediately returned to her and asked what was the problem. Myusha would not speak but the older girl said she was sad because I left her for the other children.
There can be real attachment issues to deal with in these places of which I was unaware. When a child receives very little adult attention and then is presented with a special gift as this dress, they immediately can attach themselves to you. She was jealous of the other children.
I put my arm around Myusha and told her to come with me and the other children. But I told her she had a special place holding right to my right arm and staying close to my side, That did the trick.
The next few days I noticed Myusha time and time again. Each day she was wearing that same dress;
And the smile came out too!
It turned out she absolutely loved the dress. She never took it off the entire time I was there. I wouldn't be surprised if she slept in it too.
Underneath every child's bed there is a small box. In that box holds all their possessions, including their clothes. The children only have a couple outfits to wear and they are usually shorts or sweatpants. This dress to her likely represented the prize possession of her life. I had no idea the impact of a sub $10 dress on a young girl's life.
That small investment ended up being one of the greatest purchases I ever made. You never really know the impact you can make on another person. Especially if that person is an impressionable young child who has never really had anything in their young life.