Monday, 21 September 2009

The Orphans in Kathmandu mark 2

Pangum's mother turned up yesterday with her father and sister. I understand from Uma that she tore into mum , telling her off. I was out sight seeing with Emily yesterday -another story
Uma wanted to know how Pangum's mother sees as her responsibility as a mother. Uma was asking angrily why she had not tried to make contact and come to see Pangum for the past 3 years? Why give birth to a child when she has no interest of caring or loving the child ? Apparently, the poor woman just broke down following the barrage of angry words from Uma. She did not answer but just remained quiet with tears rolling down her face

Pangum does not remember her mother.Therefore she was reluctant , like she was with her father ,to go near her. After sometime, her mother bribed her with a bag of goodies to share with other children. She then went forward, and her mother grabbed her and they fell into each other's arms and broke the ice. Uma tried to have a more rational conversation with the parents after that. There are 2 more younger ones at home, a boy and a girl.They are considering putting at least one of them in another orphanage. They are unable to provide for the children. Uma feels quite frustrated by this. She repeated what she said earlier -' why give birth to a child if you are not going to care and love the child? ' I think these words just fell on deaf ears...May be there are things we don't understand........

They then asked if they could take Pangum out for the day. Again Uma refused their request. Pangum is now quite clear where she stands . Uma is the Kathmanu mommie, and mommie is the one from Lantang..She is quite emphatic that she wants to stay with the Kathmandu mommie. There was no tears when they left, just a big sigh . Uma did ask the parents how should they contribute towards Pangum's up keep ? They obviously unable to pay, but would send bananas and potatoes to her from their vegetable patch as and when

Hot on the heels came another phone call. This time is one from Rajeish's mum who came this morning. The last time Rajeish saw his mum was a year ago when he severed his second toe. I was here when it happened.He has 2 older sisters living at home with his mum. The eldest who is 16 years old , accompanied his mother to see him today.Lots of long and awkward silences in the room. The mum seems a nice woman . Rajeish interacted with his sister, but appeared to keep a distance away from his mum. He feels the rejection acutely. I think he is angry with her

Uma wanted to establish whether the mother is in a position to have Rajeish back . She said she lives in a rented room with her 2 teenage daughters and husband. It is a room where they cook , live and sleep in.She is not able to take care of Rejeish because she is the only wage earner in the family. Then she got a little upset. The visit was quite short. It may have lasted for half an hour. Then its till the next year for Rajeish !

Uma and I talked about this. Uma feels that these children are not true orphans. Now that she has given them a good few years' start, they should be in a position to go back home to continue their schooling. She will ensure sponsorship for their education till they finish high school.She feels strongly that she should give the opportunities to the truly genuine orphans who are without any parents..As things stand , she can take 3 additional youngsters only. I remind her that these children has had stability, care and love after their first few traumatic years. Returning them to their families who are unable to care in the way they are used to will cause more upset .It will undo all the good work she has done with them up till now.Is it not better that she focus her energy in developing the 10 youngsters into useful citizens, rather than taking a chance on them becoming a labourer looking for a job on a day to day basis (if the family is unable to provide the stability and care needed ) should they decide to leave school early?

Uma is mulling over what I said.She is a woman with integrity and good values. I feel sure she will come to a very sensible and wise decision. It appears that the scenarios seems to play out each year when the festival arrives in September. The urge to want to see one's child becomes unbearable, even though they have not visited for a whole year. This is what frustrate Uma the most. She does feel used. And I don't blame her one jot. I suppose is what we call human nature, in the context of extreme Nepali poverty and deprivation. And I blame the government !

1 comment:

Tee said...

ALot of people have children and don't really give much thought about the time and effort in bringing them up ... hence orphanages. Sad realities.