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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Hope (05/04/06)

TITLE: Bethany
By Karen Hastie


It was hard to believe that someone living in such desperate poverty and despair could be as happy as the boys were. They weren’t simply living because they had no other choice; they were living because they wanted to. Their disabilities ruled their lives, but that was never going to stop them. Their hope for what was in their future, beyond the walls of Bethany Home was encouraging to say the least.

In the autumn months of 2005 I met three amazing young men who have played on my mind ever since, strengthening the bonds I have, not only with my spiritual family, but also those with my family here on Earth. Ismail and Arasu are both confined to wheelchairs, as their bodies are slowly killing off their muscle tissue, making them weaker and weaker. Parthiban crawls on his knees as his cerebral palsy does not allow his legs to function as ours. It’s hard to see how these three boys can always wear their gorgeous smiles; they’ve been through more in their averaged 13 years than I have in my entire lifetime…

Ismail and Parthiban are both menaces. As they drag themselves around the room, covered in blue gymnastics mats and soft toys, their eyes scream their mischievous thoughts. Attacked from behind I collapse onto a pile of soft toys and held there whilst they tickle me to death, a hard concept considering neither of them can walk. I feel that they love their live, nothing will change that, their willingness to teach me how to have fun without being scared of hurting them, simply amazing.

Appearing to be sleeping they look innocent and quiet. Slowly I too close my eyes although certain there must be an attack on the way. Adrenaline rushes through my body as a barrage of soft toys drags me from the doze I had fallen into. Their faces alight with laughter it is now my turn to attack. Screams of joy are heard in the nearby classrooms and it is my responsibility to respond to the sudden banging on the door. When asked to explain I turn to the boys who, yet again, appear to be fast asleep. After closing the door I’m forced to turn and face two young boys with an impish glint in the eyes.

Arasu is more sedate, his years well beyond the expected in his country. His twenty first birthday a milestone no one ever thought he’d be able to reach. The young man who has use only of the upper parts of his body paints and sells his work for a living, a hard task considering the payment he can receive. His current view of life is sitting behind a huge work bench covered in small pots of paints and casts of many different moulds, simply awaiting his careful brush strokes. It doesn’t seem much, merely a consolation prize, but he can still talk, eat and breathe without help from an outside source, considerably more than can be said for his earlier friends.

The three boys hope of a future beyond the walls of Bethany Home but this seems unlikely, who would take on an employee this severely disabled. Their spirits are high and their attitudes are infectious, if only there were more like them – happy to live with whatever life throws at them, happy to hope for their future…

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This article has been read 413 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Helen Paynter05/13/06
Lovely, inspiring tale of your three friends, very afectionately told. Polish your writing a little for punctuation etc, and it will be really good.
Brandi Roberts05/13/06
A wonderful tale of strength and hope and courage! I enjoyed this.
Rita Garcia05/13/06
Liked this heartfelt story. Good job.
Karie Spiller05/14/06
I really enjoyed reading this article. As a former camp counselor during a handicapped week it is so encouraging to see how happy these kids and adults are in spite of their circumstances. They have such a zest for life. Thanks for sharing.
Dr. Sharon Schuetz05/14/06
This was an enjoyable story. Thanks. With just a little polish it could be great.