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Topic: Hope (05/04/06)
By Karen Hastie
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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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