Fatima’s sponsor had cancelled her sponsorship at the end of 2007. During the two years she had not received one single personal response from the girl and we were able to understand her disappointment.
We had emphasized to the girl and her older brother during each of our visits that the money was coming from a friend in Switzerland and not from us, providing the sponsor’s address several times. Why neither the girl nor her brother had never made use of it, was a mystery to us. We knew all the time that the sponsor was waiting for a letter or a card but it was out of question for us to demand it.
Resla was writing very often and she most of the time added nice paintings. She was delighted about the box of fancy crayons from Switzerland. She was the only one that had met her sponsor and maybe because of that, it was much easier for her to keep contact. She, as always, wanted to know when Auntie Monika would visit again.
Well, as a matter of fact, Maduka had met his sponsors also – without knowing it. As his original sponsor had dropped out after one year we had filled in, but could not see any reason to tell him. He still gives us letters for his Auntie Amanda. He had grown quite a bit. We took Maduka on a shopping tour together with his cousin of the same age, and his other cousin, Bomali. We do get a discount at the shoe shop as well as at the clothing shop.
For Bomali, we again went for fabric and I dared to ask her mother (Maduka’s Aunt) about the weight of the girl. We had been aware that the girl was mentally behind her age and her mother told us that the girl lacked any feeling of satiety. If she would not watch her very closely, Bomali would not stop eating. She was very grateful that the girl did get to go to school and did not sit at home the whole day. Of course, she would not learn much, but the girl was happy to attend school and be part of the class.
Ruhi is such a beauty. She is a very good student and showed us her school notebooks. The girl had grown up a lot – not only physically! More than a year ago she had called the wife of her uncle, Amma and the baby of the uncle, she called, Sister.
My romantic imagination that with the marriage of the uncle, Ruhi had found new parents and a home with siblings was a bit shattered. She was living in the house of the grandparents again, with the baby spending the day there as well, since the mother had to work. Ruhi was now calling them Auntie and Cousin and even if this was the correct term, it strangely enough did hurt somehow.
Where exactly the aunt was working as an English and Japanese teacher? I was not able to find out as her English was hardly understandable to me ………………
She praised Ruhi’s school performance and also at the Arabic and the religious classes, she was the best of the class. Ruhi very proudly showed us a certificate and showed us her dress that she was wearing for religious classes.
Together, with the remark of her aunt that the girl did not have to go to school unaccompanied and that she would do the utmost that Ruhi would become a “good” girl, I felt somehow uneasy.
But Ruhi’s happy and proud face reminded me that it was not up to me to decide what would be best for the girl. She was growing up in a country where girls are not raised to be independent and to be a “good” girl will be her only dowry.
We received a very special letter after our return to Switzerland from Sithy Sameela’s mother. She sent a copy of her admission to the university, Sameela had achieved in the Summer. She thanked us again for the support as they would not have been able to keep Sameela at the Girls’ College in Kandy. She also expressed her disappointment, that they had not been able to meet us during our stay.
We sent them a Christmas card and explained that it is impossible for us to visit everyone. I also let her know what a joy it is to hear from smart girls for once; not only the “good” ones.