Today we saw Sharka- the little girl with terminal skin cancer. To be fair she saw us first. Or maybe someone had told her we were coming as her eyesight is so poor these days. The cancer on the inside of her eyelids scratches her retina and she finds it ever harder to see. Recently we had to ask for her to be moved to the front of the class to beneath the blackboard as she couldn’t follow her lessons.
It was a real pleasure to see her in school uniform- the grey and white of Bodo primary. We had to fight hard to get her into school here as people with disabilities or conditions like hers are usually told they cannot attend local schools. But she is doing well, enjoying school and learning. She moved close to us – peering from her almost closed eyes. She was clutching a set of crayons. A prized possession.
Sara sat with her and used them to go through her colours. It was very sad. Her eyes are so dim she finds it hard to see or to differentiate. But she was enjoying the company and the interest shown in her, That mattered more than any colours she might know.
Sharke lives in the poorest of circumstances and is currently living in her grandparents house with her small brother. Her parents are estranged. Each day she emerges from a mud hut with not even the most basic of facilities – no running water , electricity or toilets. It is a struggle to be fed and keeping cleaning an almost impossibility. But I felt that Sahrke knew she was valued. That people had come who had shown care and love for her.
She doesnt know the Trust or what it means. But she knows those who visit from it and that they have brought her pain relief, education and care . Her life may be short lived but she knows that she matters as an individual now. Our care and concern for her is there for as long as she needs it.