Last week I went to the countryside to do some more research into a personal project i’m working on. The setting for the place was beautiful as the newly planted rice was growing and was a lush green. The birds and insects clamor away as the people of this nearly sustainable community work next to them. They grow all their own vegetables, rice and meat and work together to help build houses or to work on other community projects.
I met the director for the community, a jolly, stained and crooked tooth man. He has a kind heart and has worked as a doctor/director for the community for more than half of his life.
He told me about how they had come to receive two more rejections from the outside world. A pair of 9 year old twins who were born with a horrible skin disease called Lamellar ichthyosis or fish scale disease. Their parents had kept them hidden in a dark area of a dirt floor house for most of their lives. The parents must have thought that the skin disease would later go away, but at the age of nine they found themselves abandoning their children at the front gates of this community. The twins were accepted here and treated as normal. Probably one of the few places in the world they would ever feel like that. More than likely they will live out their lives in this community.
The people in this community have lived lives of persecution. Not for something they did or that they could control, but for how they look.
As I listened to the stories and poems of their lives, it immediately breaks down my emotional barrier protecting me and keeping me objective. Their lives were full of isolation, rejection, murder and suicidal tendencies. Only recently in the last 5 years have they felt happiness or that people might care for them.
I spent two days there gathering resources, listening to stories and observing the daily lives and needs of these people. They were so kind to me, a stranger, they are all open and willing to share their life.
On the second day I met up with the poetry club. They read some poems they had written. They were not harsh poems about the hardships they had endured in their life, but poems welcoming me as a friend. After they were finished telling me their poems I was expected to address them. I almost lost it and nearly cried. After 2 days of being consumed by this place, feeling its kindness towards me and seeing the living conditions and deformities of these people, it finally caught up to me. I was emotionally drained. As I’m sure others would be if they listened and saw the same things.
I will go back every week from now until I finish the project. I hope to share more stories later with you.
Thanks for reading.