“None could have been as happy as mom and I were. My mom was the most beautifull woman in the world and when she’s out of the house, I’d go into our bedroom and open the drawers of her dressers; I’d take out her lingerie and rub the soft material against my check.” Rija talked incessantly.
” It’s my seventh birthday. I was sent home from school early because I’d an earache. I pretended it was worse than it was, because wanted to be home where my mother would soothe me, pull me into our bed, and fuss over me and besides, it was my birthday.
I walked into the house and went to our bedroom, and she and a man i didn’t know were lying naked in our bed. She’s touching him and he’s touching her, her kisses going all over him and and i heard my mom moan that she loved him.
My mom finally saw me standing in the doorway, and she quickly covered herself and came to the door and hugged me. She introduced the man with as my father but I knew she’s lying because there were no toys or pretty chothes for me.”
She took a breath, and I said nothing. Her self esteem had taken a severe blow that day and my heart broke for her. Then she continued, “We lived with my so called father, for a while but when he found out we’d the HIV infection, he moved out and I never saw him again. My mom died a few months after that and then Bimala came and took me to Asha Nepal.” Her voice was choked with tears of hurt, anger and disappointment.
I put my arms aroung her and she burst into tears. I let her cry for a few minutes, and then said, “Rija you’re a very brave girl to tell me your story, and now that you’re here at Asha Nepal, and you’ve a mom, brothers and sisters who all love you. Everything with be fine. You know, if you cry, you’ll never be a superstar. you shoud be bold, articulate and well educated, as well as superstar.” I said lightly.
She looked up at me, brushing the tears away with the back of her hand and I said, “Well that can’t happen without going to school!” I looked at her in astonishment. “Don’t you have a school today?”
Rija looked at me for a moment. When she spoke, her voice was trembling. “I’m very sorry to tell you that we’re expelled from the school two months ago.”
I frowned.”Expelled why? Did you do somthing wrong?” “when our classmates learned we’d HIV/AIDS, their parents refused to send them to the school. They told the principal that if we weren’t expelled, all the students would go to another school so the principal expelled us.”
Oh, My God! How could they do this to these innocent children? It wasn’t their fault! I was thoughtful for a moment. “But Bimala has hired a teacher for us. She comes and teaches in the evening. Our friends who don’t have HIV?AIDS come and help us when they’ve free time.” She said it rather brightly considering the circumstances.
I asked how many subjects the teacher was teaching her and she continued explaning the teaching situation to me in a very serious tone, “She teaches our all subjects. Mom is going to hire another teacher for us as well . You know, we’re very happy studying in Asha Nepal rather than in our school.”
I looked at her questioningly. As I was about to ask her she continued, “When they knew we’d HIV/AIDS, we got teased and mocked unmercifully.”
I closed my eyes and took a deep breath. My eyes filled with tears and I pondered in silence. That must have been devastating. I understand all the gravity of your trouble. How may I Help you, Rija?
I wondered then I squeezed her arms reassuringly. “Don’t worry. You can do better than your classmates can because you’re more talented than they are. You’re the best. The most important thing is you’re going to be a superstar very soon. You know those who used to tease you? They’ll be running after you for your autograph when you become a superstar.” I patted on her shoulder. “You deserve it.” I said reassuringly.
“Yes, you’re right.” Rija sounded much more relaxed. She said excitedly. “You know what i want when I become a superstar?” She didn’t wait for my answer however, “When I become a superstar, I’ll have money and then I’ll start schools all over the country for HIV/AIDS infected children where they can study freely.”
I was touched incredibly by Rija’s words. I was eyeing her admiringly.
I thought; you yourself are suffering from AIDS but your dream is to run schools for HIV/AIDS infected children. You’re not like all the normal girls. What a great and holy thought; you’ve a very big heart; you’re an angel. I don’t know you may or may not be able to make your dream come true but i promise you I’ll try my best to make your dream come true. It’ll be the dream project of my life……
-Hope of Broken Hearts