by Srutih Asher Colbert, Global Seva India Posted on February 26th, 2013
Today was our second visit with the girls at Saanlap. We showed up ready to teach them a Yoga class, do some cleaning and painting, and enjoy spending time just hanging out and playing. If you have ever been to India, you know the best laid plans are not always brought to fruition. This was the case for us today, but the best advice is: when in India, go with the flow! It is essential for your happiness and peace of mind to have no expectations or try to control anything.
We pulled up in our bus to the gorgeous smiles and enthusiastic waves we had seen before. As we got off the bus, calls of “Auntie! Auntie!” filled our ears. The girls were excited to see us and since we had already met, it was like old friends getting together again. Sometimes it’s hard to remember these girls have been through rape, torture and trauma. They act like “normal” girls! Giggling, dancing, whispering secrets to one another, obsessed with having their photo taken. But then you will see an arm that has been branded by a pimp, scars in concentric circles, as if they had been burned with a lit cigar. Pitted scaring on the face around the eye area, or fresh, self-inflicted signs of cutting on a forearm. You may notice a girl just sitting by herself, with a vacant and empty look in her eyes, not wanting to connect or participate.
We spent the day playing games, singing songs, and being silly. My favorite game was the one where we sat in a circle, passing an object from one person to the next while Suzanne played her drum. When she stopped playing, whoever was holding the object was the “loser” and then had to stand up and either sing or dance. I dazzled them with my version of the running man and we all had a good laugh!
To be with these girls in this way gives me hope. Hope that they can continue to build relationships and trust again. Every time they have a positive experience with an adult who is not trying to hurt them or take anything from them has to feel great. They will grow up to honor others and break the cycle of abuse. To see them smile and for one moment just be a girl is an incredible gift. It is such an honor to be a part of this group.
Srutih Asher Colbert is from Palo Alto, CA. She successfully raised more than $20,000 for the 2012 Global Seva Challenge by mobilizing her community and rising up as a leader for a cause she believes in. Funds raised will help support organizations in India that are providing refuge, rehabilitation and economic opportunities to sex trafficking victims, and empower survivors to lead lives with dignity and respect.
The opinions expressed in this blog are that of the individual author and are not necessarily shared by Off the Mat, Into the World.
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