In the begining there was darkness and the lord said let there be light.
This is our birth surely ? We come from the dark interior of our mothers into the light that is life. We know nothing, but from that rude separation from our creator onwards we start to build our own understanding of the world around us through our brilliant minds working with our glorious senses.
After about two weeks most babies make a connection between their sense of self and their hands that their hands are in fact part of them. From this moment on they begin to Interact with the world and develop a sense of self, become sentient.
But what if you are born without sight or hearing? What is the difference between the dark silence of the womb and and the dark silence of life? How does a young life alone in it's tomb develop this sense of self? How does it learn to hold, eat or even recognise it's mother? A brain with a sense of taste, touch and smell that has no references or perception of anything beyond its fingertips .Alone in a void: a mind that matures without knowing what it is or that a world exists. As if never born.
When I first met Meena a 9 year old deafblind girl I wondered why she kept throwing objects she was given violently away from her when she tired of them. She never puts them down or passed them back to the hands that had given them to her they just went flying. Achil who works with SENSE the deafblind charity I have been Working with explained it is because these objects come from the void outside of her she is merely putting them back to where they came from. She knows no other place for them to go as she has no concept of the world outside of her, she is her own world she does not understand beyond that.
Meena lives in a single story brick house in a rural town about 150km outside of Ahmedabad in the state of Gujarat western India. The house is quite beautiful with carved wooden door frames and windows opening on to a porch which over looks a yard where daily life goes on and the cattle are kept at night. The land is flat and dry with villages making their living from growing cotton and seasonal foodcrops. Her parents work constantly just to live, to care for their daughter on top of that is a heavy load.Often children in Meena's position are kept tied up in out buildings or to their beds whilst their parents work in the fields, There is nothing else to do with them. They are a danger to themselves and could die without even being aware or the concept of life and death
Meena is at her happiest when she is on her back with her feet behind her head she doesn't like walking but has learnt to, she doesn't like being made to eat but gets fractious when hungry. She makes noises but does not articulate words, and is beginning to be able to communicate through the touch sign language she is being taught by her educator Deepac. Like many creatures she like to be rubbed behind the ears and on top of the head. She is not easy to care for and does notreturn affection. Just filming her I can feel her frustration it's as if her mind is outgrowing her physical capabilities, she is deep down underwater shrouded in chains when some part of her wants to be be flying with the agility of a swift. I wonder of what she dreams ?
Five days with SENSE international india and my eyes and ears have been opened by deafblind people. My mind has once again been stretched by experience and my soul shown new depths. Through this organisation minds are connected to their bodies that are in turn given a place on this earth and parents are shown that their children that some view as a curse on their lives have a worth and can contribute.
I have seen deafblind people leading the blind to safety I've seen them dance and ride a bike, groups of them tell each other jokes and do mime impressions of women getting dressed. They've measured and sawn wood made chappatis and fried in boiling oil they know no fear and have no concept of hate.
Most amazing of all are those that work with these warriors against fate, the love and commitment they have is immeasurable, their humility is is infinite. These children are demanding disturbing and require patience beyond the acceptable.
I can't help thinking meena's relationship with the infinite and unknown outside her body is similar to mankinds desire to know or understand a god. Her giving back to where things come from is similar to the basic human need to acknowledge a creator. We don't know what is there but feel the need to give thanks and praises out to an unseen giver of life. To give back into the void what we have eem given . We throw our prayers sacrifices devotions and hopes out to the unknown from where we came.
I do know that if we are fortunate enough to have all our senses then we are honour bound to use them to communicate with those around us to further each other's understanding and help each other. If our endeavours
are to strive to make good then we are surely blossoming on this earth and can leave it in peace.
Be a bit kinder. Be a knight of amour.
Sent on the move