Little Rural Change Makers – To Be All Smiles
“I’ll pick you up at 9 am tomorrow. Be ready!” I said to Sachin .
“Yes”, he replied.
The next morning bright and early, at the sound of my bullet motorbike, Sachin stepped out of his house, right opposite the Villa Janwaar, on the main road of our village.
He was all smiles.
Full of pride and excitement, he clambered on the backseat of the bullet, and off we went to Panna hospital.
This was the day our mission started.
This was the day Sachin’s life took a turn for the better.
For the past five years Sachin always wore a head cloth.
A horrible infection had taken hold and spread over his head and neck, reaching almost to his chest.
Turning his head caused him considerable pain.
He rarely played with the other kids, and he hardly spoke.
His parents told me that he had seen various doctors in and around Panna .
These doctors had diagnosed cancer but weren’t able to treat him.
With the help of some friends, we managed to raise funds for his treatment.
Once again Sachin was examined at Panna hospital.
This time there were some American doctors holding a medical camp.
They sent him to Satna for an ultrasound.
Then back to Panna again for the results.
Another dead end.
The American doctors were gone.
And we got stuck again at Panna hospital.
They couldn’t help.
With his parents’ agreement, we decided to take Sachin to Delhi.
Our journey started.
Luckily, we were able to arrange for Sachin to stay in a shelter home with other boys of his age.
I dropped him in Delhi and I was very much afraid that he would start crying.
But this little guy stood his ground.
He was really strong.
All he wanted was to be cured.
He was on a mission.
It was amazing to see.
During his first three months in Delhi I visited him a few times.
He was always smiling.
He loved his new “home” and quickly made friends.
He told me: “Ulrike, I wanna stay here!”
He even started to learn counting and writing numbers.
This was completely new to him, as he had not yet ventured into the village school.
Now he was smitten with the learning bug and promised: “When ever I am healed, I will go to school!”
Sachin’s medical examinations and treatment take time.
Patiently, he is going to all the hospitals and labs.
Even today – six months later – the doctors still haven’t figured out what is causing the infection.
They assume it’s an advanced form of skin TB.
The medicine they gave him is showing its first results though.
His wounds have dried out and are slowly closing.
Most of his pain has gone, and he can move his head easily.
He is in high spirits.
Recently, four of the Janwaar kids came to visit Sachin in Delhi.
They discovered a new Sachin.
Arun, one of boys, was super excited to find Sachin so changed. He kept saying, “Ulrike, Ulrike, Sachin was talking all the time! I’ve never heard him speak before! And he was smiling! He is so different now! He is speaking so respectfully about everyone.”
It was wonderful to experience his joy in Sachin’s progress towards being fully well.
Yesterday I met Sachin again.
He greeted me with his marvellous smile and a high five.
His parents and little brother were also there for their second visit.
They hadn’t seen him for three months.
What they saw was the huge progress he had made.
It was a very happy family reunion.
We discussed the next steps with the medical staff at the shelter home.
It will probably take another few months before Sachin is fully recovered.
Sachin is fully aware of this and of course ready to go the last mile.
While we were sitting, Sachin kept fondly touching his mother’s arm.
They have a beautiful relationship.
They speak very sweetly and affectionately with each other.
I’ve never seen this before with any other kid in the village.
It’s quite remarkable.
Before I left he said to me, “I want to go back home when the treatment is ended, and then I will start going to school.”
And so did Sachin.