After returning to Germany I naturally tried to keep in contact with Rita through the email account of the organization that she was with. Unfortunately it turned out, that this was much more difficult than I could have imagined: The first two messages I sent shortly after my arrival in Germany were left unanswered. For the third message – though – I eventually received an answer from the organisation, in which I was asked not to try to contact Rita any more. They explained that she was doing well, but that it would not be good for her to keep in contact with me, as she was staying with them now. A further contact with me, would only make it more difficult for her to integrate into her new home.
Losing contact …
Even though I felt quite hurt and worried, I realized that I could do nothing for the moment, but go along with their wishes, so as to make things not more difficult for Rita. The only thing I could really do was to trust and hope that the people who took care of her now, actually would be doing a good job.
Then, as the years went by, I started to feel more and more guilty and worried. I kept imagining over and over again how horribly abandoned Rita must have felt and might be feeling still: The one person she trusted in her life, left her all alone in this place, never once checking up on her, never once saying >Hello<. To be honest, that feeling of guilt sometimes was overwhelming and I simply felt too weak to deal with it. Two times I went to Nepal in the meantime – never did I try to find her. In my mind all kind of scenarios were playing out: Her having run away from the children home and being disowned by her father when returning home – now working as a prostitue next to some highway. In my worst visions, she was simply dead. Or I worried if the organization might be treating her badly – maybe forcing her to do hard labour, or maybe physically abusing her. And most of all I was convinced that she must be full of hatred for me for abandoning her to a such an uncertain future. I had no one in Nepal that I could trust with the mission to check up on her. And I was simply too scared of what I might discover when I would go to meet her myself in Kathmandu. So I did not. I was a coward. I am not proud of that. Not at all.
…until one day …
But then – one day – almost one year ago, I was checking my Facebook messages and I happened to look into my “Other” folder (which is the most hidden place ever on Facebook). There I discovered a three month old message from a Nepali man, who told me that he is running that children home and that Rita wants to talk to me.
So I immediately wrote back, but did not receive any answers again. And this time, I did what I should have done 8 years ago: I actually did some investigation about the organization. And the more I learned, the calmer I got – they seemed legit and even more seemed to be doing proper good work with the children in their care. Eventually I even managed to get in touch with the Manager again (he simply had been too busy), who had written to me earlier. We arranged a Skype meeting!
…and on Skype I got to talk to Rita. FINALLY.
… we get to speak again
We spoke for three hours.
In the very beginning of our talk I did not get to see her face, because she was crying so bitterly. Finally having a chance to talk to me after such a long time apparently resulted in her being completely overwhelmed. The first thing that caught my eye, was her long hair. When I knew her back then her hair had not even reached shoulder’s length.
Finally she opened her mouth – and gosh was I surprised: She spoke to me in a better English than I speak Nepali. And she was laughing and smiling so much. Back then she had rarely ever smiled, gazig at the world with her mistrusting eyes.
And she was so eager to tell me about all the good things that happened to her and all her successes. I felt like a mother in this moment. She was so proud to tell me and show me. By the time I am writing this post she has finished her 10th grade (which means she jumped two classes). She plays Aikido and is winning national championships and actually even makes a little money with that. She writes songs and poems.
So it turns out: The organization actually did amazing work. Really truly amazing work. I don’t think I could have done for her what they did, even if I had the money. She had become such a vocal, sensitive, confident, creative, educated young woman.
Talking – we remembered the time when we met, how we became friends. And in contrast to my greatest fears, she actually feels a lot of gratitude towards me, for giving her such a chance in life. She plans to find a job and then go to college to continue her studies. She has even visited her home village. Her father had passed away in the meantime – her brother had returned and her sister had become a widow.
Eventually she even read out a letter, that she had written to me some time prior, expressing all her gratitude for giving her such a chance at a better life (which in fact I have much less to do with than that organisation). Eventually I played a folk song for her, from her home place – after which she burst out crying again. She said “that suddenly all the old memories feel so close and she fears what might have become of her if she hadn’t been able to leave.
I am eager to watch what will become of her in the future. But I am convinced that she will bring good to the people around her and her country even.
A Nepali sister, that every Nepali can be proud of, I feel.