Take deafness, HIV, some degree of learning impairment, dyslexia, shake it all together and you get Malita. If you add also a completely disinterested mother, who only cares about herself and is misusing her daughter for her own interests, you have a ticking bomb. Unfortunately, to our surprise and shock, the bomb exploded…
We come to the Bandawe School for the Hearing Impaired together with Ramos, Joyce, Witness, Katie and Gift to meet Malita.
Stuart, Malita’s teacher and also the school director, has arranged Malita’s class to have lesson under a tree today. He has done this, so that we can all follow the class as well. When we arrive, we expect Malita to greet us, but she ignores us completely. At first we think she doesn’t want to disrupt the lesson, but we soon understand she did not recognise us. It would be weird, but not too bad, if it was just me and Mauro, but she also has no idea about Ramos, Witness and Joyce. They grew up together and she has seen them a few months ago only. We keep quiet, but then try to approach her during the tea break first and at lunch later. No luck…It is as if we are all transparent.
Malita starts smiling at me only when I hand her the presents we brought for her, but it is obvious that this is the only reason she is suddenly being friendly…. The other Marajowi kids are very perplexed. Especially Ramos walks around her constantly as if to be noticed, but also with no success. In the meanwhile Malita goes through each and every item we have brought her, clearly expressing her joy about most of them. This is actually the only moment when she seems to be happy. So when she asks for a bag to carry her clothes and school things, we gave her the one we have here, originally meant for Katie.
Once done Malita is ready to leave, but Stuart talks her into showing us something more of the school, like her dormitory and the small building of the poultry project.
The day went completely different from what we expected and, by the end of the day, we all had a lot to digest. Before leaving we make some happy pictures all together.
Back in Nkhata Bay, we go eat something with Ramos, Wit and Joyce. At least they can make their bellies happy after a day like today…