Purple vs. Pink

April 28, 2014

in Nepal, Philanthropy

Maya & Me

Maya informs me that her favorite color is now purple. She explores my suitcase, finds a stash of bindis, and selects a purple one to wear on her forehead in the morning. However, she is wearing all pink outfits, from shirt to shoes, two days in a row, so I suspect that old favorites die hard. Nearly seven years old, Maya is still thin, but she’s eating well and thriving in school.

Foreign ideas of luxury: Maya examines the bottles in my hotel room, and before using anything from shampoo to lotion, she rubs it in her hands, smells it, nods approvingly, and then applies it. She likes smelling things so much that I take her to buy flowers. We smell gladiolas and gerbera daisies before settling on carnations. She asks what we will do with them, who we will give them to, and it takes at least five repetitions to convince her that we will simply put them in a glass in the room to make us happy. Later, flowers in glass, I ask if looking at them makes her happy, and she agrees that it does.

A toast to all my friends: When I take Maya to dinner, she lifts her water glass and says, “Cheers!” I ask who taught her that, and she says all my friends did it when we were at dinner last year at that place on the roof. I’m surprised she remembers dinner with the trekking group! Where are all my friends, she wants to know? Regardless of how many times I explain to her that the Yak and Yeti is not my house and that all my friends don’t live in Nepal, the world is still a little too big for her to grasp. She continues to talk about hotel guests as if they are all my friends in my big house.

Life with children: At night, the sliver of flesh and bone that is Maya somehow takes up 75% of a king-size bed. How is that possible? I wonder barely conscious, but then I wake up a bit more and realize a small foot is between my shoulder blades. She’s sleeping across the width of the bed. Walking around town with a child is a novel experience. People smile at us, talk to us, and are playful in a way that they rarely are when I’m alone. My trekking Operations Manager jokes around with her, and sits on the grass with us, watching ducks and discussing the invisible fish.

I’m delighted to have a day or two with Maya, and to see her ebullient in the world. A life transformed. Thanks to everyone who continues to support Maya into her future!!

maya and flowers

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