While in Kolkata, I had the opportunity to work with children at the Daya Dan house during our time. From the moment I entered the house, I could feel a deep sense of joy. Each person I encountered was happy to be working in Daya Dan with these children who had been left on the street because of disabilities they had. Meeting Sister Sophia, the sister who is in charge, was great, and you could feel the joy just radiate from her being. She was the mastermind behind everything in this place, and everyone knew it. The amount of love that poured out of this woman to this house was immense, and without it, the house wouldn’t be the same. She assigned each one of us to an individual child when we first arrived and that is where I met Bernard.
Bernard is a young man who is sixteen years old with severe physical disabilities, he couldn’t hold his head up on his own, was unable to walk, and wasn’t able to hold anything in his hands. The most challenging disability Bernard has is that he is unable to speak. I was tasked with communicating with a child who couldn’t speak to me in English let alone in Bengali. While he was limited in his body, his joy was infinite. Each moment I would spend with him he smiled at me, it’s as if he saw something in me that I wasn’t aware of. Along with that joy, I came to learn that Bernard was rather intelligent. We would spend hours going through math problems, after every problem we would finish he looked at me with a smile and spoke the only word he knew, “more”. To that I would respond “Always more Bernard!” and we would continue to work through these equations. In my mind I was teaching him, but in reality he was teaching me about myself.