We put her down for a nap after lunch and she was so content to relax and just be with us. It was truly the first time that I was able to feel a real connection to her as I rubbed her back and she fell sleep.
When I brought her back to the orphanage, her group was still in the yard playing and I went in to be with them for a while and I was able to see the hierarchy and dynamics of the children and now understand what happens to Veronika. They all circled her and some were hugging her and happy to see her, two of the boys started pulling at her hat and once it was removed started tugging at her hair and she just stood there helpless and silent. I watched for a moment to see what would happen before I started to point my finger and say “nyet, nyet” – which the whole group of course immediately repeated after me and copied my wagging finger – amusing, huh? Well at that moment I felt so sad for the life she has known. She wanted me to pick her up and I knew that the best thing was not to, and instead to just walk away from this crowd until they all settled down, but really I wish I could have taken her out of there at this point and felt completely helpless for this little angel.
I left soon after and thought that I do not doubt for a moment what we are doing for this little girl is the right thing. Khabiba saw what had happened and she was able to understand my reaction and mood and decided to walk with me back to our flat, first stopping at the sweets shop to pick up some desert for us to enjoy. She stayed to eat dinner with us and we had a really nice time listening to her stories of Arkalyk and former Soviet times.
Another story….for another time.