This past month appears to have been out of the ordinary. Nevertheless was it really so exceptional?
April 18th – Death in a foreign land. RK, a German man, died suddenly, his body remains unspoken for in the refrigerator of a mortuary in Hangzhou.
April 24th – FB, can’t afford to give birth to her baby in a private hospital, and doesn’t want to move through the turmoil of street, labour room, delivery room, maternity ward and back out on the street in less than 48 hours. By phone from abroad the self-conscious, well off, pollinator continues in self-denial: “It’s not mine”.
April 28th – Suicide or survive. CF attempted suicide with a razor – her second attempt. The mind numbing pain of grinding poverty. Vulnerable CF had reached the point of no return. Said a family member:
“…lately my sister was very quiet and never came out from her room. I was shocked because my sister attempted suicide for the second time. All the family was in a panic and we sent her to the hospital”.
Meanwhile, CF’s uncle died and the family couldn’t even afford a coffin.
April 30th – To appease the concerns of her Indian boyfriend’s mother, JQ went to hospital in Beijing to terminate her pregnancy, a two month old life. In a panic, she telephoned me because she didn’t understand the instructions of the Chinese surgeon. “Take a traditional Chinese medicine for one week” or “have an operation”, what were they saying? Would there be side effects? Yes, many, especially JQ’s emotional well-being. I advised her Indian boyfriend to take her and his child home. He did: A defiance of the traditional Indian mother-son bond in favour of a life.
May 8th – Om mani padme hum. JH hasn’t been seen or heard of in the 10 weeks since she embarked on a trip to India / Nepal. I would like to think that she has fled her brutal husband to begin a new life, but I suspect this nasty man had a hand in her disappearance. JH’s story is one of innocence ripped away by a Russian gangster whose mind-boggling depravity she knew nothing of until it was too late.
May 10th – Single mum, IS’s anxiety gnaws away at her mind all night long, every night. She needs to put food on the table and provide for her son’s education, ashamed of being reliant on her brother-in-law for handouts, while all the other village kids, except her own, attend school.
May 13th – NS, whose new born son has rubella, now worries about the well-being of her dear uncle as greedy loan sharks seek to grab hold of his land, the rice paddies his family have owned for generations.
May 16th – IE owes her employer the equivalent of €500 for borrowings needed to care for her sick mother, and knowing it will take years to pay off accepts her fate as a bonded slave.
Real people, real lives, happening now – just some of the people I know. What about the people you know?
If you haven’t been there, you will have no idea what grinding poverty and pounding emotional pain are like, or perhaps you do.