Kid X’s grandmother shocked him with a car battery if he didn’t pull in enough cash to support her opium habit. She had no choice – she had no wheels, she was old, she was decrepit, she was addicted. At least that’s how she would put it. But Kid X did have a choice – beg, be thrown out, or find a better life.
Kid X had heard about Kru Nam from a VCDF worker in “The City of the Golden Triangle”, the Myanmarese border town across from Mae Sae, Thailand. Another VCDF worker in Mae Sae, he heard, was feeding kids under the bridge that connected the two countries. He would have to swim the brackish river to get there, but that was hardly a hardship in his circumstances.
You might find him in the picture above if you knew what you’re looking for. He has deficits, but you can’t see them in a photograph. Photography has its limits. In fact, you can’t tell by meeting him either – he’s a born leader with an incredible facility for math and language. I do have a photograph of him, but i promised at the beginning at the project that I would identify no child with their misfortune.
You can only tell by his desperation to connect, to find humanity, to matter to someone. Which is exactly what he did, thanks to Kru Nam and her amazing orphanage in Northern Thailand (you can read more about that in a previous post). He mattered so much that I needed to tell his story. And as editing on our documentary is a long, drawn out process, I decided to keep his story alive this way.
Today he’s being rehabilitated through his connection with more than 100 brothers and sisters, and through relationships with adult staff members and volunteers he can trust. The process of healing is not an instant one – not the kind of “fix it” approach we seek in the West. Not the bi-weekly sessions aimed at coming to terms quickly. Kru Nam’s approach allows for the time it takes to undo the damage of the past. There’s time to play, to learn, to find solitude and connection. Time to trust and, most of all, to belong.
The young man in the photo below is not Kid X either. This was Kid Y, or he used to be. Now he’s Adult Y, one of the dedicated staff members who work with Kid X. And he has an incredible and inspiring story of his own, which he related to us at the home.
David lived in a garbage dump in Myanmar until he decided at age 8, (after several aborted attempts to make it on his own) that he “did not want his children to live like this.” When he was eight, mind you.
Now, at 18, his healing has begun by healing others, alongside Kru Nam, her husband Pot, and their team.
And he is only one person, as Kid X is only one, as Kru Nam is only one.
As I am.
Special thanks to Augusto Rosales, dear friend, companion on the Thailand trip and august photographer :)
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