Today I’m in Colombo and have spent most of the day in bed not feeling well. I’m either extremely tired, have a cold, or have contracted dengue fever. I think I’m just tired from all my travels and adventures.
So while I lay in bed, I keep thinking about what people here in Sri Lanka must go through when they’re sick. Health care in this country is cheap but even the cheapest health care is expensive when you literally have no money. If something cost $20,000 or
$20, it’s still out of reach when you don’t even have a single dollar.
As I think about this, I keep thinking of this beautiful little girl I photographed a few weeks ago. I was in small village where the people lived in dilapidated concrete bunkers. As you walk through the area, you are very aware that they have no sewer or bathroom facilities by the heavy smell in the air. As I was walking, I realized I had two shadows, hers and mine.
From the corner of my eye I could see her peering at me from around walls and doorframes. One time with a quick motion I turned and looked at her with a got-you expression. As I did this she would laugh and quickly duck inside a doorway. After catching her glance a few times, I approached the doorway where she was hiding. When she came out and saw me so near she giggled like she had been found in our little game of hide-and-seek.
Knowing she probably didn’t speak English, but with great hope, I tried talking to her anyway. Sadly she didn’t. But we didn’t really need words. Our smiles to each other was all we needed for our little moment in time.
As we exchanged our expressions, she kept glancing down at my camera. I thought to myself, “it would be my pleasure.” As I raised my camera, a look of joy came across her face.
I would have adopted this little girl in a heartbeat.
So as I sit here under the weather in my nice comfortable bed, in an air-conditioned room, I keep thinking what happens when she’s sick. Is she able to see a doctor? Does she lie in bed, while her mother comforts her? Does she have a bed? Does she have mother?
I realize, I don’t feel so bad after all.