No six year old should be a hero. At least not in normal circumstances. But when placed in dangerous situations, it may be the difference between life and death. When a six year old takes actions to save her life, it’s heroic. When she also saves her baby sister in the process, it’s miraculous.
They were cast outside for the night. This was not unusual. They spent many nights outside braving the cold. Huddled up together to stay warm. Their little bodies shivering. Their only cover and protection were the bare thin clothes on their backs. And the hand of God. But they were ok with the cold. They were ok with the outside. Inside was what they feared. Inside was mamá.
She drank often. Probably to ease the pain. To deal with the past. It didn’t matter where it came from or what she needed to do to get it. There were always ways. It also didn’t matter that what little she could earn wasn’t spent on food or the girls. They could fend for themselves. What was more important was the numbness that came with the drink. Yes, she beat them when she was drunk. Yes, she punished them with the burning end of her cigarettes. But so long as she couldn’t feel, it didn’t matter.
After watching her sister receive the full fury of her mamá’s wrath she made a decision. She had seen enough. No longer would she allow her sister to be kicked as she crawled along the ground. No longer would she allow her sister to be flung across the room like a thing. No longer would she allow her sister to eat dirt and garbage. No longer would she allow herself to cry over her unconscious sister. No long would she allow crying themselves to sleep in the cold and rain of that mountain. At six years old, she made the decision to not be a hero, but to save their lives.
While mamá was sleeping inside the house, she picked up her sister and started the journey down the mountain. At 4 years old, her sister should have been walking alongside her. But her legs hadn’t formed properly. Lack of nutrition will do this. Instead, she put her sister on her back and carried her down. She didn’t know what exactly was at the bottom, but it didn’t matter. She was determined and she was brave. A hero and a miracle.
They are safe now and very happy. They are fed well and loved even more. As for the little one, the abuse, the neglect, and the malnutrition, took its toll on her little body. It wasn’t allowed to develop properly and it’s obvious when you see her. But she has made great gains, since coming to SOHWO and is now walking to kindergarten everyday. Her smile so large, it appears to push her eyes closed.
As for the big sister, she still looks out for the well being of the younger. You might notice her glancing in her sister’s direction when she’s not within reach. That fear for her may always be there. She doesn’t like it when her sister is far from her. Because she remembers. It may always be a part of their relationship. And that’s ok. Heroes are created when they respond to life’s situations. Miracles are created when God responds to situations in our life. Both are true in this story and both are true of these girls.