As I begin to write this story, a small tear builds in my eye, for the story of Mamoon is one which my heart and mind have not yet come to peace with. I met Mamoon last night following prayer, and on that peaceful night, he touched my heart. Mamoon was holding brother Guillaume's hand at the time, the time when I made contact with his eyes. And Mamoon was drawn to me.
Barefoot, his feet and ankles swollen like balloons, he hobbled to my side and wrapped his little arms around my waist. With all the delicacy of a beautiful child, he wrapped himself around me and quietly, with a voice raspy from a respiratory disease, he said to me "Boro bhai, boro bhai" (Big brother), and nestled his little head into my body. There I was, absolutely engulfed by this young boy's affection and pain, and I put my arm around him and held him there. And with my other hand I gently held his hand, that hand dry, cracked and blistering, and I let myself be absorbed in the moment.
And as that beautiful moment came to a close, it was time to help Mamoon walk around to the dining area to eat rice and curry. After lifting him and helping him sit down, we passed around the meal, and Mamoon looked at the large plate, full or rice and curry, and seemed dumbfounded. Then he asked, "Morizh?" (Hot pepper) We said that they were coming, and as we lifted our plates to eat, Mamoon sat there, didn't touch his plate. While the peppers were coming around, Mamoon carefully pulled two one-Taka coins from his shirt pocket and started playing with them. We gently asked him if he wanted to eat, and after we were all half finished, Mamoon finally started eating his rice and peppers. But he never touched the curry, and although I have my theories why that may be, that is not something for me to guess. So there Mamoon sat, the rest of us washing our hands, Mamoon's plate still piled high with rice and curry, but he was finished eating. Whether out of fear or uncertainty or some other unknown reason, Mamoon would barely touch his food.
And after dinner we took him and he went with one of the boys by ricksha back to the area near the train station were brother Guillaume had found him in the middle of the street. And as we helped him go to the ricksha, a little sob started to come and he said, that he was in pain, and as we carried him the rest of the way, Mamoon, that little boy of 8 or 9 years, I saw more fear and thankfulness in the same expression, as I have ever before felt.
Now, I have my doubts that I will ever see Mamoon again, he will return to his home, to the middle of the streets, not to see a doctor, and not to be well fed. And as he goes, he has done something that he will likely never know. He touched the heart of one foreign boy, and returned that compassion that I feel sometimes disappears in this place. And as my heart longs to love him, I pray that he feels love right now, and I pray for his safety and peace. For Mamoon deserves peace and happiness, love and joy, as do we all. And he reminds me of the love that I need to share.