Over the last couple of days a little lost boy has been coming to us.
He is from Russia. His mother believes she has found the solution to the struggle with her son by allowing him to wander. "He has his own journeys," she told me. "He goes and has his own experiences and people bring him back and sometimes he comes back on his own." She believes that fear is the only thing that will harm him. If she does not fear for him, he will be fine. That he is only a baby when he is with her. That when he is away from her, he is strong and capable.
He is nineteen months old.
I don't know how to describe how disturbing it is to find a year and a half old boy wandering by himself in the village, one shoe on and one shoe off. You can probably imagine it.
The day before yesterday, our British neighbor found him in his yard and looked all over for his parents. Then he took him to a nearby restaurant and fed him... kept looking. All that time, no one came to find him. Through many questions from many different people, we figured out where he came from.
Yesterday, when it happened again, the British man came to me saying that he couldn't do it again. I brought the little guy into my house and gave him a bath and some food. He didn't have any pants on and he had poo on his bum and leg. He was very thirsty.
When I took him back, about an hour and a half later, his mother wasn't looking for him. She expressed gratitude that I brought him back, but she also expressed her views about the goodness of his wandering ways. "He cannot be controlled," is what her friends told us yesterday.
These people are in the grip of this extreme idealism and strange thinking about spirits and the world. That this boy would be fine walking wherever he wants day or night because of their positive thinking? It is unbelievable.
I told her about the dangers. I told her that even though this seems like a small, safe village, people from all over the world are here, and this beach is known in India as a place where you can come to see naked people, bringing sketchy men from the get go. That we watch our children always. That even when we watch them, they sometimes get hurt, and we have had to go to the hospital twice. She told me that is because of my fear.
I told her there are open wells in the coconut grove.
I hope she heard me. I think I got through to her a bit.
It may happen again, that the boy comes wandering through. We will continue to try to speak with this girl. The authorities here are very corrupt and not to be trusted with children, necessarily, so we wouldn't want to involve them.
If you are a praying person, maybe you could pray for this little boy's safety.