For the A to Z Blogging Challenge, I’m blogging 26 days in April based on the alphabet and bringing you stories from the nonprofit Project Why.
Today, I bring you the story of an unlikely friendship which would not have happened if not for the wonderful nonprofit that is Project Why. Jon’s first day at the Project was not the best. He possibly didn’t expect to share a flat with much younger volunteers, some quite a handful. The heat, the noise, the lack of direction made him want to pack his bags and leave. Enter Cat (read her amazing story at the C story for #atozchallenge) ! She spent time putting things in perspective and suggesting he give Project Why a chance. Why not begin with the Special Section?
The moment Jon entered the Special Section he met Munna and thus began an unlikely friendship between a young Indian slum kid with a cognitive impairment, and a forty-plus British theater actor. Munna loved the way Jon fooled around and Jon seemed to understand Munna’s incomprehensible communication.
Any time Jon came into the room, Munna would shake his hand and not let go. The two would have long chats. In Jon’s own words: “We had imaginary conversations of total gibberish which were full of expression and intonation like a real conversation between two adults, rather than an Indian child and a childish Englishman. These conversations might go on for 10 or 20 minutes, much to the amusement of onlookers, but Munna was very serious and seemed to express real meaning”.
The two bonded far more deeply than one could imagine, each caring for the other in their own inimitable way. Here’s Munna, in Jon’s words:
“Sometimes Munna would come up to me and look deep into my eyes, or rather deep into my mind, as if searching for something. I got the feeling he was making sure I was alright. Munna might appear to most people to have intellectual disabilities or the like, but the tricks he used to play on me, the games he played on and with me, showed me he was quite clever and very observant of people. He was and always will be a very special friend and he is now a gentle and caring young man who I’m proud to be friends with. In the photo here, Munna is wearing my sunglasses which he always liked to try on and look cool. I trusted him with them and not once did he ever drop them or even scratch them.
I’ve met Munna, and some day, I hope to meet Jon, the wonderful Project Why Ambassador, and watch the celebrated friendship in action. I wish we could understand Munna’s words for Jon, but maybe now all of us can make a very good guess. We humans have one spirit. When a spirit talks to another, friendships happen, because in the way of the heart, there are no boundaries.
Have you ever volunteered with special needs kids? Would you like to become a Project Why Ambassador? If you cannot make it to New Delhi, could you donate to bring a smile to a child’s face? What would you say to Jon and Munna? How are the schools for special needs kids structured where you live?
To Donate to The Special Section of Project Why, Click Here.
To Contact Project Why, Click Here
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