Visiting a student from 3 years ago…..

What a pleasure to visit Sonu, a student from 3 years ago who has kept her Talking Suitcase.

Then she was in fourth grade and had been in the U.S. only two years.  Many of her stories were from India where she lived in an orphanage till she was adopted and came to the U.S. to live. She still remembers her best friend Mona who was like a little sister to her; the terrace of the school where she once saw a giant snake killed, and where she stood protected from the rain. She remembers celebrating holidays there, throwing a statue of Ganesh into the river, eating sweets, and staying up late. Everyone was her friend there; not like in the U.S. where girls seem to pick their friends.  Sonu’s Talking Suitcase is full of color and sparkle, surely you can see that the orphanage she left behind was not a pitiful and sad place; but held many precious memories.

Just last year Sonu got an award for creating a beautiful Indian outfit herself – designing and stitching it – and I am not surprised at all at her style – it reminds me of the cover of her Suitcase.

Sonu’s mother says that the Talking Suitcase project was the first time in the two years she had been in the U.S., that Sonu was able to talk about the orphanage and world she lost when she came here.  And look at it…so sparkling and rich. Even now, the Suitcase helps her remember and share her stories.  Today it was so moving for me to re-enter that lost world with her, and hear about her life now – to see how she has grown, and how too she continues to remember.

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