Across many countries, thousands of children die of infectious diseases that can be easily prevented by the simple act of washing hands. This video and story bring home this simple message.
There are celebrations all around her. Her husband is dancing and jumping for joy. Announcing to the world; a blessing has arrived. An offspring that proclaims to one and all – I belong here, this is my house; my family. She sees all this with jaded eyes. She absorbs all the happiness with a mark of caution. Is it going to be different this time? Yes, she thinks so.
Yet as she holds the tiny new life in her hands; she stares at it wondrously. She holds such a treasure in her hands. Are her hands worthy? She is unsure and checks them again and again. Are they steady and strong? Safe enough for the little miracle she holds in her hands? The baby lies in her hands with so much trust, just as before.
For the first time her thoughts are not her own but about the delicate happiness held in her hands. She shares her joy, her happiness knows no bounds; she is ecstatic. She cannot decide to cry or to smile; she does both at the same time.
She hesitates and remembers the love she feels anew; the promise she made to herself. The small hands that held hers with so much faith, entrusting his life in her hands, the twinkling eyes that held her with awe, marvelling at her gentle gestures and the giant waves of love that flow through. The soft, buttery skin, the delicate body and the smiling face; all beckon her to touch, to cuddle and kiss.
She remembers her promise, to herself, her husband and her child.
As she holds her joy, she remembers the time when the biggest piece of her heart lay on the floor, mute and motionless. He played around the house, making so much noise, yet he lay so quietly. Why was he motionless? He never stopped moving since the day he started crawling.
Running and jumping over any and all obstacles, yet people had come to move him away.
Taking him from me, tearing away my heart and leaving a sore in its place. They told me they were germs. The germs just stuck to us; to our hands.
Hurrying up to do all the chores, working from dawn till night fall; ensuring that my baby’s demands were met before any ones else’s. She never saw the germs, she just saw love but it was not enough.
The bundle of joy is now a stone lodged in her heart. She can neither forget nor does anyone want her to remember. If only she had known that her love could not stop the flow of Diarrhoea, Pneumonia and Dysentery.
She has a second chance though her son did not. She is a mother again but the child is not the same.
Now, she reminds herself, her husband, her child and her family to wash hands with soap. No good can be done with unclean hands.
Her mind reminds her of the gurgling laughter, the jumping feet and the days spent playing make believe games. She washes her hands, filling them with hope; cleaning the doubts and filling them with love.
She washes away the germs, disease and death. She washes till she is sure that her hands are worthy enough. She washes away the pain, sorrow and misery. She washes her hands again and again hoping to wash away the anguish and heartache.
She washes her hands till they are clean enough to hold a hope, a life and a joy. She washes her hands and tells her family to do the same and #Helpachildreach5.
She hugs the baby and smiles through the doubts and tears; her hands are ready.