Meet Manisha.

"She's a girl," they snickered.

I asked everyone in the class to tell me something that others might not know about them. "She's a girl -- even though she has no hair." There was a bandana tied around her head. I hadn't asked.

After class: "I'd like to talk to Manisha for a minute." She had a painfully beautiful smile, but she'd always been shy. Why would a child open up to a stranger?

"So, your hair." She nodded. "The boys make fun of your hair. How do you feel?" Didi, I feel sad. "Yeah, I felt bad when they did that, too. But you know what? We can't change them. But I think you're sooo pretty. We can't change them, but you can think about how pretty you are. My friends make fun of my short hair too!" Didi, I feel sad but I tell them it doesn't make a difference to me. Didi, when something hurts me, I never tell anyone. Like Didi, when I get a boo-boo or something, I don't even tell my parents, because I don't want them to worry about me. "But Manisha, you can tell me. I won't worry, okay? I'll just try to figure out what we can do to help you."  

You know, I don't tell anyone when something bothers me, but whenever something bothers me, God fixes it. "But Manisha, that's wonderful! How does he fix it?" When there is danger somewhere or there is about to be an accident, he doesn't let me go there. Like one day, my mother's brother was really angry at her. He beat her so much! He picked her up by her neck and threw her across the room. Her entire face was swollen the next day. But my mom had told me just before that to go do the dishes. I did the dishes and went downstairs when the danger was gone! And when I think about how I'm bald, my hair always grows back so fast!

Didi, I really like you. "Manisha, that's so swee--" Didi, you like me a lot too, right? "Of course, Manisha! How did you know?" I can see it on your face, Didi! You always smile and remain so happy. "Not always, Manisha, but I'm happy when I'm with you guys!" You like being with us, don't you, Didi? I like being with my friends, too. If I had it my way, I would always study and spend time with my friends. I like being with my friends instead of alone washing dishes in the kitchen. Even when I study alone, I feel so nervous and unhappy, but studying with friends, Didi . . . ahhh.

Didi, I'm really glad you thought of me. "What do you mean, Manisha?" You didn't ask about my hair! I was so afraid you would. I'm always a little bit afraid when I talk to you. Look, I'm afraid now too. Look, my knees are shaking! I'm always afraid you're going to ask me a question I don't know the answer to, and then what will you think of me? "Manisha! I won't think anything! There are so many questions I don't know the answers to! When my teachers or friends ask me, I just tell them straight away -- I don't know!"

"And look, you taught me the best thing ever today! That even when you don't share your grief with others, God helps you! I'm going to remember that from now on! God will always find a solution for me and you." No, Didi, God will always find a solution for everybody.

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