In many schools across our city where English is taught children are often heard singing the following prayer:
Thank you for the world so sweet,
Thank you for the food we eat.
Thank you for the birds that sing,
Thank you God for everything.
Strangely this prayer transcends all religion and faith, all social and economic barriers. Schools in remote corners of the city which boast of a sign board stating English medium have their children reciting these verse often led by a teacher who can barely articulate the words. I must confess that in our creche it is also sung with great fervour even if it sometimes difficult to differentiate the words!
I have heard it over and over again as I walk up or down the stairs of our centre but it was only yesterday evening when I was looking at the pictures of our Xmas party that the familiar tunes came to my mind as I saw the snapshot of Manu eating his meal sitting at a table and using a spoon!
My mind flashed back to the summer of 2000 when I had first seen Manu and to the words I had first written about him: Manu, a young physically and mentally challenged young man lived on the street, neglected, dirty and soiled. People would feed him but like you feed an animal. Children threw stones at him. His family abused him in all conceivable ways. No one touched him, when things became too much he would let out the most heart wrenching cries.
In many ways those cries seeded what was to become project why as we all know it now. And as I looked at the photograph of Manu sitting at a table with his friends and teachers enjoying his meal I whispered the little prayer as it conveyed what I truly felt...
Yes God thank you for everything...