The last few steps of her journey felt weighted though. She already missed her grandmother and her friends and the tutors at the Compassion center. She wondered if she should have written to tell her sponsor, Hannah, about her visit. Should she have brought some of Hannah’s letters with her? To show her mother?
Shamim quickly learned, though, that she wouldn’t see much of her mother. She worked long hours every day, and Shamim was left at home alone to clean and cook. Each night Shamim went to bed missing home.
And then, one morning, Shamim woke up with her body burning with fever. Her head hurt, and she felt so tired. While her grandmother had learned through Compassion the warning signs that prompted an urgent doctor’s visit, her mother didn’t understand just how sick little Shamim was.
“One morning I woke up and I couldn’t hear. I could only hear squeaking sounds in my ears but not people’s voices,” says Shamim. “But my mom thought I was pretending and didn’t want to work. One week later, she took me to the clinic, but it had worsened.”
Doctors diagnosed Shamim with malaria and mumps, which had damaged her hearing. By the time she finally returned home to her grandmother, Shamim was completely deaf.
“When my grandmother came, she was so disappointed when she called me and I couldn’t hear her. She told Compassion about it, and Compassion quickly gave her money to take me to a big hospital,” says Shamim.
Shamim’s hearing loss was permanent, and doctors could do nothing to reverse it. Shamim quickly fell behind in school, and she says her friends ran away from her because she could not talk to them.
But the staff at the Compassion center wanted the little girl to know that she would not be abandoned again. They researched resources for children with special needs and were finally able to find a school that had a program for deaf students.