Anjuna, Goa 403509, India
The Girl From GoaI had finally settled down on the beach after a grueling yoga class on the shore of Anjuna, just down from the amazing market, when a girl with the most stunning green eyes appeared as if in a vision from behind the cow. She instantly sat down and began to talk. She told us how every season she made the long journey from the south of India to Goa,hitchhiking on overcrowded buses and trains and sometimes walking for days on end. She was expected to work all day, every day, and bring the money back to her family (what little was left after the “supervisor” took his cut). She was all of nine.
Naive as I was, I asked, “what about school?” There was no school for this amazingly bright little girl. She spoke five languages, including English, German and Dutch, and had the sales skills of an experienced adult and yet, she had never attended a day of school in her life. I was aware of the fact that girls can't to go to school in many cultures but I had never encountered this dire situation on such a personal level. I also learned that she was to be married in the next year to a boy who, “Doesn’t even speak English.” All I could think of was, “She’s nine.” When I was nine all I thought about were my friends and hello kitty! I felt hopeless and helpless yet strangely inspired. This small, tiny girl on the beach had the power to make such an impact on everyone she met. I knew that somehow, someday the girl from Goa would make it.