Abushe.

In December 2004, Abushe (13 years old) was found by the director of Childlife sleeping at the main traffic intersection in Maesai. He was sick and very confused - other street children had beaten him up. Abushe's father had left him in the street after telling him that he would be back in just a minute. He never returned. Since then Abushe has been staying with Childlife.

It's quite difficult to communicate with Abushe because he can't speak Thai and is mentallly handicaped, due to which, he speaks his only language, Akha, so fast that even the other Akha-children can hardly understand him. Through many interviews Childlife found out that Abushe's home is located, as he described it, "next to the ricefield and close to a mountain".

Abushe loved coming back to his village. When he and a few Childlife staff members arrived, everybody was exremely surprised - they had assumed he was dead. A funeral ceremony had already been held for him. The couple that he had lived with before weren't his actual parents. His mother has disappeared and his father is unknown.

Abushe's foster parents are very poor, his foster father is addicted to drugs. They didn't know how to support Abushe in the future, as he is mentally so different from the other village children. He never went to school and behaved aggressively towards the other kids. Abushes foster parents said that they other villages would have killed him if he had stayed. The fact that Abushe is in a safe place now with people caring for him is a big relief for them.

Abushe is doing much better now. He's epileptic but is now receiving medication for it. Though different from othyers, he is well accepted and loved by the children of Childlife. His favorite way of communicating is through touch and smile, but he is also learning Thai and how to speak Akha in a way that others can understand him. His best friend Ton, who's 2-years-old, also can't speak thai yet, but they are both very skilled at Tokrae (Thai ball game).

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