I was reminded of the concept of victim, as one of the RCY teachers was asking for suggestions in working with children who are “burn victims”.
The face of a boy came to mind, one I had the good fortune to meet in one of the ‘squatter’s camps’ of Johannesburg, South Africa. Several years ago, I was teaching yoga to children at the formerly Soweto, now Joe Slovo Camp. The houses there are tin or board shacks with dirt floors. Fifty children excitedly swarmed into a space big enough for ten adults on yoga mats. Someone had unrolled a dingy indoor/outdoor carpet over the bare dirt. This particular boy was about five years old, burned on both sides of his face, one ear missing. His eyes and his lopsided grin were totally intact, however, as he beamed up at me and anyone else who happened to come into his field of vision. I thought of him with that phrase” burn victim”, and immediately heard his laugh as he said “I don’t even know what you are talking about! Something happened a long time ago that was hard to understand and painful, but I am just me living my life, having fun and not having fun sometimes. But victim? Don’t know anything about it.”