My main meeting today was with Ratu Osea and Elizabeth Clayton. I’ve known Elizabeth from my first years in Fiji. Her main ministry involves rescuing street children, providing them with a safe home and an education and hopefully helping their families come to a place where they can truly care for them in their own homes again. Today she is overseeing the well-being of around fifty kids.
She is also the legal guardian of Sujit Kumar, previously known worldwide as the Chicken Boy of Fiji. Sujit is one of a handful of so-called feral children—individuals who were raised by animals, almost devoid of human contact. Almost from birth, Sujit was kept in a chicken coop under his parent’s home. Eventually he was “rescued” by the Fijian police and chained to a wall in an insane asylum. For many years he was kept in the most filthy, inhumane conditions imaginable. His caretakers would throw food to him, always keeping their distance. Occasionally they would hose him down as his only means of sanitation.
Elizabeth has a degree in behavioral science. When she learned about how Sujit was being treated she got permission to take him into her home. She began to work with him one-on-one to try to bring him to his full potential given all of the mistreatment he had suffered since he was born. She took him to specialists in many countries who had an interest in the development of the human brain. Her concern has always been to determine Sujit’s potential and to do everything possible to help him lead the fullest possible life. She formed the Sujit foundation, pouring much of her own money into funding Sujit’s many needs.
Around three years ago she and I talked about what would happen to Sujit when she died. The foundation would presumably have enough funds to provide for his care, but who would care for him and where could he live/ His scope of life and his potential is still much curtailed due to physical issues that will never be completely resolved. For instance he cannot learn to speak since the segments of his brain that control speech are severely underdeveloped. His social skills have vastly improved under Elizabeth’s care, but he still requires intense individual supervision every waking hour.
I suggested it might be best to set him up in a Fijian village. The foundation could cover the costs for his care, provide adequate housing, etc. Being in a village would give him much more freedom than living in a city. There would be more opportunity for growth as he interacted with a rural environment. Rural Fijian people are generally very considerate and are kind to those who are developmentally challenged. Elizabeth liked the idea but did not take it any further than the discussion phase.
Today I finally got her together with Ratu Osea, the paramount chief I’ve mentioned previously. Ratu will be moving from Suva back to his home village of Cuvu the end of March. This village is right on the beach, not too far off the main road, but is definitely rural. Immediately adjacent to his main house Ratu owns another smaller house that no one has lived in for many years. The house is still structurally sound, but is in need of renovation. It could be a very suitable place for Sujit.
Monday morning Elizabeth will drive Ratu and me to Cuvu to look at the village and to inspect the house. If she thinks the situation is suitable, the foundation will renovate the house and she, Sujit and a caretaker will move to the village and live together there for a period of months until Sujit is comfortable and well accepted into village life. During that time, selected villagers will be trained as caretakers. Since Ratu will be back in the village, he can assure that everything goes according to plan.
Elizabeth will eventually move back to Suva and visit Sujit periodically to assure herself regarding his ongoing well being. Everyone will benefit and Elizabeth will know she has done her best for this person she loves so well. And she will be able to devote more time to the kids she is rescuing.
Very often I serve as a bridge between individuals who have a need and those who have the resources to meet that need. It is such a blessing to be able to make a difference in the lives of so many over the years. Thanks for your prayers and for partnering in this ministry.