Tragedy struck our campus this past week. It began with beautiful 12 year-old Durga Devi (known to many of us as Anu) getting sick with fever, chills, and nausea. Medical staff treated her normally for stomach flu symptoms, but later in the day she seemed to be slightly disoriented. Dr. Susan immediately took her to the Sri Ramachandra Hospital where she was diagnosed with meningoencephalitis. Doctors put her on IV antibiotics and had around-the-clock care. Our board member, Dr. Anandan, the head of that department at the hospital, took personal charge of her care. In spite of herculean efforts on the part of the hospital staff, Durga’s brain was unable to fight off this pathogen. She passed away two days later.

Two of the other girls in Durga’s group also came down with the same symptoms, but, by the grace of God, both recovered within 24 hours. No other children have been affected.

Durga is fondly remembered by those who knew her. She went by many fun names because she so loved playing make-believe! She especially enjoyed pretending to be one of the Disney Princesses, however she was also known as Tinkerbell and Barbie—but to those who knew her best, she was Anu. Anu was a bundle of energy! She always loved to race volunteers and was one of their favorites because she loved braiding the volunteers’ hair with fragrant flowers.

Anu was very smart and was an excellent student. She did so well in school, in fact, that she tutored other students in English and science. She loved helping others. She was outgoing, fun and very often, the center of attention!

Anu lost her parents early in life. While there was much sorrow as she slipped away from us into the next life, we like to think that, on the other side, there was surely a joyful reunion of Anu with her loving parents. She will be lovingly remembered by her playmates, teachers, housemothers, sponsors, and the volunteers who were all captivated by her innate joy for life.

Becky Douglas

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