Інеса (Inessa) is 17 years old, yet looks as though she is only 11 or 12. We have been told that she is the only Jewish girl of the Internat. When we first met Inessa, two things were memorable about her:
1) her constantly runny nose (Miri dubbed it 'Niagara Falls'), and 2) her hyper-nervous actions. She seemed afraid of us no matter how we tried to reach out, no matter how we tried to connect.
Several weeks later, Inessa's nose is constantly runny. But now she allows us to clean her face. She is still extremely nervous, always pacing, always breathing heavily and rapidly, and always waving her hands. But now she will accept a hug, and begin to calm down when we rub her back. Overall, her actions are much less frantic. Best of all, we get to see her truly light up - her shy smile is absolutely huge. It has been amazing to see her slowly (but surely) become more and more comfortable with us.
Inessa seems to be grouped with the girls in the fourth classroom, although that is only my educated guess. She can often be found pacing the hallways of the Internat, and prefers to be on her own. She is non-verbal, and makes a few simple sounds which tend to accompany excitement.
A related anecdote: lately, Inessa has shown signs of an innocent crush on Orest, and stubbornly stays by his side on the days that he translates for us. Inessa will wait patiently outside a door if Orest disappears into a room - for more than an hour at a time. (It's kind of adorable to witness). Orest has a good rapport with her, and its further proof of how far Inessa has come out of her frightened shell since the early weeks of our work!