The Wishing Ring
A film about Child Protection
Times are hard in Haiti. Life brings suffering to many, but the little girl who lives in this house suffers more misery than most. Annette has worked in the city since her mother died. Her father couldn’t look after her. She’s a restavek. She lives with her ‘aunt’ who is cruel to her, and whose son, Pierre, forces himself on her brutally. They promised to send her to school, but didn’t. There are too many chores to be done. All alone, the only thing in the world that brings Annette comfort is a picture of her mother. It’s her only memory of her, Annette’s one treasured possession. Today, however, her life will change…
Suddenly, from nowhere, a strange carnival band appears. The Band Leader produces a ring, a special wishing ring, something he says will make all Annette’s wishes come true so long as she obeys its three rules.
Rule Number One: You must be kind to others, no matter who they are
Rule Number Two: You must tell your story to a ‘trusted’ grown-up
Rule Number Three: You must find value even in those who seem to have none
So while she previously ignored Etienne, a disabled boy who has lost his leg and begs locally, Annette starts being kind to both him and stray dog, Buddy. Her ring glows on her finger! When she shares a mango with them, it glows again. Etienne tells her he knows where to find a trusted adult at a special children’s centre, and Annette is able to tell the woman her desperate troubles. The ring glows!! She is invited to live at the centre, and be safe – it’s thing she’s wished for most in the world. But Annette can’t relax until she returns to the house for her mother’s photograph.
Pierre is in a menacing mood, and intends to force himself onto Annette again. But Etienne, the dog and other children have followed. Seeing all of them, he backs off. “Why did you help me?” Annette asks. “Because you’re our friend,” replies Etienne. Friends! Another wish come true!
But where is her ring? It’s disappeared! Annette panics.
“This old thing?” the Band Leader asks, appearing out of nowhere again. “There was no magic in that! No, my dear, the magic is in you!”
Because Annette followed its rules, she was able to make great changes to her life all by herself. Annette suddenly understands. “If we’re kind to each other and work together, we have a sort of magical power that we don’t have alone!”
“That’s exactly right,” the Band Leader responds. “And that’s the power in all of you! Because even when bad things happen, together, you can make ‘real’ magic!”