I have never been one to be particularly community minded. I’m more of a lone wolf. Ok, maybe not a lone wolf but a semi lone wolf with a very small pack. I care immensely about others and the world around me but I would prefer to care from afar, in my own little bubble.
Several years ago, when I was still substituting teaching and had a lot of free time, I began volunteering once a week at a local food pantry. It was very far out of my comfort zone. I had to – gasp- interact with others. I did this for some time but stopped when I began working full time again. Around the same time I began going to a small group with those from St. Peter’s Episcopal church. I wasn’t the most faithful attendee (those who know me were often shocked to see me actually show up!) but I tried to stay involved, feeling the the true value of fellowship and interaction with others.
Then the pandemic hit. Everyone was reduced to being in a bubble, whether they liked it or not. And all that time of being totally isolated socially aside from my closest family rather undid all the social progress I had made over the past few years. And I fell very much back into the patterns of not being involved with anyone or anything outside of my immediate circle.
But, as the old saying goes, no man is an island. Whether we would like to admit it or not, we all do need others. That is never more obvious than in times of crisis. Several weeks ago, a young girl named Tanvi Marupally went missing in the central Arkansas town near where I live and in which I work. I’m ashamed to admit I didn’t pay much attention when I saw the posts at first, not unentirely due to the fact she was classified as a runaway. But as I saw more and more people online sharing the information, I began to realize that the circumstances were irrelevant, a young teenager was missing and quite probably in danger. An effort to coordinate searches, print flyers, raise money billboard campaigns, and share social media posts began in the search, many spearheaded by my friend the inimitable Jenny Wallace.
Hourly it seemed, more and more people began to become involved, embodying the very example of a community working together for the greater good. Yes, sadly and sometimes infuriatingly, there are people who turn a blind eye or who can’t be bothered with problems they do not believe are their own, but the outpouring of assistance, prayers, and concern from people in Conway, Faulkner County, and beyond has been amazing.
Unfortunately, Tanvi is still missing. Search efforts continue with no plans to stop until she is found. All of us can do something, whether it is sharing a social media post, printing out a flyer, or actively joining in the search efforts (see below for information on). And I would implore you not to be so concerned with the reason why Tanvi is missing that it would affect your decision to help or spread the word about her disappearance. That is beside the point. I understand that there must be protocols and procedures in place for law enforcement when missing people are involved but whether she left of her own volition, was coerced, or was abducted, a child is missing.
If you see Tanvi or have any information about her whereabouts, please call the Conway Police Department at 501-450-6120. Your community needs you and Tanvi needs you.
-Karri Temple Brackett
February 4, 2023