July 22, 2012

Worlds apart . . . part 4.2(ish)

During our tour of House of Hope, we entered a girls dorm room. Vacant bunk beds lined the faded pink walls and I noticed one girl laying on a bed as Laura began describing the life of the girls here.

Someone started summoning me to her, because they knew I was "the nurse," and I couldn't help but think, oh great - another medical question or problem that I'm going to be clueless and/or helpless with . . .

As I approached her bed, I could see that the girl was covered with scabs from chickenpox. Scabs that were bleeding through the napkins that had been placed on her skin. I felt my heart start to tug. I had no idea what the girl was saying, but she was smiling and looked joyful, even as I started to well up with tears. Laura asked me what I thought, and I told her - I never work with kids, and all I really know about chickenpox is that you have to let it run it's course.

Laura explained - yes, the other girls all had it, but she's had this for two months. Take that tug on my heart and turn it into a vice grip. I told her that she probably needed some antibiotics . . . and couldn't help but think, this would never happen in the states. This girl would 1) be pampered and cared for by her parents, staying home from school and drinking chicken soup in front of the TV and 2) She would have access to plenty of doctors and treatment if she had a secondary infection like this.

Well, it was over. The dam had broke - I couldn't stop crying as Laura went on to tell of the horrors that these girls are rescued from.

In Nicaragua, many of the women don't know how to provide for their family other than prostitution . . . due to the poverty, lack of education, lack of opportunities, lack of options. And then they don't have any place to take their children while they do this work, so they take them along to the brothels.  Then these girls are slowly eased into prostitution by their own mothers. These women feed their kids alcohol and substances to dull their senses and bring them into this cycle that becomes generational. I struggle with how many details to include in this blog because it is absolutely horrific and nauseating. I still cannot believe that this is a reality. These women not only drug their own children, but they usher them into a generational cycle and deliver them into the sex trade. Some of the girls are as young as 5 and 6, if not younger. Then these girls start to have their own children . . . the average age that they have kids is between 10 and 14.  These children are being incredibly abused in the most abominable and appalling ways, it's unbelievable. I cannot even begin to wrap my mind around this, and when I start to think about it, I am all emotions.

This should never, ever, ever, EVER happen. As JD phrases it, a divine tuning fork rings in my soul when I hear of injustices . . . and I had never heard of anything as heinous before. It has wrecked me. It's like someone took a sledgehammer to the coronary artery. (AKA my heart shatters)

Children are a precious gift from God, and they are to be protected, loved, valued.

We were still on our tour of House of Hope . . . hope. These girls are being rescued from brothels and brought to the campus . . . where they are given opportunities to have shelter, a save haven, food, fellowship, education, and hear the Word of God.

As much as it pains me to write one more negative detail, the House of Hope is not yet recognized by the government and they cannot claim custody over the girls. This means that if/when a family member comes to the campus, they are free to take the girls away. These girls can be taken away in an instant and brought back into their previous lives . . . and the thought of this, again crushes me.

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