Saturday, November 30, 2013
Another woman (girl) arrives at the Sicalo Lesisha Kibbutz today
This week has been a time of giving thanks. We are thankful for our family, our friends, good food, good fellowship and all the other blessings that we have received. I could write all day long the things I am thankful for, but I will focus on just one today - having a spare room at the Sicalo Lesisha Kibbutz (which means New Beginning Communal Living) on Project Canaan.
There have been many times that I have been asked whether we would consider opening a home for unwed/pregnant mothers? The thinking is that even if the girl is raped and is pregnant from that rape she might want to keep the baby after its born rather than giving it away (or throwing it away). It was a good thought and was the germ of the idea for the Sicalo Lesisha Kibbutz to be built.
This week I was called about a 17-year old girl who has been badly abused (sexually, emotionally, physically) since she was 8-years old. She is now 5-months pregnant after a multiple rape and does not want the baby. She has tried to commit suicide on several occasions and has tried to abort the baby twice. Her attempts were not successful.
The girl was discovered by a group of kind women specifically helping young pregnant girls in need. They offer counseling and some assistance while the girl gives birth and then they do some counseling after to help the young mother with motherhood. When this girl told her long and terrible story to the counselor she called in the senior leadership to help. The girl was then taken to the Social Welfare Office to get assistance, both for the baby who was unwanted, and also for the girl who was in fear for her life and desperately wants to go back to school after the baby comes. She will be 18-years old at that time and is just now going into Grade 6.
I was called and asked to come and hear the girl’s story and then pray about how we could help, and so I went. For two hours this young girl told me the story of her life from the age of eight until she was 14. Due to time restraints she had to jump from age 14 to 17 quickly to tell me how she became pregnant. There were several times that I wanted her to stop because I didn’t want to hear anymore. There were times that I put my hand over my eyes to hide my disgust or pain. She is a brave girl and we wanted to help.
The good news was that we have two empty rooms still at the Sicalo Lesisha Kibbutz and the next step would be for me to discuss her situation with the four women who already live there to see if they were willing to open their new home to a girl in desperate need. I went straight back to Project Canaan and called a meeting. I explained a small part of the story, which I was told and all of the women together said, “She must come here. We can help her.” I almost cried. I was so proud of them. Offering to bring in a 17-year old stranger, who comes with mountains of baggage, was the greatest gift that they could give. I asked what would be needed and they said that they would scrub the floor of room #1 and we would just need to bring a bed, sheets, blankets and a towel (all of which we had in storage). It was done. The young girl would come and live here. It was that simple. So here is the plan.
She will arrive in about an hour from now. Her room is ready and there is food for her to eat. She will start work on Monday morning making jewelry at the Khutsala Artisans Shop. Her due date is February 3rd and her plan is to stay with us until after she has healed from childbirth. We have agreed to take the child to El ROI if and only if that is her desire when the child comes (right now she wants nothing to do with the baby conceived by rape). She wants to go back to school, but realizes that she would have to wait until January 2015, and she will be almost 19-years old entering Grade 6, but maybe she will love living here and want to stay. Maybe she will love being taught a skill and working alongside other wonderful women who have been chosen to come here. Maybe she will find hope and love in the safe haven called Project Canaan.
We don’t know what the future holds for this young girl, but we know that tonight she will sleep well, maybe for the first time in nine years. We know that she will be loved and that she will know that Jesus loves her so much that He has brought her here to us. Interestingly, she has already named her unborn child – he/she will be given the name “Innocent” as the girl sees the child as the innocent outcome of her own tragic life. I see the child as part of God’s perfect and Holy plan – none of which we can even begin to understand.
Today I give thanks for the people who gave so generously to build the Sicalo Lesisha Kibbutz so that this week we could say, “yes”!
I also give thanks to the anonymous donor who has put forward a $100,000 year end giving match so that every dollar that you give to our Year End Campaign will be matched to double its work. As you give thanks for all that you have I ask that you consider making a Year End gift to us at Heart for Africa on this link. Thank you.
Live from Swaziland … I am truly thankful.