I am enclosing a copy of a letter I wrote to my brother, which gives a more personal look at an individual case:
Brother, I can’t save them all, but I can one by one. And my hope is that in time, they are empowered to rise up and believe in a better life for themselves. And maybe they will turn around and help one of their own and maybe I cause a ripple effect. Maybe.
There are glimmers of hope. I can’t see them all the time, but I keep my steadfastness. The government is part of the problem. Their President is disrespectful to women, and is proud of his womanizing. He was questioned in the media about his exploits and the danger of AIDS. He said, “All you have to do is take a shower after sex and you won’t get AIDS.” Clearly, this kind of leadership perpetuates the problem.
On Friday I’m going to a conference on child trafficking, where I will meet members of Parliament, lawyers, and officials. I am realizing my own desire to sit in a chair, to drink good coffee, and to meet people that are able to bathe and wash their hands. This is not a judgment on where I live for these months or the people I am fortunate to work with. I am increasingly aware of the privilege that comes with using my voice. The face of poverty is undeniably devastating.
I had a major breakthrough the other day with a little boy that had been traumatized and quit speaking. I went to visit him at his Granny’s house, as we are trying to press charges against the father. I sat close to him and asked him questions, to which he did not respond. This went on for a while and I silently asked God, “Now what”? I felt an intuition to walk to the beach, which I had never done because it’s so dangerous, although about 30 miles away from Toti. I trusted my guidance and asked Granny if her grandson and I could go to the beach. I made a deal with God for our protection and off we went, about a 3-block walk. When we got there, it was peppered with men who were fishing and hanging out. The boy began to light up. He picked up shells one by one, and examined them; some he would throw back, others he would place in my hand. I realized he was giving me a gift. Soon we were laying on our bellies on the rocks, and pulling up mussels, while he also pointed at different fish.
Then he began to talk.
He told me about all the sea creatures, then for 2 hours he told me about his life. Victory. He took his first step into his journey of healing. When we got back to the house, he asked if it cost money for me to talk to him. I told him, “No – I am your friend.” His Granny called to thank me and said everyday he asks his Grandpa if he can go “fetch” his new friend. This is why I feel called to do this – to support and/or initiate the daily moments of empowerment and healing. This boy is very smart and there is hope for him.
Dear friends, I am signing off on a Sunday afternoon in South Africa. Please be kind to others and give thanks for all the things we take for granted. Keep your children safe and tell them you love them, again and again and again.