Sara's Story: Sleepless Awake

This week we will be posting amazing writing from our Guyana Country Coordinator, Angie Hemric. Over the next few days you will follow Ang on a journey through Plastic City as she tells the tragic story of Sara. Our prayer is that your heart will be touched like ours were when we learned of this tragedy several weeks ago. We encourage you to ask God what He would have you do to

Reclaim hope for orphans like Sara

This poem was written in July 2008 after my first intensive time living and breathing Plastic City life for ten full days. As I processed through all the stories I heard both there and in a similiar area an hour away God cemented a call that took one more year to crystallize.

Now, two and one-half years later the stories that left me sleepless then resurfaced in the face of a girl I knew and held close to my heart. She was lost to “the traffic” earlier this month. We did not expect this aspect of the vision to bang at our door so early in our timeline for plastic city, but we know God is not surprised.

We now walk forward to embrace her story and engage ourselves in being trained by a formidable organization that offers week long intensives in all areas of Modern Day Slavery. Over this next week I will bring our girl's story before you so that you might be awakened to the fight we are up against and be challenged to join our cause of preventing slavery in our corner of the world. And if we can’t prevent all, then perhaps God will allow us to rescue them and walk with them to discover God’s redemptive power for thier young lives.

Darkness looms

Horizon breaks

Quietness stirs

Sleepless awake

Day has dawned

Deeds are seen

Broken Pieces

Mauled up faces

Twisted Torment

Souls encased

Night will come

Lights will dim

Darkness hides the deeds of men

Shattered stories

Charred ash memories

Escape is ecstasy at the hands of another

Silent tears

Hopeless fears

Sold for a dime

Destined by time

Again and again

Pain beyond measure

Felt deep within

To live by darkness

Hardened by shame

My life, your life

Forever changed

Knowledge is power

What will you do

To rescue the innocent

Lost to forever

Covered by darkness

At the hands of another

Powerless, victimized

Over and over

Rise up

Be Strong

Weep for another

A child lost in the traffic

A life of horror

Rise up be strong

Weep for another

A child sold out by

A mother, a brother

Rise up

Be strong

Weep for another

Weep for another

Darkness looms

Horizon breaks

Quietness Stirs

Sleepless Awake

Sleepless Awake
July 26, 2008

I met Sara in the spring of 2008 when a friend and I visited a family that we thought lived in Plastic City. We found them and I met Sara as the children showed us around the area. Sara came along for the walk but always stayed a few steps back. I was drawn to her because of her absolute silence and her deep brown eyes. They scrutinized me from head to toe as she watched her chattering cousins vie for my constant attention. Sara never let me hear the sound of her voice that day – not even to tell me her name. The piercing secrecy hidden behind those hollow eyes was my unforgettable first impression. She was silent; untouchable and sixteen.

The memories of that day are snapshots of the life that I have grown to understand much more deeply today. Sara was born in Plastic City and never knew her father. She grew up with four older half siblings until her mother gave birth to her last child, a boy, when Sara was nine years old. The mother died soon after her son was born leaving Sara an orphan by her eleventh birthday.

These six siblings were the first double orphans in the extended family. The two oldest boys were left to find their own way at thirteen and seventeen years old. The two girls, eleven and fifteen years old, were taken in by their aunt who had her own full house of fatherless children. The baby boy was taken in by the grandmother. They only lived a few steps away from one another divided by shadowy and filthy water that characterizes life in this corner of the world.

The way of survival for the grandmother was passed down the family line as the way of survival for one remaining daughter. Sara was taken into a family where she was now two years younger than her aunt’s thirteen year old daughter. In what could seem premeditated, this daughter was soon pregnant with her first child by a man known to the family. The expectation of giving your body over to the service of men for sport and spare change was generational. This reality alone is enough to make you want to hit the pause button and hope for no more, but there is no pause in Sara’s obnoxious reality. The flagrant disregard for life in this shadowy darkness is not solely rooted in poverty. There is a greater enemy provoking this mental degeneracy. I remember a few months ago when another young girl from the family was being set up as the liar in order to make her grandmother look innocent in the eyes of a school official. The child was told by the aggravated grandmother that if she did not want to listen to her and do as she was told then she could go: “F” a man’s cock.” The shame filled tears that poured from this child’s face as she internalized those words revealed, like crystal, the contemptuous life that consumes this old woman.

It is horrible enough to look from the outside in and know that Sara spent the last years of her teenage life living out those very words of her grandmother. One hot afternoon Sara’s sister invited me into her house to talk with both of them. As the sun beat upon our faces I then realized why those deep brown eyes were so hollow the first time we met. Minutes turned into hours as I painfully listened to the life of two orphaned sisters. I soaked in every spoken word and realized the start of Sara’s demise began the day Sara was deemed slow and never encouraged to go to school. After the mother’s death their lives took a volatile curve. Now living in a home that encouraged sexual behavior Sara and her sister were not spared one drop of innocence. Sara’s first violent sexual manipulation began when she was raped at fifteen and the crime was settled with a payoff. This payoff was the first of many that set her up into a life of anything goes, nickel and dime, prostitution in her own community. As I gazed into Sara’s eyes on that muggy afternoon I could not suppress my tears. The plea of her sister was for me to help Sara see the trap that had been set by her very own family. She wanted me to convince Sara to live in her sister’s house and listen to her so they could make a better life for themselves.

The fight was a difficult one, but Sara stayed with her sister and had good and bad days. As my days working with this young girl turned into months I realized more and more how she was set up for her life a generation ago.

This is part one of Sara’s Story that will continue being told tomorrow.