Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Sleepless Awake: Sara's Story Concludes

We could not give Sara everything she needed to break free from the talons that gripped her life. One day she was in Plastic City and the next day she was gone. The dark silences were haunting, disturbing and long. Those who took her in at eleven were no longer satisfied with a few dollars a day. In the last year of her life they sold her to men who kept her until they had enough of her. A phone call on a Sunday afternoon in March brought news that could no longer mute the truth of Sara’s earthly existence. She was found brutally murdered and left to decompose in a trench. The ones who called her whore and made money for their pockets were now left to stare at a local paper and search their own conscience. Our team gathered with the family on that distressing night. The indisputable silence was a sure indicator that death had come knocking again. Sara’s shrinking family was now down to three and we were faced with one disconcerting question: “What do we do now?”

In Sara’s death the truth of her life came unraveled and all who attended her funeral were left with two pictures. The first was the ashen powdered face of a twenty year old that now glared back at them from a $100 coffin. The other was the face of a beautiful sixteen year old framed in a photograph and accented with fresh flowers. Disparity stared us down. No amount of rum could drown away a conscience filled with cruel abuse and punishing contradictions. In a family that has lost many they have always managed to put their blame aside and pull their resources together to build a tomb for the dead. The family differences cut too deep this time. The cruelty of her life was underscored in her death as her body was lowered into a six foot, mud-encased, unmarked grave that was dug in the rain by her twenty-two year old brother. She was laid to rest in a potter’s field.

The stark contradiction that set Sara’s death apart from any other family member was the evidence of our presence. We were near the family to help calm the chaos hours after the phone call came to us. Through the wishes of the sister and our support Sara was honored with the first Christian wake in the history of the family. She was also honored in her death with a funeral that clothed her in dignity and allowed the tragedy to simmer in the hearts of all who attended.

Sara’s death has spoken much louder than her life.

And, in her death, she is still speaks to the living.

Sara’s death is not unique to Guyana, nor is her life.

Her life is real and there are other children just like our brown eyed girl who need someone to step in and stop the spiraling cycle. We can make it happen! We can prevent the recruitment, purchase and delivery of human beings that has become known as modern day slavery or human trafficking.

Plastic City is a predator’s paradise and the prevention of human trafficking is the ideal path to walk. Prevention means we can protect the innocence of children and we are doing that every day. Our mentoring program (PAL) has prevention built into it. Through education, presence, and building trusting relationship our positive influence is respected in the community.

· In a community of 200+ children we know 84 of them by name in our first year of existence

· In a community of 120 homes we have established relationships with 21 families through PAL

· In a community of chaos and incessant abuse PAL has become a safe place where children talk openly about home situations and ask for help.

· In a community of “Lost Children” PAL inspires education to those who have never gone to school a day in their life and challenges those who are faithful attenders to rise higher.

· In a community of negativity and “rum talking” PAL has become a positive family environment where generational thinking is being broken off and replaced with truth and possibility.

· Most critically, PAL provides a juncture where Community Health Evangelism can be established for holistic change through family lessons that incorporate spiritual transformation with disease prevention and community development.

Sara’s picture is in our PAL family album and the children know she is gone. One day they will hear about a young girl who never had a choice to be innocent. She will not have a name to them, but I will know her story well.

Has Sara’s death spoken to you? Has her life been one you have wished you could rewrite? You can honor her life now by partnering with us to prevent, rescue and redeem the most vulnerable. Caroline’s Promise has established The Red Light Fund to honor Sara and reclaim hope for those who can be the next Sara. Donated funds will be used to train and equip our partner countries in anti-trafficking strategies and victim recovery.

To make a financial contribution to the Red Light Fund click here.
Please note Red Light Fund in the comment box.

Tommorrow’s post will be a poem of reflection that was shared at Sara’s funeral. It was written following her death by a member of the Guyana Leadership Team.