Saturday, March 10, 2007

Seven on their own

Pat Benetar once wrote a song called "Hell is for Children"
I think that would have been appropriate background music for tonights quiet drama.

I've been working in a community called San Martin for six years now. During that time I've come to know well a family of seven children who have known more tragedy and pain in their short lives than most people have to face in a lifetime.

When I first came to know these kids, they lived together with their parents in a shack at the bottom of a hill, in abject poverty. The roof leaked. Flies filled their mud floored two room home. The kids bellies were distended by hunger. They wore shoes much too small for their feet. Their clothes, dirty and threadbare, barely kept the mountain air at bay. We would bring them gifts of clothes and toys, only to find their mother had sold them. Both parents are mentally diseased, and their children suffered endlessly at the hands of a cruel mother and an incompetant father.

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This is Patricia, she is seven in this picture. The bottoms of her feet are so covered in sores she can hardly walk.

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The kids together in front of their parents home.

Fast forward to two years ago. The oldest girl, Carina, was sixteen. The youngest, a boy named Oscar, was only four. Rumor has it, the mother caught the father having sex with one of the girls. No one really knows why for sure why she did it. In a fit of rage, she threw all seven children and her husband out of the house. Later, she repented, and allowed the two boy children and the father back into her home, but the five female children were sent to fend for themselves. With nothing but the clothes on their backs (as their mother had burned all of the childrens clothes and toys after she threw them out) the girls built a small shack for themselves with the help of their uncle. That shack would come at a grave grave price. They girls were living on his land, and had become his personal property. The abuse they escaped at the hands of their parents, was revisted on them by their Uncle.

These children are trapped in their own private hell, in the community of San Martin, Mexico. Future Without Poverty made repairs and improvements to their shack, brought electricity and running water to their home, brought them clothes, shoes and food. We are even bringing these children education, teaching them to read and write so they can get better jobs as they cannot afford to attend school. What we cannot do, is protect them from their own family. These kids are beaten, raped and tormented by their own family, and their is nothing I can do to stop it. Now, the unthinkable has happened.

Lupe, the second oldest daughter, is pregnant by her abuser. Another child will be brought innocently into this brutal life. If there is any mercy, the child will be a boy. She is only sixteen years old. She hides her face when she smiles. She doesn't fully understand where babies come from. She doens't know how this happened to her, or why. She doesn't know how to feed, clothe or protect the child. She's lonely and scared. The rest of the community is talking, dishing out the Christian guilt like shame was something never visited upon them. Lupe has been shunned by her peers.

What can I do in a situation like this? Be her friend, a listening ear, a shoulder to cry on. Bring her vitamins, be certain she sees a doctor. But what of her circumstances? I want nothing more than to take all of these kids far far away from San Martin. Someplace clean and safe, with warm beds and nourishing food and good people to care for them. I doubt these kids believe such a place could exist, and I am beginning to wonder myself. I don't think I've ever felt so helpless.

Hell is for children.
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Like Lupe

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and her sister Nayeli

If you are the praying type, pray for these kids. Pray for Lupe, of San Martin Mexico. God will know which one you mean.

1 comment:

Dori said...

I will definitely keep Lupe and her sister in my prayers... This saddened me beyond belief...