Red Light District
I'll admit it. I was nervous. Heading into the red light district with 5 guys with the intent of buying girls for the night. Buying them and paying them double for their time. Not for their bodies but for their time and a chance to give them love. Not mans love. Gods. Love.
I know I'm writing in fragments. My brain is only thinking in fragments right now because I feel broken after spending 2 hours with these girls.
It was harder to get girls than I thought. At first we were surrounded by them because they thought Muzungus (white people) were coming for their business. When they heard our offer to come with us for dinner and double pay they didn't understand. They had never received an offer like that. Everyone wants something for their money in this district. Some of them thought it was a set up to take pictures and walked away. I have to say only the most desperate came with us. Those who were willing to take the risk.
Five girls and one guy came back to our hotel where we had prearranged a chicken and chips dinner. We shared a little about ourselves and our purpose in asking them to join us.
We weren't there to judge or shame them, just to experience God's love. The same love that had changed our lives when we were without hope.
We listened as a couple shared about their lives. Abuse, abandonment, and poverty were the common themes. I had a hard time keeping control of my emotions. Part of me wanted to leave the room and sob my heart out. Sharing their stories took courage because this was NEVER their dream or first choice. They all felt the shame of being trapped and caught in a cycle they couldn't break on their own.
One girl with downcast eyes very quietly and hesitantly shared how she had lost her family and then suffered abuse at her foster family. To escape she married young but when she got pregnant, he left her. She married again but he was abusive and also left when she was pregnant. Here she was, five months pregnant, trying to put food on the table and pay the rent. Last nights job had paid pennies to abuse her and she had reached the end. She was ready to die.
After hearing more from Mike about the love of God, we asked if they wanted to pray to receive this love and forgiveness. It was unanimous. They all prayed together as Steve led them. When we paired up to pray individually with them the tears started to flow. They said they felt different, changed and each one said they were not going back to the street.
Mike Brawan, our Kenyan friend, has a group of women called Daughters of Destiny. Women who once worked the streets and were rescued just like these girls. They start small businesses and make a new life. They give back from their earnings to help other women caught in the cycle they were set free from. It was some of their money that we used to help these new girls.
We got the names and numbers of these girls to connect them to people who can help after we leave.
Oh, yes. The guy's name was Samuel and he got the same treatment as the girls; dinner, a listening ear, God's love and prayer. He had come with us because he had heard our offer and wondered if it was true. He had come to town several weeks ago looking for work and hadn't found any so far. He left with a smile on his face and hope in his eyes.