Voices of little ones fill the air, excitement and chaos all at once; this is our classrooms each day. Such beauty is found in this wonderful chaos. Little hands reach out grabbing, clinging, searching to be noticed, to be loved, to be found by someone who cares. In the beginning and end of every class ten to fifteen minutes is just spend on allowing each child to greet us, which often is being swarmed by every child all at once giggling, laughing, and jumping about all around us. I have only been here a sort time and my love for these beautiful girls is ever increasing! You can’t see them and not love them! They are so beautiful and I literately feel God’s heart for his daughters.
It can be very hard though, each day I am learning to cope with the pain as God allows my heart to enlarge and become vulnerable to these girls. I am trying hard to learn how to keep my heart open and raw, while also keeping my arms open. How do I listen to their stories, horrific stories, and not grow numb in protection of my own heart? How do I allow myself to break over and over again, while not carrying the burden? God keeps reassuring me that He alone is the Savior and I’ll we can do is what he asks, even if it is just to love endlessly and wholeheartedly.
This week we are teaching our girls what valuable means. What that practically looks like here, is telling them that a cost cannot be put on their bodies and speaking daily that they are priceless and cannot be bought or sold. We play different games with them to get our point across and as comical as this game may be to an American teenager, it truly hits home here. One of the games is called, “Auction.” We bring in different items such as sunglasses, a DVD, a t-shirt, a cell phone and we ask them what they would pay for these items. The classroom is filled with shouting, laughing, yelling out random amounts of money “5 bob, 20 bob, 50 bob” until they come to an agreement on what they think the items value is worth. Then Kylee begins to pump up the last item, “Ok, now this item is very valuable. It can cook you anything you want, it can dance and play games, it can do anything you want it too! Are you ready to see it?” All the children are excited, “Yes, Yes!” Finally Kylee grabs my hand and shows me off to the children. The children look around at each other awkwardly but quickly begin to yell out prices, sadly pretty low prices too. Then I put on the sunglasses and begin parading myself around blowing kisses and doing twirls, this gets the girls going and my price goes up. But always by the end of the game I end up being marked with a price tag, sell-able in their eyes. This is when I am able to explain to them that human do not have price tags and that in fact we are all priceless. In another game we play I hold up 1,000 shillings roughly 12 dollars and ask who would want this, as the children all scream for it I destroy the money one step and a time and even spit on it until it looks all gross and unwanted. I ask one last time who still wants this money and as expected they all still want it. "So you are telling me that no matter what happens to this money the value does not decrease?" All the girls say,"Yes," and after this I begin to ask them some serious questions. “Has anyone in here ever been called bad names? Has anyone ever been beat up, or spit on? Has anyone ever been hurt at all by someone else?” Almost all the children’s hands are raised and I ask them, “Does this make your value go down? Does this make you any less special and important?” By this time the message has hit home, and I can see it in their little faces. At the end of class we all stand and sing loudly our “Can’t Be Bought,” song.
I AM NOT FOR SALE
I CANNOT BE BOUGHT
I AM VALUABLE
I AM POWERFUL
MY BODY’S MINE, I’M FREE
I AM ROYALTY
I HAVE DESTINY
I’LL CHANGE HISTORY
WE’RE GOING TO CHANGE THE WORLD!
Watching them do all the actions and get all into it makes me heart so happy! This song literately is being heard and sung all throughout the village!
It breaks my heart to have to stand in front of our 100 or so fourth graders and tell them nobody can sell them, understanding that it’s all they have known and seen. Prostitution is just culture here, another job occupation. I am still learning a lot each day but I do know that around the age of 11 and 12, when their little bodies begin forming, are when girls really start being harassed and begin choosing to sell their bodies for as little as 20 cents just so they can eat. BUT God is good, and things are changing, there is no way they can’t change! I believe this strongly because God keeps telling me that His word does not return void, and when he sends it out, it will produce good fruit! Every day as we teach these precious girls their worth, their value, and how important their lives really are and things are breaking off of them! Generational curses are breaking! Chains are loosening! Blind eyes are seeing and believing! Come on Jesus! His truth sets us free and no weapon formed against these children will prosper!!!! I stand in this; I believe this, and it's God’s promises that keep me alive! His promises keep my heart from grief because we ALREADY have the VICTORY!