Saturday, November 29, 2008

Things that are real

(Below is something I wrote last year, while I was still working at Mama Makeka House of Hope. I found it tonight, and it struck me, especially with the happenings currently going on in DRC.)

Today at work I had the task of entering information of some of the people Mama Makeka House of Hope works with into our database. The list came from Eastern Congo of names, ages, and addresses of women, all who have been victims of sexual violence, and have come forward looking for trauma healing.

As I started typing the list my mind was somewhere else...far far know, with those simple and meaningless thoughts that carry us away.

They were all just letters and numbers, and then I typed in the age of a woman....the same as my grandmother, and all of a sudden it wasn't just another name or another number.

As I continued, I began praying for each woman, each a child of God, each a victim, each desperate for healing. The area where these women come from, Eastern Congo, is the area where much of Rwanda' s Hutu militias fled after the genocide, as well the hiding place of several other militia groups. For the last decade they have been hiding out in Congo, taking the women, using them as sex slaves.

I've known all this has been going on, and I am blessed to work for an organization that does something about it. I've hurt for these women and I’ve prayed for these women, but today these women became my grandmother, my sister, my mother. Each of those women has a name, but beyond that, the list in front of me was no longer hundreds of names, it was hundreds of people.

As I continued entering the list into the database, I got to a list of names from an area called Ngando. It went something like this (first names only):

Musimbi, age 13

Museme, age 5

Nshombo, age 6

Mushagalusa, age 1

Bitaragazi, age 2

….and the list goes on ….

Every girl from this village, taken from her home, held as a sex slave, all 13 years old or younger. Not even women. Children.

My day continues….and the list goes on…

….hundreds of names…

We have all heard about these things, but because most have never seen them, they are not real. These names, these women, these children; THEY ARE REAL.

As you go about with your day, I ask that you remember these women, these children. Each name is somebody’s mother, somebody’s sister, somebody’s grandmother, somebody’s daughter. These things unseen, I pray that they will become real to you.

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