Thursday, October 1, 2009


She awakens with the dawn while her children still sleep to begin her day's labour. If there is enough flour, she will in all likeliness make them injera, a pancake-like bread, for breakfast. If there is not, she will try to scrounge enough beans for one meal that day to feed her family. She hopes there are enough beans until their rations come again in a few days.

And so begins one day in Dabaar, the largest refugee camp in the world located in Kenya. A camp that was built to hold less than 100,000 immigrants has now swelled to 230,000. Most of these immigrants are from war torn Somalia.

Trying to find enough water not only to drink - dehydration is one of the worst problems in the children of the camp - but cooking, bathing and washing clothes is very difficult. There are essentially two types of weather: extremely hot and the rainy season. The rainy season might relieve the oppressive heat, but brings with it the constant threat of flooding. And more mosquitos. And malaria.

In her stick hut - even more primitive than that of Little Pig #2, no joke - she beds down for the night on the ground. She finds it very difficult to sleep; keeping the netting around her and the children can be difficult and the constant buzzing of the mosquitos distracting. The heat is still oppressive. But she is exhausted for one other reason. She is pregnant and due any day with baby number five. Before she falls into her fitful slumber, she prays one more to time to Allah that her papers will arrive soon.

She awakes the next day to start the cycle again. This time she is summoned to the United Nations base. Her papers have arrived. She is to leave in one week. With her four boys. Perhaps she has a husband, perhaps not; rape and sexual immorality is rampant in the camp. So she begins her preparations to leave the camp in one week. She breathes one last desperate prayer to Allah.

Please, please don't let my baby come before I leave.

Her baby does not have the necessary papers to leave the camp and the country.

Two days before she is to leave, she gives birth. She faces an agonizing decision: to leave the camp with her FOUR boys ONLY and leave her baby behind, OR, to stay behind, perhaps forever, and never give any of her children a chance to live without poverty, to get an education, and to be healthy. To just break the wretched cycle.

Two days later, she leaves the camp. With her four boys and WITHOUT her baby.

And her heart is broken.


One month ago I met Mar Lay Hla Ka, Mwee Eh Ka, Soe Soe, and Thart Shay. Those four precious boys got on my bus for the first time with their mother standing guard at the bus stop.

Today, I learned their story from the principal of the school. And I have cried off and on all day. I cry as I write this story. Last year I got to know some wonderful kids with some heartbreaking stories. This year is a whole different situation, and this story is the most heartwrenching one I've heard yet. None of the boys or their mother have had any education; they have never had a clock and do not know how to tell time. The first day the mom didn't know what time the bus came and didn't understand the clock so she stood out at the bus stop at 7:00 a.m.

She now lives in what she would think of as luxury. A three bedroom apartment that has running, ENDLESS water. But she is without her baby.

And I really don't know what to do about any of this. I just know that suddenly, more than ever, my house is too grand, my belly is too full and my bed is too soft. I get to sleep beside my husband and I have two beautiful children. I live across the street from a woman who comes to this country with hope for her boys but scars in her heart.

And I know a Saviour.


Laura said...

Oh, my dear Jesus...and we think we have it bad! And now you know why you have been given that bus run. Introduce them to the one who can heal that broken heart and who knows, maybe one day reunite them.

Anonymous said...

WOW, Darla! My heart breaks reading this poor lady's story. What an agonizing decision she had to make... I don't know if I could do that. I don't even know what to write. Just that I will pray God gives you the words to reach her and her boys. Who knows, God may have brought her all the way here just so He could show Himself to her. My prayers go with you!!!

Cherylg said...

That is soooo sad. God save that woman & her boys!!!! Let them be introduced to true happiness.

cg :)

Nat said...

What a touching post! These types of things are hard for us to digest, we have it so good! We will be praying that God keeps opening doors for you to be a witness to this family. God Bless You!