“IT WAS the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way…” Charles Dickens.
Let me tell you a tale about two girls: L and E.
L is from a family of five children. After her parents divorced, her mother had a tough time raising the family. L tried to help as much as she could and held a job at the local market. When a friend told her about an opportunity to work in a store in Turkey where she would earn $2,000 a month, L accepted. After arriving in Turkey, she was forced into sexual slavery. Not long after, she was trafficked to Russia where the nightmare repeated. L had no way of getting in touch with her family–they heard nothing from her for two years.
One day, L was standing with a group of sex workers in Moscow when a car drove into the women. L was hospitalized for a serious head trauma that resulted in schizophrenia. L ran away from the hospital, was picked up by the Russian police, and put in jail for not having a passport. Eventually, her story came out and she was repatriated back to Moldova where Beginning of Life (BOL) received her.
Olga, a BOL social worker, took me to L’s house to show the conditions that many of the girls grow up in. The windows and doors were broken, the indoors were filthy, and there was no electricity or gas.
L cannot live at BOL because her schizophrenia requires full-time care. However, E is currently living at the BOL shelter with her beautiful baby girl. Last year, E made her peace with God and was baptized. Today, she is stable and on her way to independence thanks to the incredible workers at Beginning of Life. E is still not where she wants to be–but she’s not where she was.
And that’s worth celebrating.