She lives in a little wooden shed that houses her whole life.
A queen sized mattress covered by a worn, tattered and filthy bedsheet that sleeps 3 persons – her dad, stepmom and her.
A small cooking stove, mismatched utensils hanging off the wooden panels of the walls, a saucepan, one small lamp and nothing else much.
She eyed us with huge limpid eyes, hugging a file stuffed full – her precious few possessions from school, and wriggled her toes; they stuck out of her torn and tattered socks.
Her father talked us through her case as we took photos of the home.
Her father is an alcoholic. Her stepmom, also an alcoholic, chased the girl around the surroundings of their home with a knife when she was drunk and cut her deep in the leg and arm. The scars still bear their marks this day.
For her safety, we decided to bring her into Bethlehem House.
She is but all of 8 years old.
And when her parents left her at the church office so that we could bring her to Bethlehem House, she clung to her stepmom and wept, her small skinny frame shaking so violently I thought she would splinter apart.
And I wondered. What could cause a girl such grief to leave her stepmom when the very woman that she clung to was the very same person who inflicted such grevious hurts on her?
She has been in the care of Bethlehem House for 6 days now.
Still very new, still adjusting, and probably still missing home a lot.
Tonight, she came running up to me, tore a huge flower sticker off its backing, and stuck it on my shirt.
And smiled such a wide smile, it made me smile back unreservedly and hugged her.
First published on 16 Feb 2013 by Maggie Yew