Today we celebrated the fact that Arno had been at the Mission for 5 years and the last 3 years he has been clean from his heroin addiction. If you know that the success rate of rehabilitation for heroin addiction is only 1%...you will understand why we are so elated and thankful. Today Arno is part of our management team and heads up the Victory group for addicts and also counsels at the Mission. Bianca was cute and she bought five cupcakes and put three candles on them to signify his 3 years of sobriety. In the past years Kobus has become Dad to him and I have become his Ma...so precious and I am so proud of him that my heart wants to burst.
A half an hour later our social worker walked into my office and her face and her body language told me that she wasn't the bearer of good news. The shocking thing is that some of our 7,8, and 9 year old boys have discovered s*x and that they are active in experimenting with s*d*my between them. They have been exposed to too much too early in life. At an age that they should be normal little boys that should still be playing with cars, marbles and balls they have found something morally degrading to keep them occupied. My shock and horror grew as the social worker told me that her subsequent calls to the social service departments had no results and that there is no resources out there that will help us to turn this trend around. There is a program for the victims and there is a program aimed at teaching the children to keep safe...but there is no program that can help the perpetrators. So now we have little girls and boys that need to be protected from these little se*ual predators. I can't even begin to describe my feelings of utter despair.
In the late afternoon Wynand walked in with a woman in tow. "Mamma, do you remember Desi?" I looked at the woman and I honestly would have walked pass her in the street without recognizing her. The once soft skinned blond girl that I knew now have the ruddy complexion of an alcoholic and her skin is tough and leathery from the exposure to harsh heat and harsh cold that is experienced by those who live on the streets. She reeked of alcohol but I reached out to her and pulled her into a long tight hug. She burst into sobs and her tears soaked my blouse. Between sobs she told me that she had been raped on the streets twice...and I saw the tell tale cutting marks on her arms. My heart broke.
15 Years ago Desi and her children moved into the Mission. She was a timid, shy little thing and slowly we won her trust and pulled her out of her shell. First we let her work in our clothing bank, a while later she was the leader in the laundry and eventually she became my right hand in the reception office where she was trusted with large amounts of cash. Desi grew up in a home with an alcoholic father and mother, her siblings all became alcoholics in their teens, but Desi never touched alcohol. Then she met and fell in love with a man that was on our rehab program for alcohol. Against our advice she married him and the trouble started. Desi started drinking with him and when she started she could not stop. She is an alcoholic. For the past 7 years she has been living on the street.
I told her to come home. We want to help her. She had every excuse in the book why she cannot come yet. We gave her a solution for each of her excuses. Eventually I realised that she loves drinking more than safety. She loves drinking more than a warm bed and a full stomach. She isn't ready to be helped. So tonight I lay in bed with pictures of Desi outside sleeping on some verandah of a business. I pray for her safety and I pray for God to give her the sense to accept the help we want to give her.
So there you have it...a day in my life. Just one single day.