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Their Stories…

Last Sunday was New Years in Bangladesh. Everyone typically wears red and white so I wore the saree my friends at Tipna gave me. I headed over to the Alingon Home early and tried doing henna on the girls for the first time. My friend Moon did mine the day before. It’s harder than it looks but I really loved doing it. The girls love getting dressed up and since then beg me to wear makeup everyday. I assure them it’s a rare occasion here.

Many of the girls’ mothers or grandmothers came for the day. The girls are always happy to see them of course, but don’t seem too sad when they leave. I’m still discovering more about the girls and their mothers stories. Some of them so tragic they’re hard to believe.

Two sisters in the home, who are 12 and 5 have one of the most dangerous mothers in the home. Every time she comes she tries to convince her 12 year old daughter to leave the home. I found out that day her pimp wants to sell her daughter. Thankfully this smart girl understands what her mother does and doesn’t want to leave the home. She runs away from her mom and tells her to stop but we have to follow them. My claws were about to come out but I chose to still be kind and love her as hard as it was. She was sold around the same age as her daughter and has had 5 children die, and sold one of her babies to a family. She also has 2 young sons living with her at the brothel, a total of 10 children. Because she’s getting older, leading to not working as much, she’s dependent to her pimp who wants her daughter. Her youngest daughter who I’m worried about is very slow and I think was severely abused. So many of these mothers have had children die due to malnutrition and no medical access.

Three sisters in the home came a few years ago extremely malnourished. Their mother had died and also one of their sisters and they were living with their grandmother who was making them beg. Another girl, who I’ve talked about before, was brought by World Vision since she was living in the slums and at high risk to be trafficked like her sister, who was trafficked to Mumbai and rescued. But so sadly I just found out her sister is working as a traveling sex worker like their mother. The physical and sexual abuse the girls have been through is heart breaking, and some unknown still. Some are still at risk with their mothers or “fathers” wanting them back now that they are teenagers. This time is so vital for them to get healthy and pursue a future unlike their mother and raise healthy children of their own one day.

I feel like I’ve hit a wall recently. The language barrier is beyond hard and makes communication so difficult. Sometimes I’m overwhelmed with the poverty and abuse and because I’m a foreigner, so many people ask me to help them. Since I can’t help them all financially and I can’t talk to them very much, I feel helpless sometimes and doubt some things I’m doing here. I try to show love without words the best I can. Community is really lacking for me here and is so important. Thankfully I have my friend Moon who teaches me Bangla who I’ve become close with.

I’ve really been wanting to talk with my Alingon girls on a deeper level but with the language barrier it’s not possible for all of them. One who speaks and understands pretty good english, I got to have a great conversation with the other day. She had a training with World Vision and was telling me about her friends she met there and other people she met she thought were “bad”. I got to ask her why she thought that and while I got to know her better was able to talk to her about getting to know someone and relationships. She even met a boy who she thought was a good guy. I walked away from that conversation saying “thank you God that just happened.”

I’m going to Thailand in a few days for a week! I’m so excited and even more excited my good friend Michelle is meeting me from home and we can stay at my friends apt. I’m ready to get out of Bangladesh for a little bit. When I told the girls some of them cried and are making me pay everyday! I don’t know what will happen when I go to America. I’ve been thinking and praying a lot about what I really want to do so I think getting out for a bit will only be good.

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3 Responses to “Their Stories…”

  1. Kristen Brown says:

    Maggie! I love reading your posts and wish all the best for you while you are in Bangladesh. Your courage and passion for what you’re doing is amazing and such an inspiration! The girls are so blessed to have you in their lives, even if only for a little while. Have fun in Thailand 🙂

  2. Lori says:

    Amazing stories, Maggie. I hope you have a wonderful time in Thailand and also get the clarity for future decisions you make in the future. Love and prayers, Lori

  3. Elsa Saldana says:

    Maggie, Sending you Prayers and good wishes for clarity, health and safe travel. Enjoy your adventure!!!! Lots of love and hugs, Elsa

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