I feel like God led my footsteps to Rethreaded. That may sound silly coming from a young 18 year old Intern (19 in a few months thank you very much!) but it is very true. Over the past month or so that I have been working with Kristin, executive director and founder, I have been amazed at god’s hand in this organization, her life, and slowly but surely, my life again. I had been feeling stuck in a rut for quite a while, but god has opened my eyes to realize that my problems, on a scale of things, are so extremely miniscule to what really goes on outside of my front porch, and has given me a drive to help break the cycle of the sex trade. I’d like to take the time to share a story as a sneak preview to our upcoming event, The Rethreaded Ride. It’s a 10 mile free bike tour around the riverside area to our awesome new warehouse location! Along the way, Guide Leigh Burdett with e2ride will be sharing stories, such as this one, about women who have come out of the sex trade and are now pursuing healthier lives. If you want more information please check out our calendar. The story I’m posting below is a blog entry that Kristin wrote about seeing one of our business partners, SariBari, in Sonagachi for the first time. This story touched my heart because it reminded me of not only god’s fervor in pursuing our own hearts, but his promise to restore them and bring hope when we believe in unwavering faith:
There is so much to write. So much that I feel overwhelmed when I think of writing. So much that I feel so inadequate to get it all down on paper (or computer) so I can remember it and come back to it. So here goes…..
When I would think about India over the past two years it would be the worst of the worst….I close my eyes in worship and would see the young girls lining the streets or holding the women at the train station while she was dying or my friends being raped in the bed besides where I was sitting. And yes…those memories are real and horrible and the reality here but coming back to Kolkata has reminded me of how much good there is also.
Yesterday we had to walk through the red-light area to get to the new sari bari unit. (need to interject here….we dreamed for a safe place in the gatch for years and years. we even tried to start sari bari in the gatch while I was here but it all fell through. God timing right???). We only walked through a small portion of the area but it was enough. We walked by our friend Beauty who I knew for my entire five years here. We walked by the young girls who I thought were 15 at the time but as I greeted them again this time they still looked 15. it was the same young girls that I knew from last time! The same young girls who are under slave labor! The same girls who are forced to work the line from 8:00am to who knows how long at night. The same young girls who are forced to wear miniskirts and bad makeup and are taught to grab men when they walk by them. The ones whose childhoods have been stolen by men’s lust. These are the girls whose faces haunt me. Who I bring to God and cry out “why?” and “How?” and what are you doing for them?
So after seeing them I am walking down the red-light district with tears streaming down my cheeks. Those questions start to rise in my mind again…the anger towards God. The questions and will never be answered.
As we come around the corner from seeing the girls Kyle says, “Look up Kristin. That is sari bari”. And I go up some stairs…..not slime covered, dark stairs that lead me to a friend’s room where she is oppressed and her dignity is stolen but stairs that lead to hope and new life and new beginnings and grace and love and safety.
I walk into sari bari and can again breath. The place is open and beautiful and the ladies are laughing and I see girls who I knew in the red light district sewing!!! I see ladies who I knew from kalighat now in leadership and giving freedom to the ladies in the Sonagatch. I see and feel hope and I feel all the anger and hate and questions melt off of me and all I can do it sit there and cry and be amazed.
I walked from hell to a place of hope in the matter of minutes. Hope exist in the Sonagatchi. HOPE EXIST. it was an impossible dream. Impossible. But through dreams, work, prayer, community, grace, power, mercy…..it exist. And it was so awesome. It is my answer to most of my question. Thank you God.
Click Here to read another awesome story titled Darkest night of the Year!
Lea – Rethreaded Graphic Design Intern