A Life Transformation
It was the summer of 1993. I decided to go live with my friend overseas for three months to work alongside them in an orphanage. I was so excited about this trip! So, before flying over, I asked God to let me meet Him face to face…I wanted a summer that was fun and adventurous. But what God had in store for me was something very different from what I imagined-a summer of injustice.
The very first day I arrived I hopped on a bike with my friend and rode to the orphanage gates to what would be the doorway into a life that I never knew existed.
When I first walked in, the orphanage had raw sewage running through the latrine right next to the patio, and the concrete floors and walls were icy cold. Children were everywhere, crying or doomed to their chairs. Their arms and legs were tied to the chairs so that they wouldn’t move. It was sickening that at a place where life was beginning and bodies were developing, one could find more cheer in a graveyard. These children were as good as dead. Little food, no emotional support and no mental or spiritual development whatsoever.
My friend took me across the path to a cold, dilapidated, ram-shackled room which held the person that, unbeknownst to me, would change my life forever. When we first walked into this dark and cold room, I didn’t even know anyone was in there. All I saw was a tiny bed with no mattress, ropes on the floor and black mass by the wall. As my friend walked over to this dark form, I realized that it was a small girl, hunched over, sitting on a flower pot. She was completely covered with flies and reeked of urine. I was so stunned that I just stood there for a moment, not believing my eyes. My friend picked her up, handed her to me, and said, “welcome to your summer.” .
Ruthie was fifteen years old, had some form of cerebral palsy and simply struggling to survive. Ruthie had been dropped off at a train station several months earlier and from there was brought to the orphanage. Because she couldn’t talk and drooled out of the side of her mouth, the orphanage workers were afraid of her, so they put her in a room all by herself. One person would come in each day and give her about two spoonfuls of rice to eat and quickly leave. At night she was tied to her bed by ropes so that she couldn’t get out, and she therefore had lacerations on both sides of her waist. So my job was to sneak food into Ruthie’s room, feed her healthy food, clean her room, teach her how to walk again and take her around the corner to give her a bath. We didn’t want anyone to know what I was doing because the workers would get in trouble for not doing their jobs, and then we would be removed from orphanage. So I basically was running a covert operation of trying to help her stay alive and give her the dignity that she deserved. I will never forget the dreadful day that I took her around the corner to give her a bath. I was washing her body and noticed that she had her left hand clenched extremely tight. I pried each finger open and as all fingers finally straightened out, a swarm of maggots fell out of her hand.
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