Joska. The happiest place on earth.
Kaylie and I went to Joska Boarding School to visit the children that we have come to love so much! They are so filled with happiness. Everyone who has every visited this school holds it in a very special place in their heart.
As Kaylie is a counselor back home, Missions of Hope asked her if she would hold a Self-Esteem seminar for the junior high and high school girls of Joska. She was thrilled to! These girls come from the slums and see the worst of the worst everyday. They are so happy to be able to live at Joska, but the trauma of the slums stays with them.
In planning this talk we decided for both of us to speak on the importance of Self Worth and Emotional Purity. The morning we woke up for our seminar, we were both covered in bug bites! As Kaylie put it, “I look like a 13 year old boy going through puberty!” How funny that in one hour we would be speaking on the importance of Self-Worth! All we could do was laugh at God’s sick sense of humor!
As both of us have had our fair share of trauma in our lives, so we felt it would be best if we opened up about our pasts to allow the girls to feel more comfortable with us. We began with grades 6,7, and 8, and then we spoke to the high school girls. After we shared about ourselves, we asked the girls to write down their experiences to us. We gave them the option to make it anonymous to make them feel like they can really tell us anything.
The response we got was overwhelming. Here are just a few of the notes we received. Please be aware that these notes may be difficult to read and contain sensitive information.
“My name is ________. My mother drinks alcohol. When I asked her to stop she started abusing me. I don’t know what to do. I just want her to stop. My father is not around to protect me. Please pray for my mother.”
“My name is ________. I am 12. I was raped by my neighbor who is a boy. I need prayers to help me forgive him.”
“My friend was raped by her own dad. She is the one who is blamed. Please pray for her.”
“My name is ________. The last day of school I stayed with my aunt. Whenever my uncle came home he raped me everyday.”
“One night a man tried to rape me. He touched me where I am not supposed to be touched. When I ran away from him, he threw stones at me.”
“My name is ________. I saw my brother be killed. I have tried to forgive the man who did this, but I can’t.”
“I was abused by my step-father and I have thought of killing myself. Thank you Kelli and Diana for coming to talk to us.”
Kaylie and I sat and read each heart-breaking message from these sweet girls. Each note had a little girls heart poured into it and It meant so much that they felt comfortable enough to share these stories with us. One by one, we read and felt their pain. We separated the ones we felt needed immediate counseling. Kaylie and I talked privately with these girls. We wanted to talk to all of them. They all need so much more than we were able give.
These young girls have been tormented and tortured their whole lives. They have never been treated like the princesses they are. We asked our friend, Alex, to write a love letter to all the girls telling them how a real man should treat them. The girls loved it so much that they wrote to him in many of the notes they wrote to us. Here is one….
“Dear Alex, Thank you for your beautiful letter. I pray the Lord will bless you and keep you.”
Even after the attack of the bed bugs, I was so thankful to be there for those girls. They were so thankful to have us. Though they have struggled with traumatic events that have happened and will for years to come, they still manage to smile, sing, and dance for all who come to visit them. It encourages me. It makes me know that even in the darkest of situations, they find joy. Which does make this the happiest place on earth!