When I woke up this morning, I put on black and grey to reflect my dark mood. Yesterday was one of the hardest days I’ve ever experienced. I’ll be honest, I was ready to be done. Not really, but mostly.
I certainly didn’t want to go back to Beginning of Life. Yes, they are doing amazing things there. I had already had the opportunity to see women like Alla and Natalia interacting with the girls there. I saw how invested men like Sergei and Benjamin were in working with prevention of trafficking in the schools here in Chisinau. I had met two of the most beautiful little baby girls you’d ever want to snuggle with and their amazing, courageous mothers.
I had seen these positive examples, but they were competing against some really horrific things. It was difficult for me to see past ages of girls that are uncomfortably close to the ages of my own daughters. It was hard to get past stats like “100,000 victims of human trafficking in Moldova” and “30,000 women and girls who have completely disappeared.” I couldn’t stop thinking about the violence that caused the pregnancies that brought about those gorgeous babies.
But I was working with another group of women to make some crochet items and I knew that I needed to be there. I need to continue to see ALL of what is here.
We began working with our group of women. I wanted to make things that these women could make and perhaps sell in the store that they run here. So today we were working on turning hair elastics into something a bit more beautiful. We started working on them, and two of the young women picked up the pattern very quickly and began experimenting with their own patterns. The room was mostly quiet as we worked together on our projects. I wasn’t thinking about trafficking or sex abuse, I was praying my crochet rosary. Prayers for the staff, for the girls, for my family back home, for the team. Chain three, slip stitch, prayer. It was quiet and it was good.
When we were packing up the supplies at the end of the class, one of the women brought her work to me. I thought that she simply wanted to show off what she had been making, but the interpreter Alla told me that Jean wanted me to have what she had made.
I will no doubt bring things back with me from this trip. Little knick-knacks for my kids, a bottle of wine for my husband. I’ll bring back stories, and heartbreak, and muddy boots.
And a red decoration for my hair.