“Dear Papa, this is your beloved daughter Faiza. I miss you so very much, yet my baby has come, and I am so very, very happy here in Uganda. You have a beautiful granddaughter.”
Sitting with Faiza is like sitting beside a waterfall. Your eyes are drawn to the bubbles and boils, your ears perk at the spilling torrent, but deep inside there’s a knowing that you grasp little of what lies beneath the calm surface of the deep pool of Faiza.
On the long flight to Uganda, I asked myself many times, “What will it be like?” The last time I saw her, Faiza was a bubbly 12-year-old; now, she is a 13-year-old mother. My mind kept trying to figure out which questions would be enough to let her know she could share anything she wanted, but not so many questions that she felt pressure to share what she was not yet ready or able.
Perhaps, she’d never be ready or able to share some things–like the murky sediment at the bottom of the pool, out of reach from the hurtling cataracts above.
When I finally made my way to Faiza all my worry slipped away as she fell into my arms, nestling her head in the crook of my neck saying, “Thank you, Mama Kimberly, thank you.” Mother. Child. Mother-Child.
“Mama, this is Kaka, Jane.” Kaka is the nickname, or term of endearment in Nuba for firstborn girls. Faiza is also, “Kaka.” Mama Kaka holding Baby Kaka.
Looking at Baby Jane, with her golden-brown skin bearing the glow of her Arabic father, I could not see a product of rape. What I saw were the hands of love with which her 13-year-old mother gently held her. What I heard were the giggles her proud mother oozed as I spoke of their shared beauty. What I felt was awe at the very presence of God abolishing evil with relentless love piercing all our hearts, one innocent child at a time.
If I had known the pain this work would cause me, if I’d had even a glimpse of the evil it would call me to stand against, if I’d ever suspicioned the darkness I’d feel nestled deep within myself, I promise you, I never would have set my hand to the plow. So, this ragamuffin scrabble of a woman is so glad for my ignorance, for what indescribable joy I would have missed. What miracles I would have never even imagined. How idyllic my faith would have been, rather than ruined and resurrected by the fire of suffering.
As Faiza held her baby, she continued to dictate a letter to me for her father. While she gave me permission to share her letter with you, I will not share it all. There is so much sacred, intimate beauty here, for her father only—a blind man who will need the letter read to him and the pictures vividly described for his mind’s eye. Faiza’s Nuban English flows like that of Rumi or some other ancient-Eastern poet, and often her voice would fall so low in gentle tears; I felt almost embarrassed to record her words:
|“I have named Kaka ‘Jane’ because of the great help our God has sent me through one of my mothers here, Mama Jane. Mama Jane cares for me so well.
“Mama Kimberly is sending pictures to you and my brothers Adam and Anwar. Since you are blind, I know they will tell you how beautiful my baby is. She looks just like me, Papa, and she is strong, too.
“I also miss my brothers so much. I love them, and I am praying they remain strong in school at Our Father’s Cleft so they will grow up to be godly men, like you, dear Papa.
“Lastly, Papa, please pray for me that I will grow up to be as good a mother as you are a father to me. I miss you so much and give thanks to God that Ezekiel Ayoub is caring for you.
“Please remember me, Papa. With all my heart, your daughter, Faiza.”
Make Way Partners is such a small organization—and the depravity of this world is so vast—that sometimes I feel we are just a spit in the storm. All it takes to pull me from the ravages of that lie—and remember the power of one faithful act—is a picture of Faiza and Baby Jane.
Because of our Child Sponsorship program, Faiza found a home at Our Father’s Cleft. At this point, Faiza doesn’t feel safe to return to Nuba, where her attacker still roams freely. Once she is strong enough, she will return to school here in Uganda with other children whom we’ve brought to our Safe House for similar reasons. Our loving caregivers will tend Baby Jane while Faiza studies.
While Faiza and her brothers are sponsored, her blind father—who she loves so much—is not. As the “big” sister, she worries about her father every day. To join this beautiful family and support Faiza’s father, please click here.
Because of our General Fund, we had the ability to act quickly and medivac Faiza to excellent medical care and loving arms to nurture her broken heart when the terror of rape assailed Faiza. Please help us to keep this fund fluid for all of our children.
In that light, I find myself quite thankful to be a spit of a woman.
Perhaps, together, we’ll become God’s waterfall.