I wrote this soon after arriving here, in very early November. It’s taken me this long to amputate it from my soul and put it out on to the internet.
I haven’t really written anything since arriving in Bangkok. I’ve even really been awol from Twitter and Facebook. Not like me at all. Writing for me comes out of thinking. I usually wake up with three or four blog posts and twenty-five tweets pinging around in my brain. It could be the coffee. I’m usually a very caffeinated person. Not here. Haven’t found a great brand yet. I haven’t had the pinging thoughts here. My thoughts seem to sort of wade through my brain. Never really forming a perfect post. Just sort of slogging around.
Thoughts are heavier here. Thoughts are really heavy after yesterday. Yesterday I visited with Rahab Ministries. Rahab Ministries is an outreach to women and girls who work in the bars as prostitutes. They have a Bible study, English classes and a business making jewelery and crocheted stuffed animals so that girls who want to leave the bar scene can make an income. They don’t make alot. In the bars, the girls can make a whopping $10 a day. At Rahab, they only make minimum wage. (These are the numbers they gave me, not sure what minimum wage is here). After a girl has been out of the bar scene for six months, Rahab invests in retraining, education or trade, so that they can go on to support themselves. Slow thoughts here. A group of us went yesterday. We got to hear the testimonies of two of the women who had left the bar scene.
I’ve met prostitutes before. Their stories are painful and tragic. I’ve met former prostitutes before. Their stories are victorious and powerful. I’ve never met women like these before. These two ladies were moms whose marriages had failed who had no other way to support their kids. If you thought prostitution was dehumanizing before, come to Thailand and experience people being degraded on a whole new level. A guy walking in the red light district will be approached with a catalog of girls to choose from. Or they could pick one in a bar. Girls can be rented for days at a time. They’re encouraged to drink and take drugs so that they can put on a good face and please their customers. When you see bar girls with a Western guy, it looks like they’re having a great time. The better time they seem to be having, the more money they can make. But some of these are moms. It makes me wonder, who’s looking after their kids while they’re away? How can they parent dealing with the hours, the drugs, the shame?
I get to this point in my slow thought process and I’m bogged down in despair. It’s like my thoughts are wading though mud. We met some very young girls, some young moms. One little pregnant girl who was probably the cutest thing I’ve ever seen. How will they live? At Rahab they’ve learned to make stuffed animals. They were something you’d use to decorate a baby’s room, or give to your teenage daughter for Valentine’s Day. I bought Dagny a little puppy dog.
I was struck by the dichotomy of prostitutes making something so innocent.
Each stuffed animal takes one day to make and gives them one day’s wage. For every stuffed animal they sell, they can stay out of the bars for one day. They can live in freedom for 24 hours. They can work in a place that encourages, instead of one that degrades. They can learn about God and how much He loves them. They can see proof of God’s love as His people reach out to help them. They can stay awake during the day and be there for their kids at night. They can choose what to do with their bodies.
A better life
Reading this a few weeks later, I realized that I should include some contact information for Rahab. If you’d like to learn more about this ministry, support them or order Jewellery or some of the stuffed animals, you can contact them here: Rahab Ministries
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