My day in the Brothel- The Walk through
In case that I forgot that I was in a third world country, the internet went out at the hostel we were staying in, once we arrived in Kolkota. And without an Indian phone number we have been searching ever since.
So a little delayed, but here are parts 4 and 5.
I was gathering my belongings.
I was ready to return home- to my hostel. I felt light headed and drained. John, cocked his head to the side as he watched me,
“Do you still want to walk through the brothel?”
It was now almost six. I had nothing to give. I wasn’t alert. And we were getting close to peak hours when they worked. I thought it best to pass. I mean after all I had visited the streets of another red light area. I had talked and met the girls as they stood on the street corners. I mean, I think it’s the same, right.
But, before I had a chance to respond, John urged me on, “I think you should go.”
He grabbed one of the staffers, who didn’t speak much English. He rattled off a few words to her in Hindi then turned to me.
“She will take you.” And before I knew what I was doing I found myself nodding and obeying as if stuck in a trance.
She grabbed my hand and led me forward. We stopped at the door that led out to the stairs and down to the brothel. She then turned and grasped my other hand as well.
“Pray. You pray. Dangerous.”
My heart skipped a beat. I swallowed hard.
Oh, boy. Dangerous. Deep breath.
Now, I love the fact that I am a feisty one- that I tend to have a little bit of a fighter in me, and that most of the time I have this attitude like, oh no, you are so not messing with me, but in this moment. I had nothing. I felt weak and defensive. I was depleted and it showed.
Lord, you have to walk in front of me because I can’t do anything here. All I can do is bring me, but I am in desperate need of a very big God right now.
I muttered a little prayer and off we went.
“Hold my hand,” she said, as she led the way.
I looked at this little woman. Her grip was firm and she kept me right behind her. I marveled at her, as she held her chin up high , walking with purpose. Alert. I caught a stench that made my stomach ache and begin to churn. Stepping over a very large rodent, than was running by, I quickened my pace to stay close. All eyes were on us.
There were so many people. So many men.
We turned a corner and headed up a dark staircase. It was worse than I could ever have imagined. I couldn’t see anything thing and I had not considered how scary that would feel, to see not see, but I could feel the darkness. I began to tremble within. We reached the top and headed down a dark tiny corridor, the only light coming for doorways that were ahead of us.
“Come. Come. Quickly.” Ughhh…freaking out a little here.
The doorways began to pass one at a time. My eyes saw girl after girl, some laying on their bed others standing around. For a split second, my eyes caught those of a girl from inside a room. Lifeless she stared back, her face was black and blue, her eye swollen and discolored. She didn’t even try to hide it, she just stared. I swallowed hard. Walk… One foot in front of another… My friend talked with the girls and we moved down the hallway. Touching their shoulder, their arm. They knew her. This was her job, to love these girls.
We reached a doorway. She stopped and looked inside. She exchanged words in Hindi with one of the girls while I stood there. I still held her hand. I’m pretty sure I was cutting of circulation, though she didn’t say anything.
“Go. Pray for her.”
She instructed as she nudged me forward. Numb. I was just numb inside.
I walked in.
She told me and pointed to a bench with another girl sitting on it. There were two beds to my right and a small television. There was a pimp, a very small man, who looked like he was all of 15, although he was probably closer to 20, sitting on a stool next to me. He huge smile seemed so out of place. He had the kindest face. I know, weird, right?
He had the sweetest smile. I wasn’t sure what to make of that, but I just reached out my hand and asked his name. He loved this, that I acknowledged him and answered, eagerly with big eyes.
There were another girl by my feet, she was mopping up feces and urine from the floor. I talked a little with them. And said a little prayer although I had no idea what I said. I told the girl sitting next to me that I liked her nails. The other girl asked if she could paint my nails. I slowly smiled and my eyes lite up.
Ahhh… this I know. Just girls. Sitting. Painting their nails.
My face softened and I breathed a little easier now. I felt comfortable in this space.
I nodded. She painted my nails while she told me how she wanted a baby and family. And I just listened. I liked this space.
In a split second, the smell disappeared, the fear dissipated and what was left were broken people, all of us. And I felt at home.
A prostitute on either side, my hand held out as each finger was being covered with a purplish paint. I took a snap shot of this in my mind, not wanting to forget this moment, where we simply just became three girls. Wanting to feel pretty. Wanting to be loved- to be seen.
The time came where it was time for me to leave.
There even more men now in the hallways and we needed to move quickly. We made our way through and back to the drop in shelter. And back into the cab where John was to deliver me home. We talked a little, but I didn’t want to. I didn’t want to talk. I wanted to just replay the movie of my day.
Oh, Lord. Seer these pictures in my mind. Let me never forget how others lives Let me never forget to see the brokenness in others… the brokenness in myself.
Oh, dear sisters, I pray that my experiences gives you eyes to see what you may never have a chance to. Oh, all may not be called to serve these women, but all are called to know they exist and to pray for them.