Friday, 18 May 2012


When Marissa walked into the room, the first thing she saw was their eyes. They stared back at her, empty, dreary and devoid of any semblance of life. When Marissa signed up to volunteer, she was sure it would be a walk in the meadow. Show up, sign in, speak to the women, leave. But when she went the first day, she was sure that life as she knew it would change.

walked in with a sense of trepidation and a heart filled with sureness that she would make them feel better. But what could she do, really? Her tears fell thick and fast as they told her their stories. Her heart bled when she felt the pain in every word they uttered. Could someone believe that they were left high and dry in the land of all dreams? That their own husbands lured them under the guise of marriage, a future, a life, only to hoodwink them and leave them in the streets, depleted and deceived?

They brought us here illegally. If we were documented, they couldn't abuse us - if we complained, we would be arrested for being illegal entrants. They told her. Some of us have children, and we were so dependent on our husbands, that we were left with nothing when they threw us out. They said.

My husband slept with me only when I was out of doors, and tell me Come, it is time to have a Baby! He would throw the phone out of connectivity so I could call no one. He would humiliate me, harass me, hurt me. I was thrown out, left with nothing. He once even showed my stained clothes to his friends and called me a dirty woman. Said one.

He served me with divorce papers. So that I could be arrested for being an illegal immigrant. So I could be arrested, so I could be gotten rid of! Said another. Then he denied me of food. I couldn't go to church or even see someone of my age.

Oh they never let us do anything. We were treated so badly, always. She said. Another piped up. I trained in nursing in Nigeria. He brought me here and made me work, while he sat back. I was his return on investment.

Marissa was helpless. Just that afternoon, she saw a disheveled looking girl being thrown out of a car. She ran up to her and spoke to her - another illegal migrant, brought by her husband and ill-treated. Wait a moment here, she said. I'll bring you some food. In the few minutes that she'd gone, the lady had disappeared. A passerby said that a car had taken her. Perhaps her husband, to ill-treat her more.
She wanted to do so much, so much. But what bandages would patch these wounds up?

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