It was noon when I reached the family’s house. There was too much sun. Rasmata and Aguirata were sitting with their mother, Fati, in the small living room because there was no shade outside. Only a small tree that was planted by Aguirata could be seen in the courtyard.
The family lives in an area that lacks services — no water, no electricity and no telephone. The courtyard has no doors; thieves stole them. The family even keeps their firewood in the living room so thieves cannot carry it away.
Because of the lack of services, life is very hard. People are obliged to walk kilometers to queue for hours to buy water. During the dry season, a barrel of water costs between $1 and $2. It often happens that people even fight to get some water.
The mother used to wash clothes to earn money but could not earn enough to feed the family. Then her husband passed away. It was such a shock to Fati that she almost went crazy. Because of her psychological problems, she could not work.
Fati was desperate to care for her children. It was a big relief when the Compassion child development center registered her daughter Rasmata, but it wasn’t enough — the need was still there. Rasmata’s little sister also needed help. A member of the center’s management committee who was aware of this family’s condition pleaded to the leadership team and was able to get Aguirata registered too.
Yet, all the effort was about to fail. The late husband’s brothers came from the village to take Rasmata and Aguirata. The reason: the mother was unstable psychologically and could not take good care of her daughters. But taking them to the village would mean putting an end to the opportunity they had to go to school and have free access to health care.
But God was in control. The child development center team leader met the men and told them about all the benefits the girls would have if they continued attending the center. After several days of negotiations, the men came to understand the wonderful opportunity the children had and decided to let them stay.
For Fati, there has been a great change since her two daughters joined Compassion.
“I am grateful and do not even know how to thank the Compassion project for the huge relief. In the past, it was hard to have even a meal a day. Today, thanks to the project, we are able to eat two to three times a day. Besides, my daughters’ school fees are paid for by the project. I could not believe that someone could help me raise my children freely, without asking anything.”
The center activities have brought so many changes in the lives of Rasmata and Aguirata. According to their mother, they used to be very intractable, but since their registration, they have been kind and obedient, and she believes that all this has been possible thanks to the biblical input.
In fact, when the girls started going to the center, they were Muslim, along with their mom. Whenever they came back from the program activities, they would start singing Christian songs, and would pray before eating or going to bed. Their mother was wondering what was happing to her daughters, but was very happy with the great change in their behavior.
“At that time I could not believe that I myself would be Christian,” Fati said, smiling.
What convinced her to give her life to Jesus was Compassion taking care of her daughters with no ulterior motives. “The woman came to the project office one day with tears and told me that she wanted to give her life to Jesus in whose name the project was bringing up her daughters,” the project team leader said.
Without Compassion this family would have fallen apart, but now Fati and her two little daughters have come to Christ.
Aguirata told us that she would like to become pastor to preach the gospel. As for Rasmata, she would like to become a nurse to treat the sick.