When I first met Marsha, I thought she was 26-33 years old. She already had a child and was designated by the House of Hope staff as one of the “women” and not one of the “girls”. However, I noted her 19yr old excitement when she first came to computer class with her mother. “I’ve always wanted to learn computation,” she told me earnestly. I thought she was just being nice. I assumed her excitement was normal, with the other women, all excited to be introduced to this technology and not feel so left behind and left out in everything, maybe even have a chance to get a job with it. However, during the first lesson I noticed that she learned much faster than either the other women or the kids. She would learn the material and then turn around and help her mother. By the second day we were already sitting other women beside her so she could help out when she had learned the material herself. On the third day my jaw dropped as she reviewed both the previous lessons on her own, did the current day’s lesson, and then left her computer to start helping others, all in about 15 minutes. The classes are 1.5hrs long and most of the women need all of that time to do the lesson. One would think that she had already learned all of this, but her inability on the first day to even move the mouse or turn the computer on shows that she, like the rest, has almost no exposure to computation. That third day I pulled her aside and told her not to worry, we were looking for a way to teach her at an accelerated pace.
Prostitution, in so many cases, is generational. The girls learn it from their mothers, and their mothers learned it from the grandmothers, and so it has gone on for generations; no one ever taking the time to break them out of the cycle. My heart occasionally breaks when I think of Marsha, how she has always wanted to learn this skill, and how extraordinarily gifted she is at it, and yet she has spent all of her youth not being a girl, nor a student, not a person per-say, but a pleasure toy. How many other brilliant minds waste away in this manner when they could shine to the glory of God and the good of all men? Well, thanks be to God – no longer for one woman anyway. We’re going to start giving her her own lesson to complete in EXCEL while both she and the women learn WORD. Pray for her, that she can really succeed at this. Math skills may very well be something that holds her back, I’m not sure. If she continues at her current pace, though, then the sky is the limit.