From early July, we struggled back-and-forth in a brave attempt to rescue Victims from Lebanon. One woman came to us saying her daughter ‘Teri’ was 11 years in Lebanon that she had two children there and the treatment they received from the Kenyan embassy was appalling. Women were threatened that they could not access services unless they gave sexual favours to officials and they were obliged to pay for any services in $USD which they could not afford. Then there was a massive bombing in the capital, Beirut, this resulted in increased violence, looting and homelessness. Kenyans rioted at the Embassy and this may have moved matters a little. Teri managed to find one room to share with 3 other mothers and children in total, 11 people ‘lived’ in that one room, on a very meagre diet as they took turns to go out looking for work in washing clothes or any casual jobs they could find.
Since July we were in already in pursuit of ‘Terri’s case in which we outlined the situation to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) in Nairobi, we also included a letter from her mother. We were very happy to get an appointment with one of the MFA officials. It was shortly after this that the MFA sent a delegation to Beirut. We also contacted a Comboni missionary in Rome who works at Global level in Counter Human Trafficking. She is in contact with Comboni Sisters in Lebanon and they assisted us by contacting Terri. Through this contact we learned that she had a failed marriage to an Egyptian by whom she had 2 children. According to Islamic law he has absolute custody of the children. Finally through the Comboni Sisters and a Lawyer, he agreed to allow her custody of the children – it was a lengthy legal tussle and she could not have accessed services on her own. They also linked her with a young Lebanese lady philanthropist who paid all the fares back to Nairobi. We met her at the International airport with her two children and took Teri to her mother. It was a very emotional moment when they met – Joy at being back to family in one of the Nairobi city slums. I noted she had suffered severe weight loss and appeared very tense and traumatised, her sleep pattern was very disturbed (lying awake 2 – 4.am, “Thinking”). This is not good for mental health, she shed many tears with me as she spoke of her fears, etc. etc. She readily agreed to counselling and I took her to a Clinical Psychologist – Dr K who is also an MD and Psychiatrist. All this has transpired almost 3 months ago, Teri is now progressing very well in her therapy she said “I no longer spank the children like I used to and I am beginning to enjoy them” This is wonderful news and she is also doing well in a small Business Start-up we gave her (micro-finance). Already she is talking about sending the children to school next year.
I wish you a Happy Christmas and a Blessed New Year 2021.
Love & Prayers.
Sr. Mary O’ Malley, MMM