We received this story from one of our partners on the ground in Sudan, Kimberly Smith, in the village of Nyamlel.
I heard the trucks rolling through Nyamlel. Knowing they would be full of former slave women and children, I ran to the market to meet them. By the time I arrived, most of the women had climbed down the sides of the tall trucks and were sitting on the desert floor – watching the beating take place.
My eyes zeroed in on the angry Muslim truck driver who had sold passage to the women escaping slavery. These women had ridden high on open-air trucks sitting on top of large bags of cargo from which they would sometimes topple to their death on the desert floor.
The angry Muslim man was washing the sweat from his face with not some small sense of indignation. During the time it took me to get to the market, he had beaten one of the women he transported. An infant laid on the ground near her. Apparently, her older son, near starvation from the journey and whom she had birthed through the rapes of her “Muslim Master,” had torn into and eaten from one of the many 50-kilo sugar bags on top of which they sat.
I received no answer when I asked, “Where is the boy now?”
My memory latched onto the face of a small boy. I imagined it to be the hungry boy who stole some of the sugar he had sat upon. The boy in my mind had no hands. I never found the literal boy.
I learned the woman’s name was Sarah. She seemed to be in shock and would not talk to me. Sarah’s future did not offer much hope because her husband (who still lived in Nyamlel) had already been informed that her “illegitimate” son had “stolen” some sugar, and she was marked as a sex-slave by the Muslims. Her husband sent word that if he found her in town, he would immediately sell her to the next slave traders who came through. He said that Sarah brought him great shame.
Thanks to your generous donations, our partners in Sudan have an active fund for slave repatriation. For $1,000 we can build a home for women like Sarah and help to re-establish them in a supportive community. In Sarah’s case, we built her home in a separate village so that she is protected from slavery. She is in a small community of other survivors – learning to thrive.