Every superhero has a tragic origin story, but Wanda’s is absolutely horrific. Orphaned and sent to live with her aunt and uncle as a teenager, her cousin raped her. When the family learned she was pregnant, they beat her. And after she lost the baby, they kicked her out onto the street. She ended up prostituting for years, until three children and one more pregnancy later she found herself unable to do even that and slowly starving to death. She and her children huddled together at night on one straw mattress in a one room mud shack.
She came to the drop-in center clutching an invitation we had given her months before, when we were Christmas caroling in the brothels. When staff placed plates of food in front of the children, they devoured every morsel, as Wanda whispered that it was the first time they had eaten meat in a year.
I met Wanda when she had integrated into our goal-oriented rehab program and was already eight months pregnant. She glows with a soft, quiet spirit that belies her past. She has a captivating, awed smile. As she studied sewing, she started realizing her potential, and declared that she had found her vocation.
In a week, my new favorite superhero begins working in SutiSana, with her newborn daughter by her side. Whenever I think of the journey she’s been on, I get all weepy. Not just for the tragedy, but also for the rescue. My Jesus found her, and He will not let her go.
By: Cara Contreras