Saturday, December 8, 2012

Helping Others to be Renewed (Rothem)

The House of Rothem, a diocesan home for girls who are living in unhealthy conditions, was written up recently by the Peace Weekly. Several stories told by the girls living at the home were highlighted. Angela, 18 years old, noticed that her hair was turning white, that she was having no menstrual periods, and that her breasts continued to grow, which she found strange. She never thought what she saw at the movies would happen to her.
The girl, said the journalist on meeting her, looked much younger than her age. Her skin was white and dry. She had been raped and became pregnant, but she  couldn't see any sadness in her appearance. Relating and sharing with those who have gone through the same ordeal, and receiving the help of professional therapists, gave her strength. The new school she was attending made a big difference, she said. 
After the baby was born she did get a chance to hug the baby but shortly after it was taken to an adoption home. Angela is now busy studying and wants to be prepared to some day meet her child again.
Another girl, Sophia, wanted to go to a place that nobody knew about, so she became a Rothemi girl. Her family condition was not good, and so she depended too much on her boyfriend for help. When she said to come, he came, and to go, he went. When he put his hand on her, she did not push him off, and what was undesirable happened. Now her biggest fear was that what happened would be known. However, what was feared happened quickly. The whole school soon knew, which made staying in school impossible. The lies that her boyfriend had spread made her decision to leave everything behind and go to Rothem easy. Meeting other girls who were enduring the same pain gave her new reasons for living.

She was going into third-year middle school and decided to make plans to go to a special high school where cooking would be taught. She saw a future in being a cook at a hotel restaurant.
The name Rothem was taken from the first book of Kings 19:4-8. Elijah the prophet, fearful for his life, runs into the desert, and wishing for death falls asleep under the broom tree. (Rothem  is the name of the broom tree in Hebrew). Awaking he finds  something to eat and drink, and with this refreshment was renewed enabling him to walk 40 days in the desert. 
Rothem has 21 teenage girls. The scars that have been inflicted will not disappear quickly.  Of all the psychological helps given the girls the dinning table is the best, reports the journalist. Sharing a meal, they find it easy to relate with one another, accept and love each other, which returns dignity and a sense of worth to the girls.

The girls of Rothem have put together a play that reenacts what they have experienced. It is made up of all the elements that make up a musical and has been well received. When Angela, who plays a girl  in  the same predicament as her own, says, sobbing, after sending her baby out for adoption, "I ...I have a baby, how I want to see my baby," her words had the audience in tears. By being encouraged at Rothem to express their feelings outwardly, many hurts these girls had been carrying with them have been brought to the surface and healed.


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