Hope for the island of Aruba
Aruba, a small Island of 30 km long and 7 km wide. Surrounded by beautiful white sand and azure sea. Beautiful summer houses in a variety of colors fill the streets in the tourist area. Expensive names flaunt on the facades of the brand shops. Hotels are divided into two areas, high rise and low rise. The entire day you hear tropical music around you and you feel like you are in a paradise of happiness and peace ...
And then... the reality we are working in
We'd like to take you to the south side of the island, to the San Nicolas district. The smell of oil and other chemical agents infiltrates our noses. We see a couple of great flaming pipes of the refinery over the contours of the dilapidated San Nicolas district. We park the car just outside the district and continue our way on foot. If we park our car in the neighborhood, we would need a Choller (addict) to wash and guard our car. Costs: 5 euros. Chances are that the car would get (partially) stolen or that it will be washed with gravel and sand if we don't hire a Choller. Entering the district, we meet many prostitutes who work on the streets and in cars. We also meet addicts who live on the streets or live in one of the dilapidated houses. They are addicted to heroin or cocaine. They wash the cars of customers who visit prostitutes to earn money.
The target group of our project...
We meet many prostitutes who work in San Nicolas. They are almost never addicted, but they do have a big problem. They trusted the wrong person, received wrong information of people who called themselves their friends and were seriously misled. The majority of these women came with the expectation to work in a bar. This expectation is correct, only the women have to work as a prostitute instead of a bar hostess. Without having a job and still having to support their families back home, many women and girls make a rushed decision for a fast buck and get tangled up in lies, unwanted sex and internal injuries.
When a girl arrives on the tropical island of Aruba, she gets a "guard" assigned. He is the person who picks her up at the airport, immediately takes her to her room and then keeps her under observation to see if she is doing what she has to do. Every choice she makes which does not fit into the policy of these people, is severely punished by an increase in rent of the room per night.
Now, you will probably wonder why these women do not protest in the strongest possible terms. Why do they not turn to their government or call their family? First of all, you'll need to know that there is a prevailing sense of shame in their culture. Secondly, they have signed a contract for the work they are doing. The problem is that the contact is only formulated in Dutch and it is not available in Spanish. Their contacts, who have much influence concerning the work of these women, say they want to help and mediate at the signing of the contact, but they intentionally give the girls misinformation.
Once they have arrived in Aruba, they first have to ensure that their debts are being fulfilled. Costs are high and prices are low due to the high competition. Converted, they earn 15-20 euros per customer. It will take a long time before they are out of debt and can earn money themselves. I would like to remind you that the average heroin addict woman in the Netherlands gets between 20 and 30 euros for the same work behind the central station. So you will understand that there are many "customers" needed to earn the ticket costs, accommodation costs, maintenance costs and possibly the cost around the care of the family. So in these 3 months that the women are working in San Nicolas, little can be kept to themselves. Ultimately, there is only one party that earns a lot of money; the pimps.
We can't describe the atmosphere in a neighborhood where 140 young women (most are adolescents) are so often sexually abused. We can only tell you about the impact on a women when people come who offer something instead of taking something from them: love ( no sex), attention, a message of faith and hope, relief and a possibility of deliverance .The gratitude of these young girls is enormous. The tears they wipe of their faces when they talk to the evangelists, and the pain they lay at the foot of the cross in prayer, is moving and life changing.
Our approach and our vision ...
What gives anyone deserved happiness in his or her life? Is it status? Is it money? Is it where you come from? Is there even any difference? Are we better than they are? What do you think, is there still place for these women in the heart of humanity? Or rather: Is there place in the heart of the Lord Jesus? We believe so! We believe there is a place at the table of the Lord Jesus. We believe that He knows their tears and pain and He wants to help them. We believe that we can make a difference together. How?
As a team of evangelists and a translator from Dutch to Spanish, we visit the streets of San Nicolas . We try to get into a conversation with the women and prepare them for our next visit. The first night, we just make acquaintance with them. On the second night (there is often one day in between), we visit them and offer them a rose with contact information and a Bible verse attached. We give this to each woman in person. We make a conversation with them and we often break through walls that the women have built around their hearts. We then talk about the problems they're having. Accordingly, we look at the situation and the possibilities to see what the best form of help is. 1 ) Assist in an earlier return to Colombia. 2 ) Supervise and maintain contact during the period that we are in Aruba. 3) Provide extra medical care by a doctor friend who is very highly regarded in the island. In short, reach them with the gospel first and secondly, provide assistance as targeted as possible.
Every three months a new group of 140 women come to Aruba and so it is important to reach every new group. This why we travel to Aruba for a month four times a year. In this period, we want to train and equip reliable people for the work among these women so the work can continue in the intervening months.
Is there a hopeful future for these young women? We cannot do this work alone. We can use your help, prayers and financial support. Thanks to your support, we can help these girls to entrust their live to just one man: Jesus Christ, Son of God!