I arrived at the Sanctuary on a July evening. After a wonderful meal with some of my favorite people, we decided to play a game. One of our precious survivors, Tamara volunteered to go and get the game from our art therapy room.
A few minutes later she arrived in our dining room carrying the game and a tiny bird in her hands. She found this sweet little thing in the middle of the road. The bird was wounded and she was concerned.
She said “I think she feels abandoned and alone. I just couldn’t leave her.” The tiny thing was shaking and afraid. We sat trying to assess the situation, coaxing the bird, trying to feed it a few crumbs.
Tamara quickly said “I have a little shoe box in my room. I’d like to make her a nest and keep her safe.” I followed her down to her room and we collected the box. On our way there, we then spotted an empty nest and decided that this could be her temporary residence. We climbed up and retrieved the nest and placed it in the box.
As she lowered her into the box, Tamara said to the little bird, “You are safe. This is your home. You are home now.” At this point, I was choking back the tears. Her words echoed what we had said to her just a few months ago when she arrived at The Sanctuary. She was battered and bruised, shaking and terrified. Just like the tiny, wounded bird.
At breakfast the next morning she shared with me that the little bird passed away during the night. She was sad but her comment showed her beautiful heart, compassion, and empathy. She said, “but at least she was not alone.”
Today Tamara is doing quite well. Her physical bruises and broken bones have healed. She is beautiful. Her heart and mind are healing…that’s going to take some time. We see the incredible potential within.
Like the little bird, when a survivor arrives at the Sanctuary her “wings” are broken. She has been abused physically, mentally and emotionally. Years of trauma have left her confused, wondering if she can trust anyone in the world. She has lost her identity and become someone’s “merchandise.”
I’ve been thinking about this Latin phrase: “Alis volat propriis, meaning, “She flies with her own wings.”
We’ve seen it and know it to be true—survivors of human trafficking can experience true healing and transformation. We have seen survivors who come to The Sanctuary regain their wings, and “come back to life.” These brave warriors go on to raise families, start businesses, and fight for broken and abused souls. She becomes self-sufficient.
One day soon we hope to say of Tamara, “Alis volat propriis. She flies with her own wings.”
Thank you for supporting women and children like Tamara. Let’s see her fly!