Walking into the small, cement-block room for our first meeting with dozens of young girls — survivors of rape, human trafficking or abandonment — something washed over us: we looked at one another and knew that, amid the horror of what these girls had been through, there was a presence that was so powerful, maybe spiritual, that it overwhelmed us.
It’s taken me more than a minute to digest the images of suffering and resilience I saw this week at Casa Alianza Nicaragua.
Nothing - not even 20 years of working with street kids - prepared me for the deep-set hollowed eyes, bruises, scars and amputations of the teenagers living in the squalor of Managua’s eastern market.
Our street outreach team in Mexico City recently invited me to join them to find kids living on the streets. I eagerly joined them but was shocked by how these children live - you cannot imagine it. The desolation and squalor are like almost nothing I’ve seen before.