How much do we love her? How many of you remember L? Shot 7 times and left for dead. I can never say it too often… she’s a walking miracle. (see 2017 story here)

Pandemic life has been very hard on her. The tiny squatter village she lives in means there are no sales at her little shop. But she smiles and she prays and shares the little she has with those who are hungry. How far she has come. The bullet that shattered her upper arm? Still there. But today she took the brave step to use that always aching arm to learn to sew.

some of the neighbours L shares her food with

Sewing machines are magic. Sit beside a woman as she learns to sew and she’ll tell you all sorts of painful life stories. It happens every time. Part of our conversation went like this:

Me: “Darling, why are you shaking?”

L: “I’m so nervous. I was too scared to sleep.”

“Why are you scared?” (btw, we know why, but she needs to say it)

“I’m scared because I don’t know how to use the machine.”

“Sweetie, you’re here to learn; you don’t have to know how to use it.”  This went on for a while but then we got to the truth…

“When I was 5 my mother sent me to sell in the market. If I didn’t sell anything she would beat me in the street with all the people watching. She told me I was stupid and useless and not fit to learn anything.” In her fifties and still carrying the lies that were heaped on her as a teeny little girl. It breaks my heart.

scars from surgical repair

“Darling, am I going to shout at you?”

Giggles, “No.”

“Will I ever hit you?”

More giggles, “No.”

“Do we love you?”

“Yes, you do.”

“Yes, we do. No one’s going to hurt you. Today you’re going to learn to sew.”

rod, screws and remaining bullet in right arm

She sat at the machine for 4 hours. Did she manage to sew in a straight line? No. But she will, no matter how long it takes. She’ll get there, eventually.

These are moments I wouldn’t exchange for anything. If weeks or months of practice means undoing some of the hurt of a lifetime, dang, totally worth it.

first day at the machine