TITLE: Suffer the children
By Nicole Van Der Merwe
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Zubeida (pronounced Zoo-bay-da) was a beautiful girl with almond shaped eyes, a little button nose and light brown skin. Tight black curls framed her pretty little face and when she smiled everything around her lit up. But today was not going to be a happy day. In fact it would be a day that would haunt her for a long time.
She was standing at the entrance of the kitchen, cradling her 2 month old sister, Samantha. She was only ten years old. Nathan, her little four year old brother was shyly hanging onto his older sister. The police had arrived in a white van, to remove them from the only place they knew as home. Zubeida was wondering where her mom was. She quietly swallowed her tears and suppressed the fear that was welling up inside of her, showing no emotion, so that Nathan would not get upset. She whispered to Nathan in a small voice,” It’s okay.” Nathan held onto Zubee’s (her nickname Zoo-bee) arm tightly, not wanting to be separated from his sister. Baby Sam was unaware of what was about to take place. She was small, thin and dehydrated with scabies all over her body.
A friendly police woman held out her arms towards Zubee and said, “Give me the baby?” Zubee, unsure of what was going to happen to her baby sister, clung even more tightly to Sam. Samantha was now becoming restless in her big sister’s arms, sensing her fear. Zubee’s eyes filled up with tears as she gently sobbed, “Please don’t take her away! I promise I’ll be good. My mom will come home soon. “The police woman, still with her arms outstretched, tenderly looked into the little girls eyes and with a warm gentle voice spoke,” We’re not going to separate you. You are all three going to be taken to a place of safety, where you will stay until we find your mother and your family. Your baby sister will have to be taken to a hospital to be examined and treated for dehydration. Please give her to me now. I promise you, I will take good care of her.” She took the infant from Zubee and smiled,” Everything is going to be alright.” As they bundled the kids into the van, Zubee’s little heart began pounding. Her arms and legs felt numb with weakness. Fear now became raw terror as the van drove off. She saw the place she once called home disappear in the distance. So many questions plagued her little mind.
Rose was the name of Zubee’s mother. She worked as a nurse’s aid at a private hospital and was studying for a career in nursing. She was excellent at her job. At work Rose shone. She always worked night shift so she could be with her kids in the day……………..or so everyone thought.
Often Rose would not come home after her shift. Instead she would meet with her friends at the Shebeen (an illegal drinking establishment) and spend most of the day getting drunk. When she eventually made it home she would fall through the door and collapse on the floor in the lounge reeking of alcohol and vomiting. Zubee would have to clean up after her. Then she would attempt to drag Rose into the bedroom but her mother’s limp heavy body was no match for her little ten year old frame. After multiple attempts of trying to wake her mom and drag her to bed, she just gave up and cradled Roses head in her lap until she finally woke up. With a mighty hangover she would bath and get ready for another shift at the hospital barely noticing that she had three small children to raise. Responsibility and accountability were nowhere in her vocabulary.
All Zubee’s tears have been caught up by her real father in heaven who has not forgotten her. In fact I had the privilege of recording this story as she told it to me. She loves Jesus with all of her heart and He has assured her that none of this was her fault. Once again her joyful smile lights up the room as she dances to a worship song she loves.
Psa 56:8 You know how troubled I am; you have kept a record of my tears. Aren't they listed in your book?
Mat 19:14 Jesus said,"Let the children come to me and do not stop them, because the Kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these."
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