6.17.2007

Gomer

A different take on the story of Hosea and Gomer. Have you ever stopped to wonder what Gomer's life was like before Hosea? Why she was so hesitant to commit to him? This is a story, "autobiography" I wrote through the eyes of Gomer.

**DISCLAIMER(S): Parts of these stories are taken from the real lives and stories of Nepali women. The names and details have been changed to protect these women.

I am in no way claiming this to be a correct Biblical interpretation but wrote this out of frustration with what I saw as one-sided views of Gomer**

The Honest Mutterings of a Wanderer ~ By Gomer Kumar
My Autobiography

I don’t know why I ever felt compelled to write my story. I am only a poor Dalit. I come from meager beginnings, but I can’t help but feel my story has significance. “Everything finds its meaning from its place in the story” (McLaren) and that is true for me. This is my story and from it I hope will come meaning and significance for others.

It wasn’t always this way. I was a happy little girl growing up in the BEST village east of the Annapurna’s. My family didn’t have much money or privilege but we were happy. My father was a good man who worked hard. He was a Sherpa that would take visiting tourists high into the Annapurna Mountains on treks. My family could not afford to send my younger sister Sarita or I to school so we would help my mother work each day in our rice patties. Sometimes she would send me down into Pokhara to sell our bags of rice to the tourists passing through.

That’s when it happened. I was 8 years old. I was in Pokhara one afternoon selling rice when some Maoists ran a raid. They usually stay away from the tourist towns so I was shocked and didn’t know what to do. Several men with big guns walked up and down the main strip forcing individuals into their truck. One man came up yelling at me. He told me if I wanted to live I would get inside the passing truck.

We were in the truck for what felt like several days. I could not tell where we were going. I had never been very far from the village before and could not read so none of the passing signs afforded me any information. I finally saw something that was a recognizable landmark - the boarder into India. That is when my biggest fears began to become actualities. I now knew I was headed toward Bombay…

I was taken off the truck with around 12 other little girls. We were there, at the tin roofs of the dreaded brothels in India. We were each sold to the garwhali (brothel keeper) for 500 Rs. – a debt I knew I could never pay off. There were large holes dug in the ground and we were told these were our beds.

I experienced daily beatings by the garwhali when I refused to please the different men. Finally, after a month, exhausted from the mental and physical torture I gave up and gave in. Little did I know the many different types of physical and mental torture and humiliation that awaited me. Each evening from about 5pm – 2am I was sent to around 10 – 30 different customers. These men did not honor or respect me. I was nothing but a piece of purchased property to them. I often felt ill but was never given any medicine. Within the first two years I had been forced to have two abortions; the garwhali gave me only two nights off before forcing me to continue working again despite them.

The police ran several raids of the brothels but never found me. You see, the brothels are a great way to make money – both for the garwhali and police force. The brothels get great political protection. So they are warned with a raid is coming. That’s when they hide those of us that are healthy and of use to them. It is only the sick and dying they leave out to be rescued during the raid. And so this went on for what felt like an eternity…

One night very late I managed to escape and just started running. I walked for five days and nights not knowing where I was going or how to find my home. I finally found my way back to my village.

My family took me back, I couldn’t believe it. It had been 43 months since I had seen them. It was with tears that we embraced and I told them of the dreaded tin roofs and my life these past years. I was afraid and knew I could not stay with my family; the Maoists would be looking for me. I went and stayed at the Peace Rehabilitation Center (PRC) for a few weeks. It was a center for girls coming out of sex trafficking. What a wonderful and peaceful place.

Yet I did not feel safe there. I tried to run away several times but was always caught. I cannot trust anyone anymore. In the worst moments back in India I would cry out to the darkness ‘Please, someone save me. Anyone, if there is anyone out there.” To me, humans seemed no more than animals. And yet I tried to go back. I guess I was just afraid that things would be worse for me if they found me having run away than if I went back willingly.

I found out I had contracted the dreaded “Bombay disease” from my time in the brothels. You see, the men in my country believe if you have AIDS and have sex with a virgin the AIDS will go out of you and into that virgin curing you of that disease. I was HIV positive and would most likely have the AIDS virus. There is no cure for this and the people in my country look down upon this. I shall never find companionship. My life shall end short.

It was shortly after this that I met him. Hosea was a man from the local church that came to visit one day. It was then presented to me that Hosea felt the Lord calling him to marry me, and if it was ok they would like to arrange a marriage between the two of us. This I could not believe. I was a girl of lowly circumstance – a Dalit from the hills of Pokhara and he was a Brahman of great and respectable standing. Did he know my past and where I had been? Did he know the burdens I carried? I knew no other way to support myself so I agreed and was then married to Hosea.

Someone later asked him if he knew about my past and the burden I carried. He said yes and that was ok with him because “the old is gone and the new is come.” I could begin life anew again. He was a good man, but marriage was difficult for me.

Having a baby within the first year or two of marriage is very important in my culture. Because of the numerous abortions I had been forced to have while in Bombay the doctors were doubtful I would ever be able to get pregnant again. PRC and Hosea began to pray to their Yahweh and within just a couple months Hosea and I became pregnant – we then gave birth to a son.
I tried to run away again several times. It is difficult for me to be in a relationship with Hosea. He wants me for himself, which I deeply want to, but at time it still makes me feel as though I am a possession. I feel as though I don’t have the freedom to make my own decisions and have my body as my own. But I don’t know what decisions I would even make given the chance. I have no skills, no knowledge – I must lean entirely on Hosea and that is frightening to me.

Hosea and I had two more children. They are beautiful, but I still live in fear that the Maoists will come back for me. Will they hurt my children? Will they one day take my daughter as they took me?

I could not deal with the fear anymore. I ran away again but this time I succeeded. I only knew the direction in which I ran but it was enough – I found myself back at the tin roofs. My situation was just as I had left it. I was treated horribly, but I thought I deserved no better. I know how to do nothing – I cannot support myself – I don’t deserve Hosea because of my past and the burdens I carry – and I never want my own daughter to have to suffer such pain.

Then came the day I will never forget because each moment is etched so finely into my memory. I felt so dirty. I didn’t want to be back there but I was afraid they would come to get me. I was afraid of what they would do to Hosea. They could take everything. They could destroy all we had built for ourselves. They could hurt our children. These men had already taken everything from me I didn’t want them to hurt Hosea.

I looked horrible. My ugly painted face seeking to be attractive. My worn eyes, dark from depression and fear, wet from the tears I had been powerless to stop. I was ashamed for him to see me here. I knew I shouldn’t be here. But I didn’t know where else to be. I had no other skills. I knew no other life. I feared any other life.

He came over and picked me up. I shuttered. Still the touch of any man is uncomfortable to me.

“We can’t leave. I can’t leave. They will beat me. They will beat you. They’ll find me!!!”

I pleaded with him not to do this.

That is when he spoke those unforgettable words – “I have purchased you”

I scarcely believed him.

Why me? I had run from him. He had already given up so much. He was Brahman – I was the untouchable. I had AIDS and was unclean. But he came back for me. He really loved me.

He really really loves me.

Why?

I thought I was protecting Hosea, but in reality I was only hurting him more. I was doing what I saw best in my own eyes, but it just ended up being all wrong.

I know I can never love Hosea the way that he deserves. I know I am not worthy of the love that he offers me despite where I have come from. But I know that I am better off with him than anywhere else. He has my best interest in mind and seeks my greater good. I am thankful for Hosea because he showed me a love I didn’t know existed.

6 comments:

ben said...

julia. wow. good stuff. thanks for that. praying life is rich for you now. jamusi.

James said...

Julia,

That is a powerful story you tell, and one that makes the Hosea/Gomer story come to life. The human sex trafficing is horrible, and many times people do not have any sympathy for the girls who have been forced into prostitution. If something like that happened to either of my girls, I could not bear life.

You have a real gift for writing. Keep it up.

James

wanderingellimac said...

Ben, thanks. Always good to hear from you. You are consistently in my prayers. Thanks for your thoughts on your blog.

James...glad you found me. I did make it easier by posting on your site - but how could I resist pie 'n burger. thanks for your encouraging words. Looking forward to hearing more of what you have to say!

James said...

Julia, did you and Douglas enjoy that Angel Summoner and BMX Hero video?

the kicker is... said...

beautiful, my friend. I picture it all in my minds eye, I do.

wanderingellimac said...

thanks, the kicker is..., and thanks for opening my heart to all of this. i love you!