Today was a beautiful breezy Sunday in Shantou. After finding out this past week that our new 2nd grade teacher is a fellow believer (um so rad!!!), AND that she goes to church weekly at the church behind my house, I asked if I could join her for service today. Though I only understand about 5% of it, I still went and I still try. ha.
I crossed the street to "Love Church" meeting my new friend and her cheerful face. We climbed the stairs to the 2nd floor of the building where the main sanctuary is located, and sat down in one of the long, yellow, wooden pews. An elderly lady eagerly sat down next to me asking if I spoke Chinese and looking in awe at my thick English Bible. She patted my arms enthusiastically telling me I was beautiful.
A few minutes later, a woman came in and sat a few pews before us. She was holding a very small baby. Several women crowded around her and a hushed conversation and questioning began to ensue. My friend went over to ask what was going on. I was amazed, shocked, and horrified to hear her report:
The baby, a little girl, maybe a few months old, was found on the side of the road with a bag of clothes and, I think, a note scribbled on some scrap paper that the ladies were passing around. The one woman had heard her crying and found her. Apparently, the little baby is sick. She was "thrown away" my friend told me in broken English. The women all gathered around, passing her little body from one pair of brown weathered arms to the next, the baby's little head flailing about, her little black eyes staring up blankly. They rocked and hushed her, trying to feed her from a bottle that was found in the bag. They sifted through the rest of the bag finding a small pile of clothes, some canned milk, and shook their heads. She was so small. Abandoned. "Thrown away."
My heart just broke.
Was it because she was sick? A girl? No money to take her to the doctor? Or no money to feed yet another mouth in family? All probable reasons that happen everyday here. I have students whose siblings have been sold for money. I will never know the answer.
I talked to my friend Gen in Cambodia tonight and after I told her the story she asked dumbfounded, "Now what will happen to her?"
I don't know...
Somewhere in this city tonight is a woman without her baby. Does she cry? Does she care?
It still happens, everyday.