My name is Autumn Buzzell and I live and work in Ghana, West Africa with City of Refuge Ministries. Here, I run our school, Faith Roots International Academy, and get to be a part in rescuing and the healing of children who have been trafficked into the fishing trade, orphaned, abandoned, and those who just need a little extra loving. What an amazing gift this life is!

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Thursday, July 14, 2011

Abigail, our beautiful girl!

Abigail, Abigail, Abigail

In so many ways, the greatest changes that I've seen this year have been in our girl Abigail. And in so many ways, there is still so far to go with her.

Abigail was rescued last June, about a month before my arrival at City of Refuge. She was enslaved, from our knowledge, for about five years. She was trafficked from a fishing village on the oceanside called Lalonya and taken up to Ada Kope where she and DK and their older cousin were all rescued. We know that she was primarily used as a domestic slave, drying fish and selling in the markets. We don't know in what other ways that she could have possibly been used, but we know that from her anger, she didn't live an easy life.

When Abby first arrived, her grasp of the Twi language was practically nothing and because of that, she had a lot of problems getting along with the other girls. Often, she could be found outside singing, lost in her own world, shedding tears for a childhood that had been stolen from her.

As her grasp of language began to grow, she showed a lot of behaviors that a small child would show. Portia would come running and shouting, "Carry Me!", and Abby would do the same. She would lay on your lap if you sat down next to her and she just longed to be loved, cuddled, held, babied. I remember one day specifically when Abby came shouting "Carry Me!", so I picked her up on my hip, just like I would do with the babies (except it's much heavier with an 11 year old girl), and rocked her back and forth, back and forth, back and forth as she laid her head on my shoulder. After a good fifteen-twenty minutes, we went inside and she laid down on my lap and I stroked her head. John and Stacy both had similar experiences with Abby as well and I have to believe that these sweet moments brought such healing to our Abby-girl!

Now, you will see Abby, for the most part, a happy child. She does still deal with anger sometimes and let me tell you...this girl has a powerhouse voice that you can hear from far away when she starts shouting. But, the laughter overpowers the shouting. And her singing now isn't filled with the longing for a childhood, but the joy of claiming back what rightfully belonged to her. She attended school this year for the first time in her life and began to learn to read and write and was very successful in mathematics. She's growing into a beautiful young lady.

I'm blessed to be a part of this beautiful girl's beautiful story.

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