The story I am about to tell is a real story and a story close to my heart. In South Africa and all around the world, people hear the horror stories of abuse, torture, rape, torment, and misfortune. Reading about the stories is one way to bring awareness, but when people are involved in making a difference the whole outlook of horrors changes to gratitude and humbleness.
|Natasha & Chris - September 2013|
This is the story of Natasha and Chris, two people from entirely different backgrounds whose lives read like a horror movie. Natasha is almost thirty years old and finally after years of suffering has the hope of freedom.
Natasha was abused at the age of six by her grandfather. Her parents divorced and her life was barely comfortable from a young child. At the age of thirteen, Natasha disappeared, according to her account she was alone in the world with no family and somehow ended up living with Nigerians. Nigerians who were notorious drug lords.
From the age of thirteen, without any formal education and no chance of receiving any, she was given drugs and alcohol and turned into a prostitute. As the years went by, she was then used as a drug mule for the Drug Lords and traveled to China, Brazil, London, and some other countries to deliver drugs and diamonds to contacts overseas. We have heard of stories about these young women taking drugs from one country to another and being detained to face a life imprisonment, but Natasha was never caught. One can only assume it was because of her formal lack of education.
At the age of twenty-two, still a Nigerian call girl, she met Chris, who came from a loving home, had siblings and a decent education. Chris displayed talents with bright prospects for the future; he too became a slave to drugs. Chris worked in the manufacturing industry and paid a weekly wage for his services. Friday was drug and booze day; he would end up in one of the drug dealers dens for the entire weekend, fed with drugs and set free on Sunday. No money, lonely and sorry for his behavior would return home.
From the age of twenty, Chris started using drugs, his parents sent him to rehab time after time, and he would be clean for a few months, and then start the abuse repeatedly. Support groups were joined, to help. Intervention from church leaders was sought, and other family members were asked to assist. This all helped to a degree, for a six month clean slate only to return to the old ways of drugs and alcohol. Nothing helped simply because Chris did not want help. Finally, his family had enough and told him to find his way in life, and turned to tough love. Chris left home.
Eight years ago, Chris and Natasha moved in together and realizing her difficult life she had led, he wanted to help her. It would be a case of the blind leading the blind. Over the years, they moved into back rooms of houses, sharing ablution facilities with mainly black people. The type of rooms was small, dark, with limited lighting, and dirty. Often one house would accommodate up to a hundred people with no kitchen facilities and had to share one bathroom. During the weeks, he would go to work and over weekends drink alcohol. Drugs became second choice while alcohol was primarily first option. It was legal and easy to access.
Their life together was a roller coaster ride of moving from one back room to another, working, and drinking. Natasha was off the street, no longer a prostitute and began to understand there was a life after drugs. The two would try their best to stay away from alcohol and for months stay clean, and try to live an ordinary life.
Natasha found her mother several years ago and had the opportunity of visiting. She met her two brothers and bonded as best as she could. Her mother moved away and for a few years; they did stay in touch by phone, but clearly, there was no love or help for the lost Natasha.
Of Course Chris’ family continued to support the two and at the age of 27 Natasha was given the chance to go to the movies, it was the first time in her life she saw the film on the big screen. She began to enjoy some normality like eating at a restaurant, a visit to the zoo or going to church.
However, the year of abuse took its toll on her health and from the beginning of this year; she was admitted to a government hospital several times. With her deteriorating health and squalor living conditions, drinking alcohol was dangerous. Once again, Natasha lost contact with her mother, and her condition became an emotional one of rejection.
Chris for the entire year remained clean, and it is assumed the stress of the continuous fighting with their neighbors, who clearly did not like Natasha and would make living conditions difficult for her. She was not allowed to use the toilet during the day, and was only allowed to shower in cold water. Their electricity was turned off most of the time, and so the continued abuse caused Natasha to have a mental breakdown. Her behavior changed from rational to lunacy. Whether it was a combination of medical tablets received from, the hospital mixed with alcohol or drugs it is unknown. She would rant and rave, throw her clothes away, mix cat food with their food among other strange occurrences, like cut her hair almost bald. Her neighbors were annoyed with the constant noise. They took a whip, and hit her shouting that it was the only way to get rid of the devil within her. Her legs are severely damaged, cut, and bruised from this beating.
The sudden change in behavior over the past two months caused Chris to return to drugs. A drug addict we know would sell all their belongings to support their habit and two weeks ago, Chris gave his car to a drug lord as surety for a quick fix. The drug lord did not refuse; money is money, and there is no end to the injustices of their structure of supplying drugs.
This last week was a nightmare; the pair was asked to leave their room by the end of the month, and a turning point for Natasha, who finally cried out for real help. It was arranged with caring people to take them to a facility where the two would once again get help.
Thursday night, Chris got his wages, and as he attempted to enter the premises where he lived, three Nigerians with guns told him to come with them. Chris knew they were from the drug lord and did not resist. He was placed in a small dark room, stripped and his money taken. The drug lord told him he wanted all his money. Otherwise, he would kill him. Chris declined to tell the entire story of what happened to him the night he was held hostage, and was given a dose of Heroin before he was set free the next morning. So hooked on heroin and full of drug confidence, Chris said he did not want help and refused all offers for a chance to change.
Natasha was adamant; her body was sore, she could barely walk, but she wanted out, and she wanted help. On Friday, with the assistance of friends, Natasha met a social worker who gave her support and arranged for a new home for her. She had to spend one more night in the hellhole and would begin a new life with new opportunities on Saturday.
Saturday, with her few clothes and belongings packed in black plastic bags, Natasha entered a home for the destitute. At first, she appeared frightened and apprehensive about staying with strangers, but the overpowering love and humbleness soon brought a smile to her sad face.
|Chris & Natasha - Friday June 27|
Her new home is a place for destitute, needy, and underprivileged people. A place that is currently home to almost 1,500 white people that have experienced hardships in the past. With the opportunity to talk to some of the residents, the grateful and humble attitude of these people was astonishing. The energy of love and support flowing among the residents is a blessing.
|Chris & Natasha Friday June 27 - Clearly in need of Help.|
Tomorrow Natasha will be taken to a clinic where doctors will access her physical health and treat her badly bruised body. The residents of the home and social workers will give her support, and it is with gratitude that Natasha finally can have the hope of living a decent life.
Sadly, to say, Chris did not want the offer of help and is now all alone in his back room, living with the threat of a drug lord who wants to kill him. Chris is well aware that he may not ask the police for help, and his choice of not taking help will ultimately be his downfall. It is a known fact that the drug lords are merciless and cruel. Two horrific killings have happened to users who did not pay their drug bill recently.
Author’s note :
I am well aware of the heartache and suffering of parents that have children who are hooked on drugs. For many years, I have been involved with support groups, extending support and receiving support. Chris is my son, and this is the child I know, not the 'devil one' existing today.
|Chris a few years ago.|