Nicolette Writes

Professional Freelance Writer and Stay-at-Home Mom

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My Article This Month in NATURAL MEDICINE MAGAZINE: Hydrotherapy – What is it? And does it work??


HEALING WATERS – The Power of Hydrotherapy

My mother always says, whenever I feel blue, ‘take a nice, hot bath and you will feel better.’ Although it is not always that simple, a bath, whether hot in winter or cold in summer, does revive and refresh our inner beings!

There is no doubt about it – water has some kind of healing quality that restores balance to our souls. Besides the effect that water can have on our emotional wellbeing, various therapists also believe in the effect that water can have on our physical wellbeing…

NATURAL MEDICINE JOURNAL, JAN 2012

What is Hydrotherapy?
Hydrotherapy (water cure), also sometimes referred to as hydropathy, is the treatment of health-related problems with water – whether using much or no pressure, whether the water is hot or cold, or a combination of both.1 This can involve a vast variety of treatments, including: saunas, steam baths, hot and cold water compresses, foot baths, body wraps, mud packs, water jet spas and even a good old scrub at a Turkish bath!

Hydrotherapy is, however, far more than just a divine treat for a tired body. Professional hydrotherapists use hydrotherapy in treating serious conditions such as bronchitis, fibromyalgia, muscular weakness, digestive problems and more.

The Origins of Hydrotherapy
The use of hydrotherapy dates back to as early as 2400 BC.2 Hydro and hydrothermal therapy (using various temperatures of water) have been used by ancient cultures such as Rome, Greece, Egypt, China and Japan. Hippocrates (460 – 375 BC), the father of medicine, who had excellent understanding of the physiological properties of water, believed in the use of water, both hot and cold, for the treatment of fever, ulcers, haemorrhage and other conditions. Water therapy is certainly not something new.

After the use of water therapy by ancient cultures, the Middle Ages were marked by relative quietness surrounding this method of healing.3 In the 1800s, however, its use was re-popularised through research done by Vincent Priessnitz (Austria) and a Bavarian monk, Father Sebastian Kneipp. Today more and more people are turning to hydrotherapy as a natural and non-toxic way of treating illness.

Photo taken from my article in Natural Medicine, Jan 2012

How Does It Work?
For someone who calls alternative medicine ‘airy-fairy’, it will probably be hard to believe that water can heal an ailment. Well, here is how it works – and it makes a lot of sense (and if the father physician, Hippocrates, believed it, you too should consider its value!):

By using hot and cold water applications, or using water as a way of massaging the body or a specific area of the body, the circulation of blood and lymphatic fluid is regulated and improved.4 By enhancing the blood and lymphatic circulation through the major organs of the body, we greatly increase the oxygen and nutrient delivery to the body tissues and remove the metabolic wastes and environmental and drug toxins that may have accumulated in the body – just imagine how good this can be for a sports injury or inflammation! Cold water discourages inflammation by means of vasoconstriction (constricting blood vessels), and by reducing the inflammatory agents by making the blood vessels less permeable, while hot water can help relax and soothe painful (or over-tense) muscles.5 A hydrotherapist will be able to guide you in the direct use of water for your specific injury or need.

Hydrotherapy techniques can also be used to ‘fire up’ the immune system and organs (the nerves carry impulses felt on the skin deeper into the body), stimulating the immune system for fighting acute illnesses such as colds, bronchitis and other serious infections.

How Can Hydrotherapy Help You?
The root behind many health problems, such as high blood pressure, headaches, digestive complaints, insomnia, depression and a weak immune system, is often stress. Hydrotherapy has been very successful in treating stress.6 Reducing stress through hydrotherapy (whether it’s a good mud bath or a swim in the luke-warm waters of Pammukale, http://www.pamukkale.net/) might just take care of those persistent headaches or tummy aches you have been experiencing!

Picture taken from my article in Natural Medicine, Jan 2012

Many hydrotherapists also believe that hydrotherapy can help with muscular endurance in the elderly, pulmonary rehabilitation in patients with asthma, sports injuries, fibromyalgia, spasticity in brain injury patients and rehabilitation after ligament surgery. If you are interested in doing some research on the topic, consider Andrew Cole’s Comprehensive Aquatic Therapy (2004) and James Wilon’s The Water-Cure: Stomach Complaints & Drug Diseases, Their Causes, Consequences, and Cure by Water (1843).

There is also a treatment known as colon hydrotherapy for people who suffer with various bowel conditions: (for more information on this natural treatment, see http://www.colonic-association.org/what-is-colon-hydrotherapy). You might also be familiar with the use of water therapy in labour and birth and in rehabilitating dogs.

Do you want a radiant complexion? Hydrotherapy to the rescue! Playing with the water temperature, hydrotherapists can use water to improve the efficiency of your perspiration glands. This will release toxins from your body, leaving you with a healthy, glowing complexion! The pressure from millions of bubbles on your skin can also increase oxygen flow, which reduces fluid retention and helps with cellulite… hmmm… sounds like a great plan!

If you are uncertain whether hydrotherapy can work for you, speak to a hydrotherapist near you (http://www.cylex.co.za/hydrotherapy.html) and ask how water therapy can improve your quality of life.

Harmless Healing
Considering that hydrotherapy excludes the dangerous toxins often involved in using conventional medicines, it is worth a try. Writer Mark Twain believed that the spring water at Aix-les-Bains (France) soothed his rheumatism. He described his experience as follows: “I began to take the baths and found them most enjoyable. So enjoyable that if I hadn’t had a disease I would have borrowed one just to have a pretext for going on.”7

Take Caution When…
Some people do need to take care, however, in considering hydrotherapy. If you are someone with impaired temperature sensation, you can run the risk of scalding or frostbite at extreme temperatures (so that is if you are like me who turns tomato red at the first touch of sunlight or a curious shade of purple when you cycle in winter).

If you have diabetes, avoid hot applications to the feet or legs and avoid body-heating treatments such as body wraps. If you have been diagnosed with Reynaud’s disease, avoid cold applications. Hot immersion baths and long, hot saunas are also not recommended for those with multiple sclerosis, women who are pregnant or anyone with high or low blood pressure or heart disease.

Long, hot treatments might also be too exhausting for elderly people and children. Avoid cold footbaths if you suffer from bladder or rectal irritation, sciatica, pelvic inflammation or rheumatism. In general, it is always better to consult a specialist to find out whether hydrotherapy will be good for you.

Water, Healing Water!
There is a wonderful, complex world of healing in hydrotherapy. Explore the restorative powers of water… become purified, replenished, revived and whole. “Water, cold, so cold! You cup your hands and gulp from them the dailiness of life!” (– Randall Jarrell)

Sources:

1 What Is Hydrotherapy? [Internet]. No date [cited 2011 Oct 19]. Available from: URL: http://www.hydrotherapy.com/

2 Martin CW & Noertjojo K. Hydrotherapy. Review on the effectiveness of its application in physiotherapy and occupational therapy. [Internet]. 2004 May [cited 2011 Oct 21]. Available from: URL: http://www.worksafebc.com/health_care_providers/Assets/PDF/hydrotherapy_application_physiotherapy.pdf

3 Hydrotherapy: Historical Perspective. [Internet]. No date [cited 2011 Oct 22]. Available from: URL: http://www.holisticonline.com/hydrotherapy.htm

4 Southwest Naturopathic Medical Center. Hydrotherapy. [Internet] No date [cited 2011 Oct 19]. Available from: URL: http://www.scnm.edu/hydrotherapy.html

5 Alternative Medicine: Hydrotherapy. [Internet] No date [cited 2011 Oct 21]. Available from: URL: http://www.online-ambulance.com/altermed/grp/Hydrotherapy.htm

6 The Effect of Ultrasonic Bubbles. [Internet]. No date [cited 2011 Oct 10]. Available from: URL: http://www.hapaspa.com/html/spa6.html

7 Time Magazine. Medicine: Gurgle, Gargle, Guggle. [Internet]. No date [2011 Oct 22]. Available from: URL: http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,825126,00.html

Taylor & Francis Online :: Grace and The Townships Housewife: Excavating black South African women’s magazines from the 1960s1 – Agenda – Volume 25, Issue 4


Taylor & Francis Online :: Grace and The Townships Housewife: Excavating black South African women's magazines from the 1960s1 – Agenda – Volume 25, Issue 4.

The History of… THE COOKIE!


Little Cakes
By Nicolette Ferreira

Always place for one more Cookie!!

A cookie (most commonly known in English as a biscuit) is something romantic. It is a gift left for Santa under the Christmas tree in children’s stories. It is a treat enjoyed with a healthy glass of milk in American movies. It is… delectable. Naughty. Divine. Comforting. Crunchy. Get a cup of Chai, a cookie or two, as we travel back in history to the origin of this pleasurable satisfaction!

The earliest cookie-style cakes are thought to date back to 7th century Persia (now Iran), one of the first countries to cultivate sugar. Early contact with these sources of sugar cane introduced it in the Mediterranean. The word ‘cookie’ arrived in the English language in North America through the Dutch who used the name ‘koekje’ (meaning little cake), for this delectable treat.

Cookies are called ‘biscuits’ in England and Australia, in Spain they are ‘galletas’, Germans call them ‘keks’ (or ‘Plätzchen’ when they are Christmas cookies), and in Italy they are usually called, among other names, ‘amaretti’ and ‘biscotti’. In our own country, ‘biscuit’ is usually perceived as the correct version, but due to the proximity of the Afrikaans word ‘koekie’ to the English ‘cookie’, we all get confused! So you say biscuit, I say cookie!

‘Biscuit’ comes from the Latin word ‘bis coctum’, which means, “twice baked.” According to culinary historians, the first historic record of cookies was their use as test cakes. A small amount of cake batter was baked to test the oven temperature. The first cookies were thus created by accident! Hmmm… it must have been divine intervention!

Cookies were a winning recipe from the start – with international traveling increasing at the time, cookies were ideal for taking along on lengthy excursions, as they were not likely to go off. One of the most popular early cookies, which traveled especially well and became known on every continent by similar names, was the jumble, a relatively hard cookie made largely from nuts, sweetener, and water.

Seeing that we are traveling back in history, I dusted off an ancient copy of the June 1896 copy of ‘The Girl’s Own Paper”, published in London from 1880. I found this recipe and delightful description of Vanilla Crescents:

Ingredients: Eight ounces of best flour, six ounces of fresh butter, three ounces of peeled almonds chopped very finely indeed, and two yolks of egg.
Mix all this up with a knife on your pastry board, and then roll it out with a rolling pin. Cut the paste thus formed into small pieces and form them into little crescents about two or three inches long and as thick as your thumb – if you have a small hand. Bake in a very moderate oven, and remember that they must not brown. Cover with finest vanilla sugar powdered thickly over them. These biscuits, if properly made, should be very light and extremely brittle. They keep good and fresh if placed in an air-tight tin.

Best flour. Fresh butter. Finest vanilla. It already sounds good to me! Another very thrilling cookie experience is of course the fortune cookie. It’s origin, however, remains a mystery. There are various myths on how this delightful cookie originated:

One story is that a Chinese immigrant in Los Angeles, David Jung, founder of the Hong Kong Noodle Company, invented the fortune cookie in 1918. Apparently he was concerned with all the poor he saw in the streets around his shop, so he created a cookie with an inspirational verse to give to the poor for free.

Another story is that a Japanese immigrant, named Makoto Hagiwara, invented the fortune cookie in San Francisco in the early 1900s. Hagiwara was the designer of the famous Japanese Tea Garden in Golden Gate Park, San Francisco. An anti-Japanese mayor fired Makoto, and when he was later reinstated he created cookies with thank you notes inside for those who supported him through the difficult time.

There is also a story that states that when the Mongols occupied China in the 13th and 14th century, Chu Yuan Chang, a patriotic revolutionary of the time, made plans for an uprising against the Mongols. In order to instruct all the Chinese of the date of the uprising, messages were hidden in ‘Moon Cakes’. A tradition of giving cakes with messages was born.

We may never know the real story of the Fortune Cookie, but I do no the destiny of this cookie in my hand! Divine. Crunchy. Sweet. Finished!

My 'most unfortunate-looking' batch of cookies...

Sources:

http://www.kitchenproject.com/history/cookies.htm

http://whatscookingamerica.net/History/CookieHistory.htm

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cookie

DCMA – Deaf Christian Ministry Africa (Published in TODAY Magazine)


SIGNS OF HOPE

Today journalist Nicolette Ferreira visits Deaf Christian Ministry Africa, a training facility for Deaf ministers who long to be God’s signing hands in this world.

Published: Today Magazine

“We can do anything but hear, so treat us as normal beings”. This outcry led to the establishment of the National Institute for the Deaf (NID) in South Africa. Founded in Worcester in 1881, NID is a registered and accredited Non-Profit-Organisation and its vision is to develop the full potential of all Deaf and hard-of-hearing people. There are approximately 412 421 Deaf people (they prefer being referred to as Deaf with an uppercase ‘D’) and approximately 1 237 264 extremely hard-of-hearing people in South Africa (hereafter the latter is also included in my references to the ‘Deaf’).

Christ for the Deaf by the Deaf

One of the very unique courses at NID is Deaf Christian Ministry Africa (DCMA), established in 2006. Its vision is Jesus Christ for the Deaf by the Deaf, with a specific focus on Africa. The most valuable way to reach the Deaf with Christ’s message is to train the Deaf themselves as pastors. And how will the Deaf hear about the Creator if it is not ‘spoken’ to them in their own language and culture?

DCMA trains students in a deaf-friendly way (through Sign Language, of which there is, do note, not just one standardised version!) to plant churches and to counsel and minister to Deaf communities in Sign Language, all within the structures of the different church denominations. The syllabus at DCMA consists of material from Veritas College International and the course is presented over four years. These students are eventually placed, as ordained ministers or pastors, at organisations and churches who are willing to be involved in the world of the Deaf. I had the privilege of meeting the ‘hearing head’ of DCMA, Reverend Jan Oberholzer (head.dcma@deafcare.co.za), as well as the Deaf dominees in training!

Student Anthony Salie opened our interview with a prayer in Sign Language. This reminded me of one of the earliest references to this language in the Bible: “Then they made signs to his father, to find out what he would like to name the child” (Luke 1:62). Unlike the case of John’s naming by his father, Zechariah, we definitely had no time to use “writing tablets” and the ever calm and kind Reverend Jan was there to translate!

Signs for Africa

Over a casual ‘conversation’ (which consisted of me talking too fast, gesticulating nervously, and naively announcing that I just want to switch on the voice recorder – silly, silly me), the ministers-in-training before me shared their dreams for DCMA: They have recently completed an extensive missionary tour to the Northern and Eastern Cape, Freestate and Kwazulu-Natal and would like to expand such outreaches to other African countries. Colette Gouws wants to develop material for persons who are both deaf and blind, so that they too can grow in a relationship with Christ.

Amazing! Have you ever thought about how Jesus’ story is told to the deaf and blind? Another student, Elsabé Döman, has already developed material to help deaf children and their parents (contact Elsabé at elsabe@deafcare.co.za for information on a charming DVD entitled “Bybelstories vir Dowe Kinders”). Student Rensie Aggenbach has a heart for music for the Deaf, an interesting concept which I cannot yet fully grasp: He has printed a music book with deaf-friendly words!

The blessing of Deaf-friendly Christian material only really struck me on my way home after the interview while I was tapping my fingers on the steering wheel to the beat of Michael W. Smith. As a hearing person I have many opportunities for growth in my walk with Christ: I can listen to a Beth Moore DVD, listen to Tree63 or attend a sermon by Bruce Marciano. At the recent Angus Buchan’s Mighty Men Conference there were 300 Deaf people (including three of the students at DCMA). Are there enough such opportunities for the Deaf in South Africa?

NID Serving God's Deaf Children

Hennie Burger explains that, although conferences with translators for the Deaf are noble ideas, in reality it is very hard for them to follow the impassioned, spirit-filled and consequently fast-talking speaker. Translation is also tricky: our ‘hearing language’ is completely different to the language of the Deaf (which Phumie Jemane assures me is not Bobbejanetaal!). The Deaf see in pictures and for them our language is very abstract: with translation something gets lost. The students at DCMA ask that people like Angus will go to them! “We want to be a part of what is going on in the hearing world.” As we plan Outreaches in our own churches, may we nOt forget about the salvation and spiritual growth of thE Deaf.

Some questions answered

Dear Today reader, I wish I could share everything I learned from my new Deaf friends in Christ with you over a piece of chocolate cake! Here are just a few questions I asked:

Q: Is it true that your other senses become strengthened when one is taken away? What is your experience of music?

A: Yes! We cannot hear someone enteRing a room, but we can smell that person (hmmm, I wonder what they smelled when I came in… it must have been the chocolate log I had for breakfast!) Concerning music: we can feel the vibrations, but cannot form a concept of sound – no hip-hop, no blues or classical music (and no snoring or chatting after lights out!)

Q: What would you like to hear?

A: Soothing sounds like music and birds. Phumie confidently stated: “Nothing! There is nothing I would like to hear, I hear God’s voice and that is all I need.” Awesome!

Q: What stupid things do hearing people do? (Besides saying goodbye in your ear like I did to Elsabé before I left!)

A: They call us on our cellphones – especially the banks. Of course we can email and sms, but what must we hear when we pick up the phone? We also often stand in queues for a very long time, as we cannot hear our names being called out.

Q: How can people be more ‘Deaf-conscious’?

A: When struggling to speak to a Deaf or hard-of-hearing person, please don’t say ‘never mind’! Do take the time to try and communicate with us – we are not stupid! Use your hands to explain, talk slowly and calmly, but don’t form your mouth in a funny way – talk normally (I’m pretty sure I didn’t do this!). Also remember that just because someone is Deaf, it does not mean he or she cannot speak (although it might be in a different way to what we are used to) – deaf and numb are two seperate things (unlike vinkel en koljander!)

I end this article with a prayer that I hope you will all pray with me: God, may there be, in every church on the face of Africa, in my own church, at least one person with a heart for the Deaf and hard-of-hearing. And may we, as DCMA student Jaco van Wyk so beautifully put it, build unyielding bridges between the hearing and the Deaf.

NID Ministry

STOCK TAKE:
How can we get involved?
1) Do you have contacts in Africa? Help DCMA to get connected so that they can spread the message of our Saviour to those who cannot hear.
2) Invite the Deaf to your church services, build relationships and open your doors!
3) Go to http://www.deafnet.co.za for more information and find out how you can contribute financially.

Vision Magazine Cover Story


Check out Vision Magazine this month (November) – I wrote the cover story!

http://www.magazines.co.za/issue/201111011.html

Nicolette*

DIVORCE – CAN YOUR CHILD SURVIVE?


DIVORCE – CAN YOUR CHILD SURVIVE?

by Nicolette Ferreira

Natural Medicine Issue 55 Dec 2009/ Jan 2010

Sometimes the Jerichos in our lives crumble over night. In other instances, it is a slow process, where one brick is removed at a time to eventually dismantle a stronghold. Similarly, marriages often end in divorce, and crisis and change overwhelm not only the parents’, but also the children’s lives. Walk this journey with me as I gently and respectfully explore one of the most influential changes that children often face – divorce.

According to statistics, one out of every two marriages end in divorce. The results of research done on the effects of these divorces on children will make any parent cringe. Still, I would like to highlight just a few of these issues, as the magnanimity of this topic must be imprinted in our minds. This discussion is by no means an attempt to condemn any parent, but rather an aid in helping us to look up from our demanding lives when a child we love is sending out SOS signals.

The Effects

Steven Lazarus emphasises various effects of divorce on children, which I will briefly refer to here. The first effect I would like to underline with a bright green highlighter involves relational problems. Children from divorced families are significantly more involved in anti-social behaviour than other children. These ‘divorced children’ have often been found to have problems with their friends, as well as with authority figures. Such relational problems often stem from witnessing parental conflict, which presents an inappropriate model for kids, who are still learning how to deal with their own relationships.
Secondly, Lazarus points out that children from divorced families fare significantly worse than children from married families in their academic work. A weakened self-concept is often another unfortunate consequence that stems from the tension involved when one parent leaves. The negative effects of divorce on children have been proven to be worse when maternal and paternal warmth is low (with higher levels of anger and tension), and when mothers struggled with depression.

Interestingly, boys tend to have more externalizing behaviour problems compared to girls: this could include running away from home and suspensions from school (we are here not talking about cute impudent little rascals to the likes of Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn!). On the other hand, girls tend more towards depression and anxiety.

Cleaning the Wounds

Once you are aware that a child is struggling under the load of a divorce, there are ways in which you can provide help. The following factors have been proven to bring back those peanut butter and jam moments!
Active and continued involvement by both parents in the children’s lives is essential. It is thus important that a positive relationship with both parents, or at least with the primary caregiver, is fostered and maintained (see Bowlby’s Attachment Theory) . This means no ‘caster oiling’ (my term for bad-mouthing!) of one parent of the other. The more you fight, the more difficult it is for your children to adjust to the divorce. Encourage them to visit the non-custodial parent. If this is a tricky and sticky endeavour, interventions that enable parents to settle disputes are advisable: this could involve therapy for parents, mediation and collaboration between attorneys, mediators and therapists.

Therapy for children also serves as an anti-bacterial band aid! Children are often confused by the divorce: because they were not in the marriage, and often did not experience it as destructive, they can not understand the reason for the divorce. A therapist or counsellor can help a child to get some distance from the puzzling situation and see the picture as a whole. Do keep in mind that some psychological problems might only develop later in their lives, as children often do not have the emotional capacity to deal with such issues if parents divorce when they are still very young (see “The Sleeper Effect”). Do tell your children repeatedly that the divorce is not their fault.

Parents can add some more dettol and stitches by explaining to children what the divorce will mean for them in practical terms: when will they see the non-custodian parent, how often and for how long, what will happen at birthdays and school functions. Avoid the temptation of asking the children to carry messages or to tell you about your ex-spouse. Economic stability and routine during this time have also been proven to be helpful. Lack of stability, routine and predictability can significantly increase the negative effects of divorce.

Go Green

Then, a last tip from me while I am playing helping Hilda: go green. No, I have not had too many cappuccinos (I am in fact having some peppermint tea). Kids who participate in extracurricular activities, build life skills of cooperation, learn self worth and obtain healthy minds and healthy bodies. Get out the picnic basket and head for the great outdoors! And if your budget allows for it, perhaps go for a drive to the SPCA and pick up little homeless Rover or Spotty – this will keep your children’s minds busy in a constructive and positive manner!

Something you probably wouldn’t have thought of is some Elastoplast for YOU! Keep yourself healthy. For many adults, separation and divorce is one of the most stressful experiences they will ever go through. Finding ways to manage your own stress is essential for you and your entire family. As my favourite South African Airways allegory for life goes: first put the mask over your own mouth before you help the person next to you. You might just faint before you get to your loved one. In line with this, do not allow your children to become your best friends or confidants – do consider seeing a counselor or therapist, or a friend who is both, but with some tea and cake!

A Message of Hope

I would like to conclude with a message of hope. Similarly to the bottle of Domestos in their advertisement, the one with the little one-eyed blue germ who comically and confidently sings: “I’m gonna give them diarrhoea!”, I want to blast that little blue monster of despair right out of this place! Studies on this topic, children through divorce, have indeed shown that one year after the divorce, many of the children’s problems diminish and by the end of the second year, 75%-80% of the children appeared to be functioning close to normal (see Lazarus).

I found this beautifully positive testimony (another germ-blasting moment!) on the internet: One parent, who successfully navigated the vicissitudes of divorce with her kids, likens the process to traveling internationally with children. You don’t know what to expect, but you hope that your children will develop a willingness to be flexible, adapt to different ‘cultures’, and learn and grow throughout the challenges, rather than shrink from them. Rather than approach the process with fear and trepidation, think about the lessons that can be gained and expect that, with your support, your kids will flourish. Thus, the quality of your lives does not have to be overshadowed by divorce. It will affect you, but to what extend is up to you!

Sources:

Botha, A., Van de Berg, H.S. & Venter, C.A.V. “The Relationship between family-of-origin and marital satisfaction”, Health SA Gesondheid 2009; 14.1.
Lazarus, S. “The Effects of Divorce on Children. How Can We Help?” Familyresource.com. 21 Oct. 2009.
Meyerowitz, J. “Divorce Counseling – Helping Children Cope with Divorce.” FAMSA. 18 Oct. 2009.
Eagen, C.E. “Attachment and Divorce: Family Consequences.” Personality Papers. 19 Oct. 2009.
Clandos, R., Kemp, G. and Segal, J. “Children and Divorce: Helping your Kids Cope with the Effects of Separation and Divorce.” Helpguide.org. 18 Oct. 2009. http://www.helpguide.org/mental/children_divorce.htm
Eleoff, S. “An Exploration of the Ramifications of Divorce on Children and Adolescents.” The Child Advocate. 19 Oct. 2009.

SEX SALE


SEX SALE

Let’s make our voices vuvuzelas for those silenced by sex trafficking. By Nicolette Ferreira.

Published in Today Magazine, September 2009

Holiday destinations in South Africa conjure up images of postcard perfection – sunny blue skies; a tannie smiling and waving from her padstal door surrounded by fat, orange pumpkins; golden brown people tanning on the beach bordering turquoise seas with splashes of colour. South Africa – a flourishing sex industry? It cannot be… however, between 28 000 to 30 000 children are currently prostituted in South Africa. We take a look at the other side of picture perfection.

HUMAN TRAFFICKING

Broadly speaking, human trafficking involves the abduction, recruitment and cross-border transportation of people through coercion and deception to serve an exploitative purpose, such as sexual slavery or child labour. According to the International Organization for Migration, over 1000 adolescents in Zambia are enticed from their homes each year under the pretext of better lives in the regions’ most prosperous countries like South Africa and Botswana. Once the victims are lured away, they are sold to so-called ‘sex homes’. As stated in last month’s article on human trafficking, “Traffick Proof”, these and other victims of human trafficking are “tricked, transported, trapped and used,” (see http://www.justiceacts.org, an invaluable source on the topic).

When Rosa was only 14, a man came to her parents’ house in Mexico and asked if she was interested in making lots of money in the United States (tricked). A week later, Rosa was smuggled into the United States (transported) where she was told for the first time that her employment would consist of having sex with men for money. Because she was a virgin, the men decided to initiate her by raping her repeatedly to teach her how to have sex. Over the next three months, she was taken to a different trailer every 15 days (trapped). Every night she had to sleep in the same stained bed in which she had been forced to service customers all day (used). Eventually Rosa became pregnant and was forced to have an abortion, after which she was sent back to the brothel almost immediately.

A LIFEJACKET

There is a lifejacket for people like Rosa. For The Silent is a non-profit organisation ‘lifeguarding’ children silenced by human trafficking (see http://www.forthesilent.org). After hearing stories of young girls being forced into sexual slavery, founders Kenny and Julie Rigsby could not ignore this injustice – they knew it grieved the heart of God: “Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed…” (Col. 3: 5). For the Silent was established to help victims of sex trafficking and to mobilise others (like you and me) to use our voices. The project’s workers assess the needs of already established organisations in the field of sexual exploitation and adopt projects that help these organisations meet the long-term needs of sex-silenced human beings. Just one such example is Paul Baloche’s recent show that was held for the benefit of For the Silent: this money became a lifejacket to many pulled down by the weight of sexual exploitation. Although For the Silent currently focuses on on-the-ground projects in Cambodia and on creating awareness in America, founder and director Kenny Rigsby says their goal is to work towards other countries in the future.

GETTING INVOLVED

We can help For the Silent to spread the good work. Imagine that for every card you make, every painting you paint and every song you write, each cent earned goes into the care of a rescued child. The next adventure race that you sweat out or the next gig that you rock, could fund new classrooms. Through your art, singing, handmade creations, praying and even running, you (yes you, Today reader!) can be a voice for the voiceless (see http://www.forthesilent.org and click on the link “Actions”). Let’s make a loud, disrupting noise!!

The organisation Justice A.C.T.S (Alliance of Christians Against Trafficking) can help you traffick-proof your own community. (Read the “Traffick Proof” article in the August issue of Today.) Justice A.C.T.S list some of the most regular instances of human trafficking as: refugees are promised safe passage into South Africa only to be taken to sex homes; women, men and children are recruited for jobs abroad with the promise of a better life and income, then trafficked on arrival; men romance and lure away young, vulnerable women with hints of marriage; agents traffick women and girls hoping to be models; orphans are ‘exported’ to become child labourers, wives or prostitutes. We should all be aware and prepared.

REMEMBER…

The four signs of human trafficking are always: tricked, transported, trapped and used. Come on everyone… let’s blow the vuvuzela on human trafficking, for “we are Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us…” (2 Cor. 5:20).

Sources:

* Martens, J. Pieczkowski, M. and Van Vuuren-Smyth, B. Seduction, Sale and Slavery. Trafficking in Women and Children for Sexual Exploitation in Southern Africa. 3d edition. Pretoria: International Organisation for Migration, 2003.
* http://www.forthesilent.org
* http://www.humantrafficking.org/updates/640
* http://www.justiceacts.org

SIDEBAR:

A few projects where For the Silent is restoring life to victims of human trafficking:
* Aftercare Center Vehicle: This involves the funding of a reliable 4WD vehicle for a partner organisation, Hagar Cambodia, which safely transports rescued children to school, church, home visits, medical and court appointments in Cambodia.
* The Boy’s Counseling Project: A training program designed to train professional counsellors on how to respond to the needs of male survivors of sexual exploitation in Cambodia.
* The Classrooms Project: This involves the funding of three new classrooms for an aftercare facility in Cambodia that provides catch-up education for girls aged 4 to 16 from backgrounds of sexual exploitation.
(www.justiceacts.org): Trafficking help-line number: 0800 555 999

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