Transformed - Odyssey with Happy End

Peru

Nieve (15) lives in our Transformation House in Lima, Peru. Despite her young age, she has had a hard life which she shares about here:

"I was born in the jungle of Peru in a very poor family. Fifteen of us lived in a wooden hut and we all slept in one room in two beds. Today I can't imagine how we all fitted into two beds. Our hut was very simple: part of the roof was covered with straw and the rest with a corrugated iron sheet. We had no running water, no electricity and no doors. My parents split up when I was very small. My mother, without saying anything, "took off" to the capital Lima with her new boyfriend, leaving me with an acquaintance. When the acquaintance no longer knew what to do with me, I was sent to an orphanage. When I was about six years old, I was able to join my mother in Lima; she had started a new family there.

My stepfather was very violent towards me. This led to my mother separating from him again. But that was by no means the end of the beatings. My mother worked until late at night and I had to wait until she came home to open the door for her. She would very often come home drunk and hit me with the closest thing within reach - a belt, the broom, or hoses.

My teacher noticed that I often came to school with bruises. When she saw me one morning with a laceration, she notified the Youth Welfare Office.

So I was sent to the second children's home, which was more like a prison. There were policemen and bars everywhere; fortunately it was only a temporary home. Then I went to a children's home run by nuns. Since I behaved so badly, I was sent to the fourth home, where there were a lot of children. All the girls slept in one big dormitory. We had to wear uniforms and were often tied up so we couldn't run away. One day I managed to run away with some older girls. But since we were wearing uniforms, we were found very quickly. That's how I ended up in the fifth home. It was again a transitional home, and again it was more like a prison.

Then something happened that was inexplicable to me: I was sent to a sixth institution. However, this was not an orphanage, but my first real home. In September 2015, I was admitted to the Transformation House in Lima. I was very surprised that there were no bars here and that we went to the park together to play. Instead of sharing a room with 50 or 100 children, I shared a room with only one other girl. I was suddenly accepted, important and loved, even though I behaved very badly. On Saturdays, I went to the children's program at a Christian church. There we played; there was also a lot of dancing and we did cool workshops. One Saturday afternoon there was a skit about God, the loving Father. It touched me so much that I wanted to know God as my Father. I said a prayer for the first time that afternoon. Since that prayer, a lot has happened in my life: I have experienced Jesus forgiving me, setting me free from bitterness and many other things, and I have been able to forgive my parents for all the violence and for leaving me. I finally have a home and I don't have to take care of little brothers and sisters anymore, but I can play and have fun myself. The children and team in the house are my family now, and the best I've ever had.

In the meantime, I have already learned to play a few instruments: cajón, drums, a bit of guitar, and now I'm also learning to play the piano. I want to be a sound engineer when I grow up."