In loving memory of Kinche-
"A smile that could light up a room. A child full of warmth. A young girl aching for approval and affection. Spontaneous. Bubbly. Trusting. This was Kinche.
Like other young girls, Kinche dreamed of having a home and a family. She wanted to be a mother – to have someone to love and someone to love her.
She naively put her trust in those who would use and abuse her. For this, she suffered great pain and finally paid with her life.
The Kinche I had known for years was hardly recognizable the last weeks of her life - except for her sweet spirit. Even though her body was wracked with pain, though she could no longer speak, Kinche tried to show her pleasure and gratitude with a smile for those who came to the hospital to care for her. When we tried to reposition her or bathe her – she always tried to lift her head or turn her body to help. But after months of pain and suffering, even her strong spirit could not make her body go on.
How did she end up like this? What went so wrong with her life? Who is responsible? The man who beat her? Parents who abandoned her? A system of institutionalization that hardly meets physical needs, not to mention psychological and emotional ones? A fearful society that turns a blind eye to crime? Kinche was failed by nearly everyone.
Kinche had few choices in life. She was neither emotionally nor intellectually prepared to make good decisions. Like so many other teens from these “homes,” she tried to find a better life for herself.
Kinche is gone. Her short life a tragedy. We weep for her pain and suffering. We weep for others like her whose stories may never be told - young women and men who were just as vulnerable, who were lured away into prostitution and slavery through promises of love and security.
Kinche's death is a challenge for us to do more. We mustn't fail her again.