Her name is X, and she comes from the Ivory Coast. She arrived in Paris with her 5 year old son after a 2 year journey.  She had passed through Mali, Algeria and Morocco. She entered Europe through Spain in order to reach France, where she came to meet up with her elder sister.

After a week in Paris in her sister’s house, her brother in law did not want her living any longer in the house, and he put her out into the street with her son. It was then that X, who had our contact number through the ODOS Association in Spain, with which we network, called us asking for some place where they could spend the nigh,t which was cold and rainy.

In that moment, after we found out where she was, we went to meet her in a neighborhood on the outskirts of Paris. We found her and her son and went looking for a place that would accept her. That night we could not find any lodging for her. When we spoke with her, we found out that her son’s father has been in Paris for two years, but he continues living in the streets without having his status legalized.

On the following day, after much searching we succeeded in having an NGO – Association Notre Dame de Tanger” – accept her for a week while we tried to get social security to take charge of her case.

Throughout that week we accompanied her, and at the end of the week, she had succeeded in contacting social security which, finally, took charge of them.

This woman is strong and determined; although physically very debilitated because of all that she has suffered during her 26 years, she does not give up.  She is living now, with her son and her companion, in a provisional Social Security shelter until they find her a home in order to be able to adjust her situation and begin a normal and decent life, working, with her son enrolled in school.

It is impressive to see how, in spite of all that she has suffered, X did not lose hope and continues to struggle to attain a more decent life for herself and her family, always with a smile on her face and a word of gratitude for every little step that we take to help her and every little kindness that we extend to her.

This experience of accompanying X was for me, truly, an one of committing ourselves as a community in order to get involved and to let our lives be complicated by the life of our brothers and sisters, the little ones that God prefers. It was also an occasion of witnessing, once again, the importance of networking. Alone we don’t get very far, but united and in a network we can, little by little, transform our world and build the Kingdom with “our small hidden works.”

Maria Manoel aci