Life was so difficult for Ms. Kim’s family, with so littlefood, and no options for the family’s well being. She was well into her teen years when theGreat Famine hit, and people around her and her older sister were oftendisappearing through starvation and death. Those were the years when young people feared being abducted by thosewho acted as cannibals:
“It wasn'tunusual for people to disappear; they were dying by the thousands, maybemillions. But dark rumors were spreading, too horrifying to believe, toopersistent to ignore.
"Don'tbuy any meat if you don't know where it comes from," one Chongjin womanwhispered to a friend, who later defected and recounted the conversation to thereporter Barbara Demick for her book, "Nothing to Envy: OrdinaryLives in North Korea." Fear of cannibalism, like the famine supposedly drivingit, spread. People avoided the meat in streetside soup vendors and warnedchildren not to be alone at night. At least one person … was arrested andexecuted for eating human flesh.”
The family stayed close together, keeping the sisterssafe. But the malnutrition was sopainful, and these girls’ bodies suffered and were stunted in growth - which isthe norm in North Korea. The entirecountry suffers from damage of malnutrition.
Then, Ms. Kim’s mother was diagnosed with breast cancer, andthere was no proper medical care! Therewas so much sorrow when Mother died in 2004.
Now Ms. Kim was in her 20’s. Her older sister left the family home in North Korea in a desperateescape to China - hoping to make any money possible, and to escapestarvation. After all, Mother was nowgone; they were alone in the world!
As a younger sister, Ms. Kim had stayed in the familyhome. She waited and waited for herolder sister to return - but it never happened. Isolation and sadness were so huge. She had only been able to get a minimal education in the “Inmin School”,where she had grown up. There was nohope for a decent job and so, she decided to follow in her sister’s footsteps -and escape the country.
China was supposed to be the land of rice and food, the rumorssaid. Like many others, this young woman crossed over the Aprok Riverin 2009.
Also like so many desperate and vulnerable North Korean women,she was found by human traffickers. Sherealized what had happened to her sister when she was captured, horribly takenby force, and sold to a Han Chinese man who was 9 years older than shewas.
What is it like to be sold like a piece of meat to a person whodoesn’t speak your language, and who is only interested in the sexual serviceyou give, and the hard labor that you provide?
Years later, with a 6 year old son and a 20 month old girl, Ms.Kim had cried countless days and nights. It was impossible to function - the abuse, hatred, beatings, pressuresand threats took their toll. She wasexpected to serve everyone, and have no needs herself - and she could neverchange her daily terror of existence, with hatred from family members andneighbors.
And so, there seemed to be only one choice - if she did notwant to die, she must flee. The detailsof her escape remain secret. Ms. Kim wasable to find NAUH. After years ofrelentless hunger, starvation and loss in North Korea, and slavery and terrorin China, she is now on her way to South Korea. Every footstep is mixed with grief and hope.
It is hard for her to comprehend the kindness of those who havedonated money so that she can survive. She tries to express her thanks, and her gratitude. Ms. Kim has dreams of becoming a licensednurse, and having legal status in a country where she will not be attacked andbeaten as a slave. Perhaps, she hopes,she can repay the kindness shown by NAUH and the contributors - and serve thesick, as she nurse them to health in a hospital. This is her humble desire. This is possible because of mercifuldonations from readers like yourself.
Pleasejoin us in saving one life at a time.
We at NAUH desire to rescueevery person who appeals to us for help, but there are times we must turnpeople down because of lack of funding.
It costs about $2000 USD to save one refugee life. (Ourpriority is orphans, women, and men in that order)
Because of your contribution, we are saving one life at a time;
NAUHhas partnered with you so far to give freedom to 383 lives.