“Hey, are you an American?” As I walked down the busy, exhaust filled road, I heard from a car behind me a woman’s voice asking, “Hey, are you an American?” At first, I thought I should keep on walking, but it’s strange to have that question in perfect American English on the road here. I stopped and answered, “Yes, why?” She explained she had recently arrived and wanted to connect with another American to be able to ask questions about living here. I gave her my email address and continued on my way.
Later that day, I received an email from her asking questions about living here. I gladly shared novels of information. A few days later, on a Sunday, I received a desperate email from her, asking if we could come get her. The questions swirling in my head overwhelmed me. What if she’s into something dangerous? What if this is a set-up to get us to a location to do harm to us? What if….? But, I couldn’t shake the overwhelming question of, “If I needed help in a foreign land and only had one email address of someone from my passport country, would I want help?” I spoke to David and we agreed we needed to go get her. She didn’t really know where she was located, being so new and being isolated. She shared the neighborhood name and a few landmarks and we started off in the car. She had snuck out to a call box (a person who has a cell phone you can pay to use on the side of the road) and called me. I kept calling her on the call box phone, but we weren’t finding her. After driving around for two hours, we asked her to stop an empty taxi, shared what to say in French and that we would meet her at the destination. She had no money, no phone and was scared. She did as we said with a taxi and arrived at a hotel where we met her to pay for the taxi and take her with us. She was shaking and traumatized. Now what do we do? We didn’t receive training on this kind of scenario. We did the only thing we knew to do, we fed her, gave her a place to sleep, prayed for her, helped her call loved ones in the States, helped her change her return flight and took her to the airport.