The Journey of Loneliness . . .
By Kirsten Nour Namskau
My neighbor Arabia, called at the door and peeped inn. As usually we took a cup of coffee together after work. She worked at another school than me and we used to change experiences and ideas.
Suddenly she said: “I saw someone on my way to the bus today . . . close to the school. She was a beggar, but she didn’t beg or anything. She only sat there, looking out in empty air. I think it is something wrong in her case.”
“Like what?” I asked
Arabia answered: “I don’t really know, Kirsten. She looks foreign to me. Maybe she is a tourist who has gone lost. You know . . . That happens.”
I looked at Arabia . . . If she is there tomorrow . . . Bring her with you. Maybe we can help her to her embassy at least.”
The next day Arabia was later than usually when she rang the bell on my door.She was standing outside together with another woman. I looked at her, a little perplexed at first, before I asked them to enter.The new woman, I guessed was around 25/30 years old, tall, slim, light hair, blue eyes, pale complexion. She was wearing jeans cut off at the knees to a kind of shorts, black T-shirt without sleeves, no bra . . . and she was dirty . . . very dirty. Her hair was almost grey of dirt standing in all direction, her eyes was “dead” and dry and red-lined in lack of sleep.
I took her hand and led her to a chair as I looked at Arabia with questions in my eyes.
Arabia whispered: “She doesn’t talk. I have tried to talk to her, but she only stare out in the empty air. Maybe she is not normal . . . I think so, Kirsten. Maybe it’s better to call the police.”
I answered: “Well, let us see what a bath and some food can do with her.”
I went up to the girl, sat down in front of her, looked into her eyes and said; “ My name is Kirsten . . . Kirsten . . . What is your name?”
She only looked at me with eyes that didn’t “see” me. I made signals with my hands, that she should follow me to the bath, and I gave her soap, sponge and towel and signaled that she should take a shower and wash her hair.
She understood and I left her in the bath, to go and make some food.
Arabia went home and I was alone with the girl. When she came out from the bath, I signaled with my hands that she should come and eat. After eating and with a cup of tea, I tried again to come in contact with her. I signaled a question with my hands if she could hear me when I talked?
She nodded her head.
I asked: “Do you speak English?”
She only looked at me with empty eyes. I continued, now to look for any signals or movements in her eyes:
“Kalamy Arabee?”. . . . No reactions.
“Sprechen zie Deutche?” . . . . . No reaction.
“Habla Espanjol?” . . . . . . No reaction.
“Parle vue France?” . . . . No reaction
“Talar ni Svenska?” . . . She blinked with her eyes
“ Snakker du Dansk?” . . . . She looked at me and a hoarse sound came from her throat.
“Snakker du Norsk?” . . . . She started to breathe faster and looked at me.
I repeated in the Norwegian language: “Do you understand me now when I speak this language?
“She nodded her head and whispered: “yes, I understand.”
On her dialect, I could hear that she came from the vest side of the country. Maybe Bergen or Stavanger. I asked for her name . . . But it showed up that she didn’t remember any thing.
She didn’t know where she was or how she had come here.
Educated as an antroposoph (The study of the brain) I stated a “game” with her to find out her name. We should say names, what came to our mind, fast after each other.
I wrote down the names she said.
She had repeated the name Bente more than others . . . I asked her if she maybe named Bente? But she didn’t remember, so I told her that for time being, she named Bente until she remembered.
I asked where in Norway she lived, but she didn’t remember. When I knowledge her of her dialect, she only looked confused. I asked if she had someone we could call in Norway . . . parents, siblings, aunts etc. . . .
She didn’t remember. I had a “telephone-number-game” with her, where we said numbers after each other in rhythm. Again I wrote down all the numbers she said. At the end I had an A4 page full of numbers.
I knew . . . that among these numbers was a phone-number to someone who knew her. It was late, and I told her to go to bed and have some sleep.
“To morrow, you maybe will start to remember.” I said . . .
I called the emergency number of the Norwegian embassy and told that I had her and that I was about to find her relatives, but wanted the direction number to Bergen and Stavanger . . which they gave me.
The whole night I was sitting up, calling all the numbers she had said in different combinations. Usually I got the message from an automatic answering-machine: “You have called a non-existing number. Please check you number.”
5 o’clock in the morning . . . Suddenly . . . Someone took the phone in Stavanger . . .
A tired voice answered: “Hello”
I answered: “ Hello, my name is Kirsten Namskau and I am calling from Egypt. I am sorry to call so early, but please listen to what I have to say. If it is better for you, I can call later, at a settled time.”
We spoke at the phone for 1 hour to try to find out whether the girl was in his family or not. I told him to try to contact his daughter, who he believed was in Oslo and see if she still was there. I asked him to send some photos of his daughter and the family and gave him my address and phone-number so he could call later and talk to the girl.
If she was his daughter, her name was in deed Bente and was 29 years old.
When the girl woke up, her mind had started to work again. Still, she didn’t remember everything, but bits and pieces came all the time. I tried to put the pieces together with her like a puzzle.
12 o’clock the man from Stavanger called . . . I gave the phone to Bente . . . and they talked . . . for more than 2 hours. I could see in her face that she started to remember and that we had found her family.
It showed up . . . That some people . . . (The Norwegian Mafia) had kidnapped her, narcotized her, brainwashed her and brought her to Egypt in the trial of selling her as a sex-slave to some Arabs. (Something which is very common) But she had been too old and they hadn’t been able to sell her, so they only left her in the streets, to her own destiny. (20% of the poor people of Egypt are “lost” tourists. Like Bente.)
The same day, I took her to the embassy to get her a new Pass-Port. Afterwards, we went to buy a flight-ticket for her, back to Norway. She got a flight 14 days later, since we had to wait for the Pass-Port.
The next 14 days, I bought her some clothes and feed her up a little and tried to make it as a holyday.
That was like as well good for both of us.
Some years later, I met her again . . . In Stavanger.
She had recovered fully and was in work. Her father was a preacher . . . maybe his prayer for his daughter had been heard.
The prayers of saving her from “Hell and the demons of the life of sins”
God works in mysterious ways . . . She crossed my path and I got strong enough to be able to help.