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Anita says the Mission makes her ‘feel like I have a family again’
Anita was born in Ghana and spent her life there until tragedy brought her to the United States. Her husband had been living in New York for three years, and brought their two children out to join him in September 2017. Just three months later in December, all three died in an apartment fire. “I lost my whole family of three, everyone I had,” Anita said. “My 17-year-old daughter, my 13-yearold son, I lost them. I came to New York on February 7th and I buried them all on the 9th.”
Anita decided not to return home to Ghana after the burials. “That was the only family I had and they were gone,” she said. “I didn’t have any reason to go back.” Her husband’s sister lived in California, so she traveled across the country and moved in with her for a time. Anita went to school and received her certificate as a nurse’s assistant. She started working and attending church, where she met a man. But when Anita found out she was pregnant, he disappeared. “I don’t know where he is,” she said. “He doesn’t want a baby, but I wanted a baby badly.”
Anita was pregnant and working as a CNA when the pandemic hit. She couldn’t work in order to stay safe, which meant that she couldn’t afford the rent on her Reseda apartment. “My doctor actually told me about the Mission,” she said. Anita and her 5-month-old baby, Matthew, have been at the Mission now for four months. “They’ve been so good to me here; they are so nice,” she said. “They’ve helped me in so many ways.”
Anita’s biggest support has been her relationship with God. “All I do is (focus on) God,” said Anita, who listens to her church’s services every Sunday online. “He is my strength. Every Wednesday, there is a woman who comes to lead bible studies. It’s so helpful to me. She’s like a sister, I tell you, from the bottom of my heart.”
Josie Casarubbias, the Mission’s program manager, said Anita’s spirit has been an inspiration at the Mission. “In spite of all the tragedy that Anita has experienced, she has not once lost faith or hope in God,” Casarubbias said. “She is a prayer warrior who is constantly seeking the face of God. It is common to find Anita in our computer room at 5 a.m. praying and praising God. “Anita has been a blessing and a great example to other guests, as well as to our staff, of what it looks like to trust God wholeheartedly.”
Anita plans on staying in the area and is waiting on childcare approval so she can return to work as a CNA. “She will be able to quickly move forward into her own home,” Casarubbias said. “She is a great example of a determined, hard working woman who refuses to give up.”
With a new baby and a pandemic still affecting her livelihood, Anita knows a new beginning will be tough. “I’ll just be starting life all over again,” she said. But with the Mission’s support, she knows she’ll get back on her feet. “I just feel like I have a family again.”
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