The young ladies at the Girls House of Refuge wanted to show us one of the places they go to minister to people and as we drove up to the building, I’ll be honest, my heart sank.
The White Building (also known simply as “the building”) is a residential block standing in a bustling area of street vendors, and run down, low-end shops. Battered and stained with the grime of neglect, it looks like a cancer. The windows are either glassless, boarded up, or barred, and clothes hang from lines like strips of loose, hanging flesh. Every corner reeks of despair, and the stares of people loitering on the trash strewn streets followed us as we neared.
This was a dark place. Evil. You could feel it on the back of your neck, and we were going in. I did not have a good feeling about it but as the girls walked into the building, talking and giggling as if they were taking a pleasant daytime stroll, all I could do was follow.
I did my best to project my born-and-raised-in-the-Bronx, tough guy persona, but really, I had no idea what to expect.