Could we have had a better trip! Full of fun, tears, joy and sadness – an emotional rollercoaster of course
We have already shared with you the excitement of telling the girls about their new house – those screams of joy are still ringing in my ears. We have told you about our lovely Angel, Laura Patterson, and how honoured we are to have her watching over our very own Angels. We showed you photos of THE best party on the planet and those who follow us closely will have seen the amazing response to getting the boys and staff new trainers and football boots.
But what about the things you can see in a photo or share in a post.
One of our boys, who has been with us for 2 years has always been complex and frightened to connect to us. His early life story would rip you apart. If I share that he felt safer living on the violent streets in town from the age of 5 – yup five years old – rather than with his family; that he is covered in burns and knife wound scars; that his fear of women is bigger than his fear of the hugely violent community of street men, then maybe you can paint a picture of how tough his life has been.
He is 15 now and has spent two years at Rafiki Familia and in that time he has disconnected to people, often showing anger and violence. His anger a mirror to his fear of people and his violence a shield against the shame he feels just for being him.
I represent all mothers to him and that is not good. He wants me close so he can get what he needs from me, but he dared not allow any emotional connection. It might just destroy the small part of him that is him.
This trip was different. This trip the two years of therapeutic parenting and love are beginning to show. This trip he showed trust in our relationship and even sought physical contact for a small moment. This trip my heart totally surrendered to this warrior and the hope I can now see to helping him through his many, many traumas. He is a warrior not because he is tough and brave but because he dares to open a window into his vulnerability; a window to his soul. How brave is that from a young man who has only known fear, rejection and extreme violence in the past. A boy who is ‘comfortable’ being beaten on the streets but his biggest fear is that we may love him and he might even learn to love himself.
How is that measured. How can we ever begin to understand the journey of healing to boys that communities refer to as rats; vermin and scum. They are absolutely the heartbeat of our project. They are the stepping stone to healing for our girls. They demonstrate how love and therapeutic parenting can save the soul of a child. For our girls to see their Rafiki brothers being loving and being loved helps them to trust that their future maybe safer too.
We never compromise the safety of our families and when the boys and girls meet they are always well supervised. Not only because the stereotypical fear of what the boys might do, but also because for some of our girls, they seek out boys and are sexually promiscuous towards them; in total contrast to what you might expect. They seek the very things that scare them. They look for something, anything to remind them they are more than flesh and blood; they seek sexual experiences to help them connect to themselves. That is not what they need and we will watch safely over them until they can care for themselves
These children are the heartbeat and the breath of all things Rafiki and Sarah and I thank you from the depth of our souls for supporting and loving them the way you do.
You breathe hope into a hopeless future; you beat the drum of life for children who had no life
You are the holder of their lives – together we hold the hands of their future