What a day today has been – again

This morning John, Will, Sam and Chloe left at 7.30 am to go to the Massai Mara (and we have heard they have already seen lions and elephants!) – they are away for 2 nights – it will be VERY quiet at home.

Janet and I met with Anisha and Eloise to go to an orphanage where 4 of our girls originated from. This is a great place where they have regular training from Anisha, as well as their own counsellor coming in to speak to the girls and boys. We were asked to help them with some issues they were having with sexualised behaviour from one little girl in particular. She has been raped by many many family members overs about 7 years and is now at a place of safety. She spent a year with us and really changed some of her behaviors, but recently there has been an escalation in her trying to attract men, believing the pastor is attracted to her, wanting to leave the home to have sex and ‘missing sex’ – oh and she is 11 years old.

It became apparent speaking to the staff, some who are OUTSTANDING, that they need more depth of understanding of where this behaviour comes from, the impact of this sustained abuse has on this child’s developing brain – and how best to parent her. It made me realise how much our staff at Rafiki Mwema know, and how fantastically they carry out therapeutic parenting on a moment to moment basis – we have booked more training next week with this team. It is wonderful that they want to know and understand their children more – and is the backbone of the work we do at Play Kenya, away from Rafiki Mwema and Rafiki Familia (our boys house).

We then went to Rafiki Familia where our lovely drama therapist, Catharine, has been working with the boys. They put on a performace to show us their interpretation of their hopes and fears – this was incredibly moving – so much fear and violence in such little boys and young men – it was an honour to be with them and to see the work they have done with Catherine – asante. We will miss her when she goes home on Friday.

We then went back to base camp for a sex education with 9 of our bigger girls – except this Rafiki Mwema and nothing is that simple. This group of brave, strong and yet emotionally struggling little girls sat and showed their pain for the atrocities that have happened to them. Their fears about people finding out what has happened to them; the fear that one day they might have to tell their future husbands that they are not pure (THEY ARE TOTALLY PURE LITTLE GIRLS); that maybe, in someway, they are to blame for what has happened to them. They were so brave and along with their wonderful night carer there were so many tears and breaking down of defenses. The fear and the strength in that group was so strong – so very strong. Their stories belied their years – and yet their questions about sex showed their little ages. They are just incredible – I am in awe of them. Again, it made me notice a small chink in our after care and I have a plan to rectify that. I need to be able to give the girls my word that they will be safe and supported when they leave the walls of Rafiki Mwema – and so we need to increase that support. I am going to hopefully find a way of that happening – NO child should be able to have such stories and pain of the ways they have been raped – no child that leaves Rafiki Mwema should be in danger again. I will literally keep developing our service to support our brave babies.

One of the questions ALL the girls wanted to know was whether white people have to have to have sex to get babies and do white women have to have periods – they really thought that only African’s had to endure this pain – that sort of broke my heart again – they are such little young naive babies – and yet have lived a woman’s life. One of the girls in this group has endured YEARS of beatings, sexual violence to all areas of her, burning of her body, having to watch the same happen to her sisters – no wonder at 11 she is cynical and does not dare to hope for a future. She is so scared we will send her away and even though the perpetrator is in jail for life, she knows that there is corruption everywhere and cannot believe she is safe. I have a shopping list for her safety and emotional sanity – it’s a tall order but one day, please God, we will have it …

Hearing Amazing Grace from Janet and Amina at the end of this group was one of the most moving moments of my life – Asante.

It was really important after that session to have some reflection time – and that came in the form of toasted cheese sanis, chocolate and laughter with Janet, Eloise and Catherine – I wish that was all everyone needed.

Again – YOU make this happen for our girls and boys and we couldn’t do what we do without your love and support – and Sarah Rosborg you rock the world!