I don’t know where to start today. I want to give you an uplifting insight into the transition from the streets to the workplace and what we are doing for the boys we are supporting but so many things compromise the positive post I want to share.
Yesterday we had a great day, playing football, sharing lunch, calling the UK to speak to key people in their lives. There was so much laughter, fun and excitement in our chats and in our day. One of our young men is on the brink of a step into a world of resuming his passion for mechanics, a partnership that will change him forever, and we will be therapeutically with him every step of the way. We will literally walk with him until he can walk alone. That could be 6 weeks, 6 months or 6 years. Whatever it is we are committed to his future.
But despite all the great things that happened yesterday there were some shocking moments in their community. You might recall that on their first night away from the streets, they were pulled from their beds, handcuffed and beaten. Yesterday there was commotion from the woman who feeds them, and the woman that owns the plot which resulted in Natasha, Peter and me visiting an elder’s house to try and work together as a community. I have never in my life spent time with such an arrogant, sexist and condescending man. He was rude beyond belief and assumed if he shouted and shook his finger in my face and used the words shut up enough, I would be a good little woman and let him shout at me! Anyway, that didn’t happen and we abandoned the meeting. We now, having been to the police station, are meeting with a member of the force who will hopefully help us to ensure the safety of our boys going forwards.
But I still think of the day as one of amazing connections, relationship repair and joy. I know that it is not just hard for the boys to make this step but also for the community they live in not to be scared of them. But they are being law abiding, they don’t play loud music and their houses are REALLY tidy! And funny! These boys have such humour it’s contagious!
They are not perfect of course; they bicker like old married couples. Who could get moving to a stable community right immediately, easily especially given what has been done to them in their lives, but they are trying to rebuild what was never theirs? A community where they blend in and are treaded with kindness, humour and respect. Their brains will stay programmed to be reactive if we don’t change the air they breathe. Every time they are chased away or leave because they are bullied or abused, they remain hard wired to fight and defend. We choose kindness in our approach to changing their brains and the way they respond. I need to choose kindness when meeting arrogant and abusive forerunners in communities that are led by fear, not so easy!
So today we will meet with the police and help them to see that all people deserve kindness and an opportunity to survive in life. We will stand together to support the boys and the community to live side by side if not quite hand in hand yet.
Thank you for standing with us and walking together until our boys have the belief that they can stand alone.