What can I say. This has been yet another outstanding trip with wonderful hard working friends. In our 2 weeks Matt and Barry have built a playground, a dog compound and a chicken run – plus all the other millions of jobs that have come their way. They are outstanding in their work and have been a great asset for our girls – thank you so so much Matt and Barry – your hard work has brought smiles to our lovely girls.
Linda Kim and Jane – what a team you are. We have reached the front line people in delivering first class training in Emotional First Aid and Understanding Sexual Abuse. The way you all pulled together is humbling and you are the most brilliant therapeutic team!!! Linda your humour love and respect with our staff at Rafiki Mwema helped them to understand the importance of their job and to give them the confidence to carry it forward. Kim and Jane you will live in the hearts of the children and staff forever
During this trip we have cried buckets and laughed for hours. The girls at RM arrive with us with the trauma of what has happened to them etched into their very souls and yet with love, respect and care from the staff and girls alike they are able to relax and feel safe. Our girls respond to the therapeutic environment and blossom in the individual 1:1 support they are given.
We have had three new girls arrive while we have been at RM and no two girls respond the same. One of our newest girls, Susan, arrived with her hair shaven and covered in sores. She seemed very mistrustful of course and a little aggressive. She lives with her grandmother and had been raped by a stranger on the way to her grandmothers work. Her grandmother was unsure of how to keep her safe as the perpetrator is still at large so she was sent to the remand centre for her care and protection. She came to us soon after. She is a small child and yet has been raped and then rehomed twice. No wonder she was scared and mistrustful. She has been with us a week and we are seeing a huge change in her already. She is experiencing a respectful and safe home with carers who respect and honour her. Her wounds are deep but she is slowly beginning to heal.
We have been lucky enough to have safely received many visitors at Rafiki Mwema this past 2 weeks and the message is the same from everyone. You can feel the love as you drive through the gates. I really hope and pray we can be successful in our fundraising to keep this house going forever. It is so sad when it all comes down to money but that is the truth.
Play Kenya were asked to visit an orphanage where a family of 5 children had been taken. These children had been locked in a cupboard all their short lives. They were in a terrible emotional and physical state. Within the hierarchy of the siblings the middle child had been the scapegoat for everyone and was heartbreaking to see. The mother had called her names as well as beating and abusing her and her brothers and sisters. I have never seen such a tragic case of neglect. Play Kenya realised that the therapeutic work needed to be done through the carers they are beginning to trust. We have devised a plan and Anisha will support them to deliver this. I look forward to revisiting in May when I return.
We had an amazing day at the women’s prison where we took bras knickers and sanitary products – but I think the best gift was that of laughter – although it was actually AT me they were laughing!!!! I cannot dance and yet they insisted so all I could do was to shake my booty and die of shame!!!!! A brilliant afternoon. However we really need to be supporting the prison to have a separate mother and child unit as the children are not safe at times and they need our support.
Of course I have had Lucy and Sophie over to stay – it almost feels like they ARE Rafiki girls
So much love and laughter – so much hard hard work! I think we were putting in 18 hour days most days and we are all exhausted!!! I would work even harder if I could as I totally believe in the work we are doing and I can see the difference we are making. Please please please continue to support us and make the lives of some of the most abused children just a little more bearable.
Asante sana xxxxxxxxxx