Sorry for the long gap in blogs.

Life is busy as usual and trying to split between two houses is crazy! The boys are closing school this week and they have had their exams – they will need a good program next week to keep them busy. It can be hard when you have survived in the past without a home; without parents, to feel relaxed with long free periods and we are very aware that these are the times that the pull of the streets is greatest for our boys. We are looking at having a music, karate and possibly beading club for them over the holidays to help them stay. It is so hard for them – they have had so much freedom in their young lives and have most been addicted to drugs or alcohol, I can only hope that 3 good meals, a safe warm place to sleep and love see them through the long holidays. I am immensely proud that we have a full house 9 months into our project. Come on Rafiki Familia – we can do this!

Our outreach team have been busy finding the boys families to see if there is a safe relationship to build for the boys, and have met with mixed reactions when they track them down. They have just returned from a home visit for one of our boys and found a very mother, who must have been 12 when her first son was born. He is with us and is 14. She is so sick and her new husband doesn’t know about her first born son. She refers to him as her nephew. His mother has obviously loved our boy at some time, but now she is fearful to acknowledge him. She is very sick and I want him to be able to see his mother before she dies, but without alerting the husband who may be violent towards the mother if the truth is known. A very delicate situation.

Today the outreach time will accompany the Rafiki Mwema staff who are taking one of our girls home. She has been with us around 6 months and is ready to return home. This is always a bitter sweet moment for us as she is a very loved member of our family, but this is why we work so hard to make sure the girls have been supported and given access to therapeutic support. The step-down programme has been completed, tears have been shed at her final worship last night, and she is on her way. The outreach team pick up her care now. They will set up regular visits with both the child and her family to try and ensure her continued safety. We metaphorically hold our breath, knowing we are putting in as much support as is possible.

It was a very emotional day yesterday with therapy sessions to break your heart and make you burst with hope at the same time. The moment a child who feels unloved and un-loveable, who walks around with a haunted, blank expression most of the time; the moment they feel they are loved and for a short time their face shows emotion; A face that changes when emotions touch their eyes. A moment of hope and of fear; Hope they can be loved, and fear they may lose it again. Connection; the vital ingredient to live your life and not simply survive; Something I feared this baby girl would never find; A moment that reminds me just why we do this – it is ALL about the child, both boys and girls, feeling they can be loved and accepted.

A moment that will stay with me a lifetime.