Saturday, 12 September 2015

My Lovely Kids

I'm aware that my posts recently have been full of sadness and I don't want people thinking it's all doom and gloom here, so I thought I'd make a post about the kids I work with.
I borrow a school classroom in the afternoons to use as an office - most days I'll have anywhere between 2 and 40 of the kids come to visit me......I call them kids but some of them are young adults now!
They come because:
...they are sponsored students and need to discuss their schooling
...they don't have a sponsor and want me to find a sponsor for them
...there is a major (in their eyes) problem in their life and they think I can help solve it
...they are hungry and they know I always share lunch
...they don't have anywhere else to be
...they just want to come and spend time with me (my favourite reason!!)
...the list goes on and on
Some of these kids I've known for almost 10 years now, many of the younger ones I remember as newborns. We are comfortable with each other, if I'm busy they just come in and make themselves comfortable, chatting with the others, reading, playing, studying. When I'm not so busy we'll talk about anything and everything.....laughing, joking, putting the world to rights....I usually talk in English, and they talk in Krio so we can both improve our understanding of the other's language. If they are discussing something they really don't want me to know about they will speak in their tribal language if they share the same language.
At some point during the day I'll ask one of my visitors to go and buy some bread, usually 15 loaves, and we'll share a tin of luncheon meet amongst the bread and share it out with whoever has dropped by. We make up drinks of flavoured water and share them as well. What really impresses me is if there are any latecomers someone will immediately break their bread in half and share it and someone else will share their drink.
Today, one of the young men must've thought the place was looking a bit messy because he took himself off, found a broom and swept the whole classroom -- I didn't ask him to, he just thought it needed doing and so did it.
If one of them has a problem their friends will always speak up on their behalf and try to help them.
I love spending time with these young people, they are always (well, usually) polite, helpful, funny and kind, and I'm blessed to know them and be able to be part of their lives. They aren't the reason I came to Sierra Leone the first time, but they are the reason I am still here now. They are the reason we founded Transform Salone.
Me with a few of my lovely kids!!

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