Mama Helene shared many stories with me about the children she works with (youth in jail, street children, prostitutes and children abandoned for various reasons). She said whenever she meets a child, the common question is always “if God loves me so much, then WHY? Why Maman is my life so hard?”
Those words stung, because I ask myself that so many times. There are some experiences that will always be etched in my mind. I can recall the exact moment I vowed I would not stand by and watch. I would 'Do Something'. My life would be poured out for the orphan, the widow and the oppressed. I would try my very best to put other's needs above my own. I would advocate for those who had no voice, and in doing so, I realized that this is the reason for my life. Because of my faith I am compelled to act.
I have spent many sleepless nights thinking how can we bring attention to the plights of these children. How can we balance their right to privacy and yet inspire people to give? How can we make just one of these children someone else’s reason to give freely and advocate for change for this ONE child? When I look at these kids and those I met on my travels I see the faces of my kids staring back and me and I ask continuously “What would I want others to do if they were my kids?” “How far would I want someone else to go to help my kids?”
‘You may choose to look the other way but you can never say again that you did not know’ – William Wilberford
It was a highlight of my trip to meet the girls and boys we sponsor through Feed a Child. Supporting these homes is a beautiful way to support, restore and transform. These two programs work with at risk youth. The kids have been through so much and it takes great courage to face each day. They want what all children want – LOVE. They want to know that they matter. They want to be heard.
At the first home, the girls were very sweet; we showed up unexpectedly the first time and the house Mama and Papa were out, along with 3 other children. Luckily one arrived home shortly after we arived. We brought toiletries, skipping ropes, underwear, snacks, pens, school supplies, soap, deodorant, stickers and some other items. At first, the girls were shy but warmed up. This is very much a home, and they are a family. They work hard at school, like to read and like TV when they get an opportunity to watch it. The three girls giggled a lot. The oldest gave me a report on how they all do at school, she said ‘ they work hard, and do well', and there was no one there to disagree.
In this picture there is a future Journalist, Children Dr. and can you guess which one doesn’t have a clue??
I was very impressed by the surroundings of this home and how it was evident they are loved, well cared for and very much part of a family.
I got to see there silly sides and we laughed at our skipping expertise.
See the food in the background, after a really long day of shopping and delivering we made it here. The girls were ready for bed and once again we showed up unannounced. The 2 older kids weren’t picture ready, but as you can see they are beautiful with pouty faces too… How I wish I could have spent more time with them…
The next visit was the boys home. There is so much I wish I could convey. The boys have had to overcome so much. These boys will stay at the home for 1 year. The hope is after they get counselling, they need to move on, and will be either placed into school or taught a skill, depending on the age and abilities.
Some of the boys asked me not to take their pictures. They seemed genuinely concerned, and I ensured them that I respected that. I do not know all their stories, or what they have had to endure, but the fact they find themselves here says a lot.
Before I left, we rallied funds for beds and mattresses as the boys were sleeping on concrete. You guys rock because I was able to go to Kinshasa with enough funds for all their new beds. Unfortunately due to a travel delay ( I lost a day in Belgium due to plane mechanical issues), and some difficulties with vehicles and locating a vehicle that could pick up our goods; I had to leave before we were able to deliver. The team delivered the beds the Saturday after I left and sent us pictures. It was a long day for them again and the delivery was once again made at night. Although the photos aren't clear because of the darkness, you can still see the joy.
These two homes are an example of hope and the future of Congo’s forgotten kids.
To have the opportunity to see your dollars working hard to create change, to meet the children and the people who facilitate this all, and serving others above all else, made my heart full. These lives are the future of Congo, and because people are reaching across oceans, we are able to make that future brighter. Love breaks barriers. When we seek love above all else, the ripple effects will go on for eternity.
Thank you for supporting Feed a Child.