A very quick note I want to get out in the 15 minutes between arriving at tonight’s hotel and leaving for supper.
The group we visited today was sponsored by Hendersonville (First?) UMC. We heard the story of one of the boys in the group, Seliman. His mother was a single woman with mental problems. He never met his dad. His mom led kind of a nomadic life, so he was probably never able to put down roots or form friendships, and it affected his own thinking and behavior. Eventually, she died, and he became a homeless orphan. He had no house or toilet, and was living in the bush, basically.
As the early activity of each child drawing a picture representing their dream, and learning about hygiene, he was impatient and decided that a picture of a dream and mosquito netting wouldn’t feed him. I think it was overwhelming for him, to be faced with the prospect of being in one place for three years and working for food instead of begging and stealing; the change was too much. It’s not that his character was flawed and he wanted to continue in the way he had been, but he just wasn’t able to make the transition, apparently. This happens with Zoe kids sometimes; they leave the program. He bolted, and went back to his old life.
One of the other kids in his group, Charlotte, ran across him in the city, and (apparently), all the Zoe kids convinced him to come back. They built him a house, using materials donated by Zoe. They built him a toilet. Because they already knew the value of the program, and they knew enough about him to know that he really did want to be a member, but just wasn’t quite able to clear the first hurdle. And that first hurdle does take a personal commitment. You need to be ready for change, I think, because Zoe is such a new thing in these kids’ lives. And they knew.
So, they went and brought him back. And now he tells this story himself. This is the sort of community we make possible.