A very busy and exciting month around our house. Our three children who were attending a community school, rounded up with exams and then joined everyone else at the house. There were lots of football matches being held with the children and the staff. The house, walls, door frames and windows were filled with pictures and paper crafts for the Christmas celebration. The little artificial Christmas tree was put up with everyone participating in decorating it with our home made paper birds and bells. We had tried making salt decorations to paint, unfortunately it was too humid for them to dry out completely and it just created a soggy mess. There was story readings and teachings and little drama/sketches to act out. Lots of story-story (which is everyone telling turns making up a story that has a learning point). Amos and the staff had fun getting the list of little gifts for each of the children, and the daily preparation of food for over the holidays. There was much rejoicing as over the two weeks of Christmas as we have meat in the house! Fried, dry-spiced chicken and beef; delicious, one small cube each day. This year we did not have too many visitors, which was a bit sad as so many people know about us and our work, and it is actually their duty to come and visit the orphan homes and motherless babies homes. We did have our good friend General Dick and his wife Ufuoma come and visit, another friend Dave, and two representatives from the Mbaka Foundation. We are grateful they remembered us. We also spent some time taking little bits of what we had and sharing it with some of those in need.
For the past many months, TWCF has worked with our friend Kayode Bolaji of Peace Building Development Foundation and with Director General Mike Omeri of the National Orientation Agency, and Director David Dogo of National Orientation Agency, on setting up and running the National Conference on Human Security. This conference was to speak to leaders in various agencies, departments, government branches, etc on the importance of human security in Nigeria. The event surrounded the questions of what exactly is human security, does Nigeria have a human security policy, does it need revision in the face of current challenges, and can we bring to the forefront the need for peace building and conflict resolution as it is needed. It was a very informative conference that just scratched the surface of challenges at hand. But it was exciting and hopeful as we are working towards a more long term plan surrounding these questions and challenges. It was an amazing opportunity to connect with many leaders in the country (both past and present), as well as reconnect with some of the network we already have in place. We are excited for how God will use this opportunity.
In the first week of November, less then one week after Patrick arrived, we received to our home a new abandoned baby case. We notified by a State Social Welfare Officer and a Police Officer. They came to meet and discuss with Amos at the office, about a situation they were faced with. Less then two months previous, the Police were notified of an abandoned infant. After much investigation there was no parent discovered. They baby was brought to a hospital as he was ill, and nurse said she would care for him for a short time until he could be placed in a motherless babies home. The Social Welfare Officer worked very hard to place him, however, the baby was rejected by more then six orphanages and motherless babies home. All of them noted that he did not appear normal and that they would not take him unless they received extra financial support. The nurse soon said she would not look after the baby anymore, as he was a financial burden and she had to work (and was leaving him alone for many hours at a time anyway). Our name suddenly came up. We were contacted and of course upon hearing the situation, agreed to take the baby. We now have added to our family, a beautiful little boy whom we named Gabriel Favour. He has grown healthy and strong in our home and family. He has started bonding and showing progress and attachment with the amount of love and continued attention by all his new brothers, sisters, and staff. Gabriel does appear to show signs of mental retardation, as well as some serious muscular issues, and he has clubbed feet. However, he has gone from a completely silent or crying baby that doesn’t move, to a laughing, giggling baby, that is starting to grab objects and roll around! We are blessed to have him.
SO many things have happened since the last blog about Patrick coming at the end of October!
There have been things going on in the village at the house, and things going on in the country out of Abuja. We had been back and forth participating in a great many things.
There have also been some major technology issues happening, both on the Nigerian and Canadian side, from poor network, no network, computer issues, website issues, equipment failure, power outages, replacement modems, and so on! As you all know that is not fun. We have become a people who rely so much on our technology without even realizing how much of our lives it takes up or rather how much of our lives are on them and can get lost!! Big sad learning curve and reminder.
So I will begin updating you as to things that have gone on since my last blog. While they are posted now, I will write the heading as to when they would have taken place. Also, please go to the “Photos” tab/page and subscribe to our newsletter for updated info too, that goes out every month/two months. We are working on expanding our team of techy/passionate people so we have a bit more help in managing all our social media, website, newsletters, and emailing. Hopefully with that done we can be a bit more on time with things. Thanks everyone!
We were blessed to receive Patrick in our home several nights ago. He has come to us through the State Women’s Affairs after being rescued from a terrible situation. Patrick is 10yrs old and like our other children, has had a very sad, horrible past. He was very afraid to come home with us, and for much of the ride from the city to the house the truck was filled with screaming and crying he he tried to escape. He eventually calmed down with Amos and HD speaking with him, and upon seeing the other children at the house who welcomed him so well, Patrick was okay. He is a beautiful boy with such lovely manners, always saying please and thank you. As he has never been in school before, he is picking up well with learning his ABCs and numbers by sitting in lessons. He has been adjusting very well.
We continue to pursue opening a second project site in Abuja, FCT. There are a number of steps that need to fall into place however.
We are working towards acquiring a semi-permanent or permanent accommodation and office location for myself in Abuja, which will also serve as lodging for the various expats to come in and out of. We will run our office out of this same location and set it as our headquarters office. We are pursuing various options and praying that the right people will step forward and help us with these needs. Once these are settled, we will begin with located the right land in Abuja and readying to build and start accepting children.
We will be looking at a possible second home to be donated to us for temporary use (1-2yrs) until we can get our own buildings up. We are so blessed and excited at this prospect and pray whatever is meant to be will work out. If we are able to acquire this home, it will take a short time to just dust and wash and weed, and then open it. We have four children that we will be able to take off our waitlist and accept into that home immediately.
We have also been in discussions concerning the land we had mentioned several months ago (back when Steve, Cat and Laurel where around). There have been several issues cropping up surrounding that and we have been trying to sort it out. At the same time we are also no pursuing a different option should that work out sooner and with no hitches.
We (along with people here as well) have to always be careful went entering agreements concerning land (or anything being given for free). This land we have been pursuing is suppose to be donated to us, with the community benefiting from the services we will provided by developing the area. If there is not full agreeance, and everyone in the community (including those who were born there and may not even live in the country anymore) must be made aware of any sort of transaction to occur. Everyone must agree. Papers must be signed showing the agreement of all. If this has not happened, it means that down the road you face the very likely possibility of someone from the community or a relative of someone coming to you and saying this is my/our land and “I” did not agree to this so you have to get off our land. This is something we do not want to face at all. So should things not be more then 100% perfect and agreeable with this community over this land we have been looking at and hoping to acquire, we will not take it.
Continue to pray for us that we get the right piece of land, in the right location, that the people and the paperwork all falls into place as it should, to ensure a long term/life time future home for our Abia base.
We are so excited to let everyone know we have welcome three precious new children into our home, Solomon 9, Gideon 7 and Chika 3. The came late in the night earlier this week, and couldn’t believe that this was the house they were coming too. They saw the light on (from the gen) and said to Amos, “Uncle is this your house where we are coming!!?” And Amos said no, this is your home, it is our house together now. They came up the stairs inside with big wide eyes. Our children were sitting inside, while there was a bit of a stare down as soon as we said everyone say good evening and welcome, every one exchanged greetings. After baths and food, all the children automatically started introducing themselves and sharing their ages. Our Chinomso and Chinyere filled the roll of big brother and sister right away telling them welcome and they will like living here with us. The new children beamed in shock at their beds with mattresses and sheets and at new clothes to wear. They have been settling in very well, doing lessons at home already with Teacher Chinedu, playing well with the other children and adjusting to the rules quickly. They are so happy and relieved to be here it seems, despite being a little reserved as things are still relatively new. We are so proud of our other children as the changes in their lives become so evident every day, more and more!
As I mentioned, the current house is going on amazing! We are managing despite the hardship and finding joy and progress in every day
We are also making positive motions forward on our land in Abia. We have found an amazing location and are in the process of having the village elders officially sign it over. When that happens we will begin surveying and then walling. We have also created a working relationship with the Mbaka Foundation which is also in Abia State and its head office by us in the village. Their vision and objectives fall closely along ours, but differ enough that it creates a viable relationship to work together and meet a greater number of needs. We are excited about this.
FCT ( Federal Capital Territory)
We have been putting greater efforts, due to requests for involvement, toward our set up in FCT. There have been some amazing resources and networks opening up to us. Meetings and discussions are still in active process and we are looking forward to concrete steps leading to official set up soon! Stay posted!
Thats right, I finally have a device that is semi-sort of working with internet and I have been able to access our site. So…….
Hello from on the ground over here!
Live has been insanely busy and full of chaos, tension and progress. The house in Abia is doing well and carrying on. Our staff are amazing and make us proud every day. Our children are progressing well. After one year with our older kids, the change is evident, while there is a long way to go, they have come so far! The newest two little guys have brought so much life and laughter into the house, they definitely changed the dynamic.
There have been security issues in the village due to armed robbery attacks and assaults, many way too close for comfort. But the community and security forces are trying their best to manage, so with curfews and citizen vigilantie groups, the attacks have started reducing in the last couple weeks. Also we have finished our security wires around the compound and our new front doors installed.