When the team first arrived about a little over a month ago, we walked up to the home, the kids put on a little singing performance for us, and then we stayed a little longer to play with the kids. I couldn’t help but notice that one of the kids had a severe burn on his foot that had destroyed all of his toes. He is so young and it seemed extremely sad to me. After watching him over the next couple of days, I noticed a few things.
First I noticed this kid was full of energy and that he loved running around and teasing the other kids. He has 2 friends that help him to accomplish this. Because of this, I was a little hesitant to get to know him because the little troublemakers always give me the hardest time to connect with. Even when I would babysit in the states, I would try to keep my distance from the ones who never listened and give them something to distract them from being bad.
Another thing I noticed was that when the kids were eating, this child was more like a human garbage can than anything else. He would always go to the other kids and try to get their leftovers, and when he couldn’t get them, he would bite them. I thought it was a little funny I am not going to lie, but obviously he was punished because of it. After seeing this, I had to know this kids story. Where he came from, and why he is the way he is.
I learned his name was Justin. In the home, he is known as troublemaker #3. Mainly because of the things I have already shared. He is 4 years old and before coming to the home has more of a story than most of us will probably ever have in our entire lives. He was found living on the street begging for scraps and having to fend for himself. Hopefully like me, this story does something inside you to let you know thats not right. I did not know him then, but when he was brought into to home around March last year, he never smiled, and would not interact with the other kids. I guess if I was in his shoes I couldn’t really blame him.
It took a couple weeks, but one day I was sitting at the home and this little trouble maker managed to steal my heart. There are times when at the home that I let the littler kids sit on my lap, and this wasn’t really one of those times, but Justin was siting next to me and we were making noises at each other (the true way to my heart is to be able to communicate with strange noises) and somehow he ended up on my lap. It was innocent and cute, so I just went with it. He kept looking into my eyes saying my name and giving that cute little kid giggle and I just fell in love.
Now when I see him and go to the home, he is almost always the first one to run up and give me a big hug. When we walk to school he always wants to be right next to me and if the other kids in his school try to call me pumwey, he defends me and lets them know that my name is Jen!
I am sure that most of you have young kids in your life. Whether its your own kids, nieces, nephews, siblings, or kids that you babysit. I would like to ask out of love, what makes them any different from a kid like Justin? Sure they probably have had a home to sleep in since they were born and didn’t have to live on the street and steal food from people, but its not his fault. That is not the life he chose for himself, its just what he had to deal with before things could get better for him. Like most 4 year olds, he is full of energy, loves playing with other kids and is obsessed with repeating everything you say. Take some time today to pray for and remember kids like Justin who need an opportunity to become something great, even if they are a little mischievous.
As always, thanks for reading my post. Everything is going really well here in Mokanji. I still need about $3,000 to be able to stay the full 2 years so if you want to help out with that I would greatly appreciate it! The place that you can do that is ltlol.com/jenprevity. Thank you so much and if you wish to contact me, or have questions my email is email@example.com
Let them LOL
Sierra Leone, On the Ground Coordinator