What do you think of when you think of home? I think of the best things, my family, my animals, my bed. I think of how home makes me feel, safe, settled, relaxed, at ease. Merriam-Webster, says this, as part of the LONG definition of home.
-the place (such as a house or apartment) where a person lives; -a family living together in one building, house, etc.; -a place where something normally or naturally lives or is located.
I know that after 15 days in Africa I was SO ready to be home!
Street boys run away for various reasons. Some run because home isn’t a good place. Some run because they don’t want to go to school and live a scheduled life. Some run because someone outside the home is hurting them. And some run because there isn’t enough to eat.
[Agape believes] “the best place for a child to be is with his own family, as part of his community. Whenever possible [they] seek to return children to their families and offer what help is needed to equip the family to lovingly care for their child at home.”
Unfortunately not all boys stay home. The pull of the city is strong, especially if they struggle in school and most do because they have missed so much. Out of the 6 we went to see one had run again. No one knew where he was. It was tough to hear. Hopefully he will find his way back to Agape where he can work though his struggles and be able to go home to stay. Since 2009, Agape has touched over 1300 boy’s lives. Over 600 have returned and stay with their families.
My first day at Agape was House Visit day. Checking on those boys who had been reintegrated. I was very excited to see the end result that Agape works so hard to accomplish. These visits are done at regular intervals by the Reintegration Team, John and Betty, in order to keep up with the child and help out the family when needed. Whenever possible, Agape visits the actual domicile so as to evaluate the boy’s home life both physical and relational. We visited most at home and a couple at school, as it was a school day. The boys I saw at school were with their friends and with the headmasters, going over their school work with the Reintegration Team. John and Betty would talk with the boys too so as to get their perspective on how things were going at home and at school.
During the 2 hr lunch break the children go home if it is close enough. That’s where I met mothers, fathers, grandparents, uncles and aunts and brothers and sisters. John and Betty and I would sit down inside their huts and hear about the boys and the needs of the family. John would share about Jesus if they were not familiar with Christianity. Then a prayer and off we would go to the next home. The caregivers (I say caregivers because not all of the children go back to parents) were always happy to see us and John and Betty were very kind and loving to the boys.
We saw 5 boys that day. It was a very long day but full of satisfaction and joy at seeing the progress of reintegration that was happening.
Their homes were very different than mine but they were clean and full of love. Home is where the heart is, where you feel you belong, more than the actual building. I saw families living together giving love and support, and that is what home is all about.