Still in my pajama’s, sleep still in the corners of my eyes, on the way to latrine for the first time that morning. Still, yes still, in a daze I meet a young boy and his mother sitting at our single table waiting to speak with us.
He’s fourteen. He appears 11 though. He’s terrified and won’t look me in the eyes. His mother, nervous but hopeful, they come to us for help. A recruit in the army he sits on the eve of battle and they heard we were fighting for cases like his. We keep our new sponsorship program on the down low as we don’t need people, (armed people… ) hearing about what we’re doing. Rescuing boys, who without intervention, would be picking up AK47’s rather than pencil’s this fall.
Another boy, an older one in our new little family, he sits at about 18 years and has been fighting since his 15th birthday. Escaping just 4 months ago he follows us around like the cutest of puppies, knowing that with us lays a life he can be proud of.
His name means “Heritage” and I feel it such an honor to pour into his future.
We met him in July and he’s been eagerly awaiting this day since then.
He dreams of finishing school. That’s it right now. One day at a time. So that’s just what we’ll help him do.
We met him at the same time as another boy Franke. Hearing their stories was one of the most impactful days of my life. What they’d seen, what they’d been through. Without any good answers to so much of what they told us, we had decided to pray. Jesus knows what to do!! And of course he did. Our sweet boy with tears streaming down his face felt the love of his papa and from that day on, his consistent nightmares of battle ended.
And now Excellence Rising…I say this all the time but that’s because it’s true AND it’s one of the few tangible things we can do NOW to protect our kids- Schooling. The reports show over and over again, I’ve done my homework, the safest thing you can do for a child during war is to put them into school. It reduces recruitment into the army, lowers chances of rape and educates them to not repeat the life that they’re seeing all around them.
This bush trip we hired new teachers for our expanding Excellence Rising bush School. (Quite possibly the only new developments in the area!)
We needed something close and safe to the village for our little ones, so we’re using a church on a hill. Meeting with the pastor of the building I wanted to cry. Mostly because I’m so humbled. This sweet man could jack up the prices for rent, everyone is so needy here. But instead he gives it for free: “For the next generation” he says. Uh. He is the gold laying hidden in the Congo. I take a picture and at the same time I want to cry at what the photo holds: a few cracked wooden slats for desks/benches is all we have. But here, here is where we dream. We dream for greatness. We dream together. “For the next generation”
“Whatever you do, as long as there’s no active fire- keep the kids in school” I tell my staff. I know how the system works. I know a child’s vulnerability if they’re not in the classroom.
An inspiring speech and some bread from the city summed up our final Educators meeting. I’m so proud of them! These teachers are such treasures and working their booties off to create a safe place for our kids. I love them.
So, a mix of life and stories galore that could go on for chapters not just paragraphs. If you want to sponsor a boy in our program or give a one time donation for helping pay our teacher’s or finish our nursery school- http://bitly.com/justicerisingproject