It is a season of change, and here at MGRC we are seeing great change, as well. Though we are not yet where we want to be, we are better than where we were. Life here is rarely linear, but often a series of two steps forward and one step back. But we continue to push forward, because we know the girls deserve our very best.
I am thrilled that everyone is now moved to the new site, though circumstances aren’t as I had hoped or planned. Problems with our, now former, contractor delayed construction and the girls’ homes still aren’t finished. Consequently, the girls are living dorm-style in the building that will house our career center. And since there aren’t showers in this building, the girls are currently bathing using buckets. The hotel was actually the first time we had ever had showers, so the girls have experienced this before, but I am anxious to get them into the comforts of their own homes.
The girls eat and study in the dining hall, and play outside in the small courtyard. Though we have a lot of land, until we do some landscaping, we aren’t able to use most of it. When I say landscaping, I don’t mean what we think of in the West, but rather things like leveling land, installing roads and controlling erosion. We have contractors on site building the roads and doing the excavation now and hope to complete the project around the Multipurpose complex by June.
In addition to moving our home, the girls changed schools and they are thriving in the new environment! I’m so proud that several of our girls have already been chosen for leadership roles at their new school. It is a better school environment, with teachers that are much more engaged. We are attending a new church, and have a pastor who comes to teach Bible study classes on the weekends. We also have volunteers from The Foundation for African Medicine and Education (FAME) who spend time with our older girls on the weekends. These are doctors, nurses and other professionals who provide spiritual guidance, as well as mentoring the girls about their futures. It is exciting to have so many wonderful adults pouring into the girls and giving them hope.
Speaking of hope for the future, several of our girls have opted out of school to enter our career program. Many of our girls come to us in their teens never having been to school. Though they can choose to stay in school all the way through, it isn’t always a practical choice to be in the classroom well into their twenties. They are currently learning how to make butter, yogurt and ice cream. They also have learned how to bake, and even made the cakes for our last birthday celebration! They are proud of their accomplishments, and I am happy that they are learning skills that they can use in the future to support themselves.
The four foster children who were staying with us have been relocated by social services to a place that can keep siblings together. As two of the children were boys, they couldn’t stay with us long-term. We have also added a few new residents, one being a very young girl who was being terribly abused by a family member. It is a horrible situation, and it reminds me of why we do what we do.
As always, I am grateful to all of you who support us and allow us to continue in our mission.