There are some successs stories despite the overwhelming nature of the work here. There are several hundred children that I work with in one way or another, but some I am trying really hard to make a difference with. Small bits of progress have been made with several kids I am working with. I'd like to share with you some of their stories.
Peace has been one of my special girls since the first time that I came. She has quite a sense of humor and likes to act out to get a laugh at home and in class. I started a behavior chart for her and have been checking with her teachers and parents daily to see if she has been making good choices or not. It has been almost two months now since we started. Every time she reaches so many good days, she gets a special treat. Her teacher says she is a different girl altogether, and her parents say that the prayers and accountability are working! She is about to earn a cake by having a month full of good behavior! There are still days when she messes up, but don't we all? Overall I am really proud of her for making changes in her choices.
Isaac Ayensu is a sweet 9th grade boy with an amazing artistic talent. This week I arranged for him to begin private lessons with the school's art teacher twice a week. I am really excited that he will have this opportunity to develop his skills! He could make a career out of his talent either as an architect, designer, or just straight up artist.
Winnie is a 15 year old girl that doesn't look older than 11. She is short and is in the third grade. She tends to lie about her age, embarassed about her height and lack of academic skills. When I first got here she would run away when I would come for tutoring at her house. Two months in she was beginning to be more receptive to reading, and even seemed to enjoy some of the books. When the student teachers arrived, I asked if one of them would work with her house several times a week. Lindsay and I have both seen significant progress in her attitude towards learning in the school reading group and the evening tutoring. She still can't read, but at least she wants to come to reading group, and is excited about reading/tutoring times!
Ebenezer is one of the 21 kids who came out of slavery on Lake Volta. He is very angry. He has deep emotional scars from his time on the lake and the cruelty he endured there. Kimberli (his adopted mom) and I started a behavior chart for him similar to Peace's. Only I have to check up on him by half days, because asking him to make good choices for a full day is a little overwhelming for him right now. I just started with him on Sunday, and he has already earned 4 stickers! I am proud of him for starting off well. He is a smart boy, but he just has so much anger. It is important for him to learn to control his anger now before it becomes an ingrained response. Pray that he continues to make good choices in handling his anger.