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He felt safer at 5 years of age to leave his village…

He is a strong warrior that keeps himself apart from our family in so many ways, but is in the centre too – how can that be! He is one of the most complex and …

He felt safer at 5 years of age to leave his villageHe is a strong warrior that keeps himself apart from our family in so many ways, but is in the centre too – how can that be!

He is one of the most complex and damaged young boys on the planet. His early story is harrowing and heartbreaking and in many ways unbearable. He was the third born of four children and was responsible at the age of five to care for his younger sibling while his parents were away from the house. Both his parents drank and were cruel and sadistic.

His first five years had nothing positive – all the things we need to grow up to be able to love and be loved were missing. Instead there was violence and abuse – unthinkable and unimaginable hardships for a little boy who needed to be playing and exploring life in the safety of his family. He was left to care for a baby and keep the house at an age he wouldn’t even be attending kindergarten.

There was an incident and the baby of the house died. No-one is clear what happened – only that he felt safer at 5 years of age to leave his village and live on the violent and harrowing streets in town. The streets where this beautiful baby boy learnt to hustle and sell his little body just to live. Where his infectious smile was not seen, only the face of an angry hurt baby with eyes that burnt through from the hardened heart that continued to beat in his tortured body. He wore his battle scars on his body and hid the traumatised soul with a fierce look. How did he survive so many years with no-one to care in any way shape of form for him?

Several times he was ’rounded up’ from the streets; he spent time in children’s prisons; time in orphanages where they tried to beat the devil out of him – no surprise that he ran away back to the violence and safety of sleeping in doorways, feeding from the rotten foods that were riddle with maggots and mould.

When we opened the doors to our first therapeutic house our (then) manager tried to refuse to take him as he was a boy with a reputation for being difficult – really difficult. But we had known him through our work on the streets and had fallen in love with this angry violent vulnerable and hurting young man. We knew he needed us more than anyone.

He is doing ok. He has an affinity with animals that you would not believe. He takes care of our guard dogs with love, gentleness and compassion that belies his past. He is the first up to feed them in the mornings and spends his day and evenings loving and caring for them. He also spends his days learning to cook – and he is really good! He wants to be a chef and he will be an excellent one. His hardened heart has a slightly softer edge these days – but still no-one messes with him.

He is the keeper of the rules and lets us know if we are being unfair or unjust in any way. His smiles are gifts from the angels and his small pockets of trust fill you with a deep sense of responsibility. He has an inbuilt mistrust and fear of women that feel like hate. His eyes watch you and you can hear the battle within. Can I trust you? Can I be vulnerable or will you use and abuse me like hundreds of others before you?

Can you imagine how it feels when he speaks to you and allows a small physical touch without feeling like you are setting fire to his heart. Small, huge moments on his journey to find inner peace and love.

We will wait for you beautiful boy, for the day you feel safe to trust. For the day you might believe that all we do is for you to feel safe. Trust is a gift and we cannot demand it from you – it wouldn’t be trust if we did.

We will wait for the day that you feel safe to be alongside us. It’s coming. There are small pockets of a safe and caring space you can share. Those small pockets are like popcorn exploding in a pan – fun and exciting but a bit scary too.

We will be a part of your life forever. We are honoured and humbled to share our lives with you and we thank you for staying in ours.


Rafiki Mwema Registered Charity
FIA Organisational Member - Code Compliant