Have you ever stood in the middle of a dream, not knowing if it was real or not? Have you ever wanted something so much it just HAD to happen? Have you ever thought about the impact of you donating to the Queen’s Castle – I mean REALLY thought about it?
November the 11th 2016 – a day that is imprinted in our minds for a life time. A day that we knew dreams can become a reality. A day we saw our older girls move into a castle built with love, by a loving community, for a loving family to experience safety and family.
Let’s rewind just a little – let’s go back 10 months to a day we sat and fretted about our older girls. Many of the girls that had gone home as teenagers were simply not safe in their communities and so we arranged for them to attend a local boarding school, where Rafiki Mwema could monitor and support them. Where they could be free of the pressures and stigma, that only a child who has been raped and abused in this part of the world, can understand. We can only use the words and imagine the terror of being sold off to an older man in the village as ‘used goods’ because you have been raped as a child. We can only imagine the fear that every time you leave your home the other kids and adults shout at you, throw stones and chase you. We can only imagine the horror when your own mother makes you sleep outside and calls you a dog. Our girls lived that.
We needed a safe future for them where they could stay part of a family that needed even more support and understanding, but also stay safe from attack and abuse. And we needed to ensure we could continue to offer the safety of Rafiki Mwema to other small girls who were sent to us for safety straight from the courts. We couldn’t ‘block’ our system with older needing girls and leave the smaller girls in the rough and non-caring children’s prisons that they were sent to following their rapes.
We were a bit stuck – until Queen Constance brought you into our lives. Until we met an army of Kings and Queens who saw the need to build a safe permanent home for our older, longterm girls where living at home was simply not an option. So you gave us what was needed to build a Castle of love and safety on our own farm – a Castle fit for a Queen – Queens Castle!
What a time we had building it! We found a lovely local engineer to design and organise the project, Kimani. Great great job. We pulled in all the local villagers to work on our castle – this meant that they were bringing in an income for their own families. They were putting food on the table at night – it became the Castle of Dreams for many mamas who couldn’t find work in the rural village that is now our home. John Tipper directed and cajoled from the UK and then for months in Kenya, he made sure people were on task and working well. He conducted an orchestra of love that built our castle.
We arranged an opening day and invited all the local authorities and friends of Rafiki Mwema – and we prayed it would be finished in time. The weather worked against us – we had too much rain and the lorries couldn’t get through. The road wasn’t up to all the traffic that was needed (so we built our own of course!) Most folk worked hard but there were some workmen who didn’t turn up and slowed things down – would we ever be finished in time! Kim and John met and talked – rallied the troops and we all waited! Would we be done in time???
Meanwhile our very own Kings and Queens from the boys and the girls houses worked hard preparing their very own salute to this amazing building. They practised dances, poems, singing, ready to make the day their own.
And then it happened. The 11th of November arrived, our very own remembrance day for all the innocent children whose lives changed paths because of the acts of evilness from another human being.
The sun shone; the marquees, the sound system in place and our beautiful children arrived in their Kings and Queen t’shirts with their proud and hardworking carers. It was really happening!
Our big girls came and squealed, as only teenage girls can, at the wonder of their new home. It really IS a palace! Our Kings looked in awe at the house that you built and wanted to know when they would get their castle! Our baby girls walked round the corner and jumped, smiled and danced to have their new neighbours move in at last – we were back to being one family!
The day was simply stunning. It was filled with love, laughter and a real sense of family and happy memories – one of our boys told me it’s the movie he plays in his head at night now to block out the horror of street life that used to dominate his dreams. How cool is that – you are dream makers as well as castle builders!
We danced sang and cried our way through the day. Aaron Rajomoney (UAVisuals) took the most beautiful photos and Sarah ‘live streamed’ the whole day.
Kids arriving for opening. Running late. Kenyan time
Posted by Rafiki Mwema on Friday, 11 November 2016
We walked on a cloud of love that you had created. We missed our friends that couldn’t be with us, Constance, Chantelle, Rebel and Celeste to name a few – but embraced those who came. Nicole was there as a special Rafiki Mwema friend and to represent Grandma and Grandpa Doyle who bought us the farm where dreams really have come true.
We might be the luckiest people in the world to have breathed in the love and kindness that day. To be alongside our girls and boys, from 2 years old to 18 years, knowing you have built them a future. A castle where hopes and dreams become a reality.
You are the true heroes in our story. You made this happen and the love that radiates in the walls and floors at the castle, started in your hearts.
Because of you a group of beautiful young ladies hang out in a castle, proving that fairy tales can come true. They receive love, kindness, therapy, food, and respect. You did that. How cool are you!
Love Anne Marie, Sarah and the team at Rafiki Mwema
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