In September years of praying, planning and preparing became a reality as a new chapter began for The Raining Season. The Roots Home officially opened its doors welcoming 6 children to their new home. The Roots Project was born out of the desire to help facilitate healthy transitions for older children into life outside of the center. One of our main goals is to connect our residents to opportunities that are individualized to their interests and strengths. We are grateful to see the kids thriving in the Roots Home. Charles Currie, the Roots Project Director, shared an update on the first few months in the Roots Home:
"Since moving the kids into the Roots House in September, we have seen a great deal of progress in the lives of the children and in the program altogether. One of our earliest questions and markers of success was how the kids would adjust to their new environment and home. To our surprise, the kids felt comfortable and at home within a matter of weeks.
Currently, we are in the process of implementing the kids’ transition plans: teaching them basic life skills such as cooking, cleaning, money and time management, and helping them to take steps towards their short term and long term goals.
Coming into 2019, we hope to solidify our transition planning system (including implementation) and we plan to begin working with some of the other youth still at the Center.
During school days, the kids wake up around 5:30 a.m., do their household chores (mostly sweeping and cleaning their rooms) and get dressed for school. 6:40 is prayer time and we eat breakfast together immediately following prayer. The kids are picked up for school by the TRS van around 7:30. After school, the kids come home around 3:30.
They will usually wash and dry their school uniforms and assist with meal prep if needed. We usually have dinner around 6:00 and have devotion time around 7:30. After devotion, we have a short time to talk as a family about things that are going on for the following day or the week. 8:00 – 9:30 is study time. Following study time, the kids go to bed, unless they need more time to study. 10:00 is lights out. There is no TV during school nights. Fridays and Saturdays, the kids are free to watch TV as late as 11:00. On the first Saturday of the month, we have Skype from 12 pm – 3:30 pm at the house.
In addition to Ally and I, we have two of the most amazing caregivers working with us to serve the kids, Auntie Marie and Aunty Cecilia. Both have been with TRS for some time now. Currently, Auntie Marie works Sunday to Wednesday and Auntie Cecilia works Thursday to Saturday. These two do a great deal of hands-on teaching and supervising for the kids. They take the kids to the market, teach them to shop for groceries based on the meals being made, teach them how to take transport and how to barter with vendors (extremely important for life in Sierra Leone).
The kids have begun to cook meals with only supervision from the aunties. So far, each of the kids has prepared and served at least 2 meals by themselves. In addition to cooking, they have also had opportunities to take transportation for themselves. These are huge strides in their progression towards independence.
Alie has been the most eager to learn among the kids here at the Roots House. Not only that, but he also seems to be the most comfortable. Alie has often volunteered to learn different aspects of managing the property. He has learned how to operate our generator, how to supply water to the house from our reserve tank, and how to essentially pay our electric bill. Additionally, Alie always opens the gate for anyone entering or leaving our compound if our guard is busy. Alie also takes a great deal of initiative in leading prayer and devotion time. Alie has preached at church twice (most recently on this past Sunday) since moving to the Roots House. His New Year’s resolution is to preach 5 times this year.
The past several months have been a whirlwind of adjustments and opportunities. We are building a chicken coop on the property for Alimamy, who wants to be an agriculturist. Our kids had the opportunity to travel to Bo, the second largest city in Sierra Leone, with both of our aunties for a wedding. It was each of their first time going to Bo. They enjoyed their stay and the opportunity to see another part of their country.
We recently had the opportunity to meet a woman who is a Midwife in the UK who hopes to help older orphaned children. She learned of the Roots Project and desires to help the young people in the program. One of the young ladies in the Roots House is aspiring to become a midwife; so, our new supporter has expressed an interest in utilizing her resources to specifically help this young lady reach her goals.
In November, we met the former Miss Sierra Leone at the Swiss Hotel. We shared with her about the work of TRS and the Roots House. She later visited the Roots House during “girls night” with the older girls from the Center. She brought some of her pageant contestants and turned the evening into a night of empowerment, encouragement, and fun with the young ladies from the Roots House and the Center. It was an amazing evening.
In December, we celebrated our first Christmas and New Years together in the Roots House as a family. We are grateful for the relationships we have continued to develop, both in country and stateside. These relationships have created new partnerships and opportunities for the children living at the Roots House. Thank you for your continued prayers and support. We are looking forward to the strides that these kids will make in the coming months."
Roots Project Director