As our teams begin to travel this summer, we wanted to take the time to introduce you to a familiar face. Auntie Marie Kai-Conteh has been a member of The Raining Season staff for nearly ten years. Not only is she a part of our TRS family, but she is also an amazing cook! Auntie Marie’s job titles include caregiver and guest attendant. Up until a few years ago, travel teams stayed at the center. Auntie Marie took care of them from the moment they arrived through their entire stay. She would prepare dinner each night and chat getting to know travelers. As teams have transitioned to staying at the Swiss Hotel, Auntie Marie still tends to teams but is not responsible for providing a nightly meal. Auntie Marie does, however, cook one authentic African meal for travelers. She is also known for her amazing chocolate cake!
Auntie Marie has always enjoyed connecting with and getting to know travelers. One particular traveler connected with Auntie Marie over a radio program. In 2013, Janet Rolofson was on her first trip to Sierra Leone. She was helping Auntie Marie with dishes when some other aunties came up on the balcony outside the kitchen. Auntie Marie turned on the radio and it was Dr. Woodrow Kroll from Back to the Bible. Janet asked Auntie Marie if she listened to him often. Woodrow Kroll happens to live in the same small town as Janet and Janet had taught his grandchildren. Janet shared a story with the aunites about a time when Woodrow was babysitting for his youngest granddaughter. She had somehow gotten out of the house and run the block and a half to the school playground. They had been playing house and here comes Woodrow Kroll wearing an apron and carrying a little play broom chasing his granddaughter. Auntie Marie and the other aunties got a good laugh out of Janet’s story. They said that it made him seem more human.
Auntie Marie has spent her life in Sierra Leone. She attended her formal schooling there. She also attended vocational institutions in Sierra Leone, as well as Ghana. Auntie Marie has four children, three boys, and a daughter. Her eldest is a teacher, while her younger three children are still attending school. Auntie Marie shared, “With the help of God I've worked with several organizations so I can take care of my children.”
Auntie Marie has been a part of The Raining Season Staff since the very beginning. Auntie Marie met the first in-country director of TRS and was asked if she might be interested in a job. After some convincing, Auntie Marie decided to interview for a job with The Raining Season. During the interview, Auntie Marie met founder, Erica. Erica asked Auntie Marie if she needed a job. Auntie’s Marie’s response? Only if she could work the night shift. This in itself was a huge blessing because it was extremely difficult to find people willing to work overnight. With that, Auntie Marie began her journey with The Raining Season. When she began, there were not yet any children under our care. She was there to welcome the first children that would call TRS their home. She spent her time working and praying for children to come to The Raining Season. After ten years, you can see how that prayer was answered! Auntie Marie shared, “The first time I saw the kids coming, I started loving TRS deeper because I love children. I continue praying for more children and every blessed day when a child or children come, the love increases.”
Most recently, Auntie Marie’s caregiving has extended to the Roots Home. Auntie Marie works Sunday through Wednesday in the Roots Home. She spends her time caring for the older children and providing hands-on teaching and supervising of the kids. She takes the kids to the market, teaching them to shop for groceries based on the meals they have planned. She also teaches them how to take transport and how to barter with vendors, a skill that is very important in Sierra Leone. Auntie Marie loves these kids like they are her own. She has invited them to attend a wedding with her and even made a special trip to the beach with the kids from the Roots Home.
Thank you, Auntie Marie, for your many years of dedicated service to The Raining Season and for your chocolate cake! Your impact on the children over the past ten years is indescribable. You welcomed the first children through our doors and now you are preparing the kids in the Roots Home to “leave the nest.” We are thankful for the love and guidance you provide.
The Raining Season