So we have gone back and re-traced and re-searched for family members of our boys. Many of our boys have been able to return to parents and family members who lovingly accept them. Praise the Lord! And we have enrolled many of the boys in a new boarding school that is near our Bombo Homes (so we can visit and check up on them, but they will go back to their own families during the school vacations. The government mandates that we still support them financially, to ensure that they will stay at home and remain in school. We don’t want to risk families not paying for school fees- causing boys to run away.
Abby, our director, has been keeping me updated on some of our boys going home. Our social workers have been working so hard during the last few months to visit families, discuss with them the possibility of caring for the boys, and evaluating whether it is a safe, loving, supportive environment for that boy. Here are some encouraging reports about some of the boys returning home…
*Names have been changed for privacy purposes.
“It was a blessing in disguise for RONALD'S father receiving him. His father has been very receptive to counseling over the different visits we have had with him in the past. Ronald wanted to be reunited with his father. His father said he was proud of Ronald. Every person who saw Ronald on our visit was amazed, as he had grown up and at the same time transformed.”
And my favorite story of all. Our hard work paid off and had nurtured Damien’s development into a mature, wise, hardworking young man! Accepted and loved by his family again.
“DAMIEN is one of the children that were warmly welcomed by their relatives. Damien’s aunt eagerly wanted to live with him, so today she was blessed to hear that Damien would be staying with her during his school holidays. She had said that she loved staying with him during this last Christmas for 3 weeks, but she had been hesitant to request him to stay with her permanently, as she thought we would stop paying his school fees. She was so excited to have him be resettled with her and relieved that we would continue to provide for his education and needs.
“When we asked the aunt how Damien conducted himself during this last Christmas holiday, she said that Damien had totally changed in a positive way. He kept him self busy so he never loitered around the village, and, above all, he is now so hardworking. She concluded that whatever Damien did before he left for streets was due to childhood, but now he has grown up and changed greatly, and they are proud of him.”
*Don't mistake a lack of a smile as unhappiness with these families. It is not common for Ugandans to smile in pictures.
But Some of our Boys Are Not so Warmly Welcomed...
*Again, names are changed for confidentiality.
“JOHN's grandmother is financially not stable and she has two other grandchildren who are sometimes not in school. It's very hard for her to raise 15,000 shillings ($6) for each child each term. She told me that the father to her grandchildren died and their mother ran mad, so she does not know whether the mother is still alive or dead.”
“JOSHUA's grandmother remembered the hardships that she went through when the boy went missing from her home. The grandmother was upset with Joshua’s mother because when he had gone missing years ago, the mother had accused the grandmother of sacrificing him. The father had also denied Joshua, saying that he was not his son.”
“For ALLEN, it is complicated, the stepmother says she loves him but keeps accusing him of stealing and kicking him out of the house. However, we have had zero instances in the street outreach programs, homes, or homeschool of Allen stealing. His mother seems to have conditional love for him and little patience, which he just truly doesn't deserve. It is tricky...”
“DAVID loves his grandparents and they love him, but he has a bad uncle that had lived with them in the past and had made life too difficult for David to stay there. We asked him whether David’s uncle still lives at his home where he said yes some thing that scared David this clearly proves that he used to abuse him. So I could not resettle him but only to bring him back to school.”
When I visit the Homes each week and observe the boys who are still remaining in our Home School classrooms, I can tell some of the boys are feeling disheartened. Some of the boys go on these home visits with our social workers- expecting to maybe stay with their families, then they are forced to return to Bombo. They know that Bombo is a place where they are loved and we will continue to care for them, but I think the rejection from their biological families really wounds their hearts. I can see some of the boys becoming disengaged in their school work at times – distracted by the evil feeling of rejection and displacement.
Please pray for the sweet boys are still in Bombo...
2 Corinthians 1:3-7
And Pray for our boys who are feeling rejected and alone. Pray for them as they remain in the Bombo homes. I think some of them are feeling abandoned by the other boys who were able to go home… and now they are eager to be with their own biological families. Pray that they feel an extra dose of love from the Lord today. Pray that our aunts, uncles, and teachers can be attentive to their emotional needs at such a sensitive time.