Thursday, 31 October 2013

Mama, our essential essence

Back where she belongs 
It's been a hectic few weeks at the Happy House. Since Mama and Papa arrived home last month there has been so much going on.
The whole building has a renewed buzz as Mama, back where she belongs,  does what she's good at ... leading her team and being Mama to all the family, regardless of age!
There is no-one happier to have his Mama back than Uncle Billy, our social worker who is key to the management team
Now, he has had a chance to catch his breath he has written this lovely and very touching article about how, for so many months, he had to rely on the essence of Mama and Papa.
""In March last year Mama  and Papa travelled to the UK for the annual Charity Night which is crucial in raising much needed for funds to cater for the diverse needs of the ever growing family.
 It was a break from the previous year which saw the event at the end of the year. As always when there is any new developments affecting the family, our tradition is to share the information  during the weekly Kidz Club meeting which  brings together all the teachers, housemums aunties ,cooks, grounds men, cleaners, security and all the staff and volunteers on a level playingfield with the kids.
The children are actively involved in decision making over matters that are of their interest in a bid to bring up a responsible, confident and assertive young people. They have been told they have a voice and encouraged to use it knowing that adults must take time to listen to  as the children are ,and always remain, our main focus.
The results are immense. Our children are never shy or timid as is always the case in the first days during pre and post admission assessment stages.
On the contrary, our children quickly transform to ones who  are well versed with their rights which  obviously go hand in hand with responsibilities.
 They are developing other social and life skills such as public speaking and also in cookery, gardening, athletics and sports which are a bonus on their physical and cognitive advancement.
In such a lovely atmosphere which also see birthdays being celebrated including the coveted star of the week presentations  for outstanding achievers, Mama and Papa said a  family farewell promising to come back in three weeks time. Mama humbly asked everyone to take of each other while she was away  and though there were sad faces around, Kidz Club ended with a happy song after reminding ourselves that just as we treat our family members, friends and volunteers who live abroad ….’we must let them go, for them to come back’.
 Fair enough.
As fate would have it, things seemed to be working right until when we hit a financial low, had to stop our school building work, and Mama thought it best to stay in the UK to help our Auntie Libby with vital fundraising.
Then health problems set in hence delaying some of the laid out plans that Mama had within her short visit abroad.
 It was difficult to keep announcing that she needed more time before she could back home.
Flashback to earlier days
 Our kids are very accepting and they would also respond by asking us to send love to their Mama, Papa and Auntie Libby whenever we caught up over telephone conversation or in emailing.
 Rose and I would always do so and it wasn’t always easy especially with the staff who would look at us almost in suspicion of foul play.
Most worrying was for the kids who have previously been abandoned, neglected, starved, battered or raped only to come home to a loving and caring environment under Mama’s watch.
In our family they have  become ‘children’ once more after previously having had to grapple with adults roles of  carrying their baby brothers/sisters on their backs, cooking  and even begging for alms for their collective survival and well-being.
Silently, they would wonder whether their world would crash without Mama, sending them  reeling back to the dreaded dark days
. It was a tall order for us to keep taking care of each other and get the jobs done which was obviously doubled after two pairs of hands in Mama and Papa were out of sight.
 However we would constantly stay in touch and we never felt left out in terms of ideas and consultations and the Management team agreed to take an extra mile so as to keep achieving Mama’s dream in sailing  the fast moving Happy House ship while strictly remaining on course.
Our traditional ‘Mad Monday’ meetings always take place in Mama’s office where we all seat in sort of ‘half moon’ facing her. Without realising it we maintained the same position to this date since we always felt Mama and Papa’s presence in our midst.
 Sometimes we would get a depressing call and I would consider working in Mama’s office to offer some support and encouragement to Rose, then expecting her first baby, who would really break down in tears in many occasions. I would take my favourite position in front of Mama’s desk and would hope to at least make Rosie feel not left out in the wilderness.
That way it helped me to remain focused more for us I faced Mama’s empty chair I would think: " Now then Mama how would you like this done’ and I would get a straight answer and a smile saying ‘ Yes, and we have a plan, as always, because we like it when we have a plan!’ 
A remarkable element in technology in the name of Skype came as an integral component in communication hence bolstering consultations and even accountability to the kids when they got to chat with their Mama on a one on one approach.
 It truly saved us from appearing like terrible people who are keeping Mama and Papa from the family with ulterior motives.
 We would in turn conduct departmental staff meetings where Mama & Papa would get all the house, school and gardening reports. This way everyone remained in the fold and we henceforth got bailed out from suspicious glances from the kids and staff. God bless the one who invented Skype!
It is now several weeks since Mama, Papa and  Aunty Libby came home and the family has got more vibrant and livelier.
 All the meetings and general activities have taken a spring and there is more life In everyone involved. The kids are merrier because they are now certain they are secure and are assured of more love and care from their reservoir of hope and pillars of strength in their Mama and Papa.
 Our pecial thanks to Aunty Libby  for taking good care of them while in the UK and for  working hardest to propel the charity work ahead and to the health experts in the hospital who took good care of Mama.
 Kudos to Papa Dave for being a wonderful husband caretaker, soul-mate, cook, shopper, security…the list is endless but, above all, Mama’s Love.
We can’t forget Mama’s childhood friend Joan and her husband who welcomed our  beloved in their home at the Isle of Wight giving them VVIP treatment and a relaxed stay which aided in recharging their batteries in a week long holiday before they came home to us.
Thank you all and may God bless you for you have all contributed to make my dream come true ‘ A brand new Mama has come back to us, of course with a new fashion accessory in crutches which, as she gets more mobile every day, she will very soon be doing without.
I love you  all!''