In the wake of this time of the holiday season, our hearts fill with mixed feelings. When the word resettlement started looming around Atin Afrika, we all seemed to be excited for the kids to get a life back with their communities and relatives, but when the time for resettlement came, the kids were so happy and excited about going home but it was a bittersweet feeling in my heart, the attachment we had created with the kids was so big that I did not want to let them go. As difficult it was for us to let them go we were happy and proud of the transformation in the kids.
In the beginning, when we brought all the boys to Atin, they were kids who never wanted to hear anything about going back home. I could read the hatred they had for their villages. When they came to Atin, in the first month we spent a lot of time working on their aggressive behaviour, selfishness and out of control life styles. I have spent my adult life working with and caring for vulnerable children, but these kids were seriously a nightmare. My patience was stretched to the limit but I never lost hope that someday these kids would change.
The kids escaped multiple times climbing over the fence to head back to the streets because they heard a rumor that they were brought to Atin for the sole purpose of resettlement. We had to go and beg them on several occasions to come back and stay. As they got back, we gave them the rehabilitation, literacy classes, love and stability. We brought in a social worker to work with them and I did not warn him that the kids did not like the idea of home, so when Bonniface began his sessions with them the boys resented him because he talked about home. Slowly, day by day, we brought up the subject of home. Personally I spoke to the boys about the beauty of being at a home and feeling that you belong there. I shared with them my personal story of living without a home and how I always wanted to go home where my people were but I had no option or choice. I further told them that they have a choice and are lucky to have homes.
Staying at Atin constantly without accessing the streets, helped them to go over their addictions and realize that it’s not a life anyone deserves and that the only way to live a better life is by setting goals and pursuing them. Slowly they began to transform and interest and desire to visit their homes. We were in disbelief at how happy they were to go home.