Our first week at Nkosi’s Haven has been rather overwhelming. The teens have been receptive and eager to achieve many objectives while we are here. They have demonstrated an unyielding commitment to changing the status quo in their community. Their energy is unbelievable. They have chores, other commitments, and yet they still come to our cottage at night to discuss further goals they want to achieve while we are here.
Based on the conversations I’ve had with the various teenagers, it appears to me that they feel that the disrespect or condescending tone from those in leadership positions has affected them most. A few have described the feeling they have from these caregivers as destructive and intimidating. Some have lost so much hope that they refuse to even speak to the therapist on site, their reason is that the therapist would comply with those in charge and not believe (the child).
This kind of mindset has led many teens to seclude themselves from the community and any therapy services provided by the institution. This has also led to many incidences that the administration is not aware of and the teens engage in destructive activities amongst themselves, such as body mutilation, alcohol and drug use, unprotected sex, as well as violence towards each other. The most profound revelation is that these activities are taken part by kids as young as 5.
As we enter week two, we are hopeful and resilient in achieving the goals we have set forth for the week. We have our scheduled meeting with the caregivers and mothers to discuss their attitude towards the children. We will create a community manifesto in hopes to have every caregiver and teenagers sign it as a symbol of future cooperation between the two parties, and also with intent to unite the community more. The teenage girls will write a proposal this evening, Sunday July 8th, 2012 requesting school hats and scarves to protect them from the cold. They have been able to schedule their own meeting, and will be prepared to meet with Lynn on Tue.
This has been our first observation, and we will update you further about the progress made next week. Have a good week all.