August 3, 2007 Part 3
After the Ministry of Hope Crisis Nursery, we were off to the Youthcare Ministries. This is a mission that finds boys that have no homes then gets them off the street and into a stable environment. My head was already spinning from the activities of the day. I teared up several times after leaving the babies. We pulled up to the gate of the Youthcare Ministries, our driver honked and a little girl of maybe four came running to open the gates. Once inside the gates, we saw several teenage boys standing around. Their teachers were not around, but they were more than willing to take us on a tour. We saw their bedrooms, kitchen, schoolroom and garden area. They were in the middle of cooking something for dinner. Stephan was the young man who took the lead in answering our questions. He is 15 and has been at the Youthcare Ministries mission for about two years. Before that he was alone, on the streets, and addicted to drugs. He is now in a safe environment where he can be fed and educated. Stephan was the highlight of my day! He was articulate, respectful, attentive. He loves schoolwork and very happy to be where he is now. The head of the school, (William) was not there, but I will have the good fortune to meet him later on my trip. I was able to look at the books that the boys are learning from. They are learning both English and Chichewa. Stephan also knows a little Spanish. The accommodations are meager. But all in all the spirits are high and the boys seem happy.
All too soon it was time to go back to the lodge for dinner. I wanted to sit and talk with Stephan about his hopes and dreams for the future. I wanted to know what the best thing was about living at the mission and what he would change if he could. “Family is the most important thing,” he said several times. He wanted a sweet wife and lots of children. I had wanted to be the sweet wife and have lots of children too, but things hadn’t turned out that way. In that moment I felt so close to Stephan in our shared hopes for our lives. Time was slipping away, and we had to return to the lodge before nightfall. We said our goodbyes and were on our way.
Oh, how could I forget! A group of us did the chicken dance with the boys. They knew the dance; we knew the dance, and we had a blast!