Just as the first sign of light shot out of the clear sky, I heard all sorts of singing!
My eyes were heavy with sleep and I couldn’t open them without some extra force. It had been so hot at night and just when it was getting a bit cool the birds began singing lullabies in the nearby thicket signaling the end of the night and the start of another day. Soon they were joined by a chorus of small voices.
I turned over on my 1 inch thick mattress to convince myself I was just in a dream but the more I stayed still the more the noise grew. In a moment I heard tiny footsteps outside my tukul and soft voices whispering gently, “Eugenio, we are ready. You promised us yesterday.’’
The early pleas came from some of the children I had fun with the previous day and unknowingly promised to join them in the morning games. Ohooo!!!!! What did I do?
It suddenly dawned on me that I had not only made one promise but several of them. Soon more would come. It was 6.30 in the morning. It was time to wake. I couldn’t keep them waiting any longer.
Typically, Saturdays are my favorite days while I am at our children protection centers. It is the only day the children have all the time to relax from a long week of classwork. What this means is all the energy stocked throughout the week is released on a Saturday.
It is no wonder then the children are up before the sun rises.
When I crawled out of the tukul I was greeted with a loud applause! Their morning songs had worked.
Several groups arrived and each had their own game. Before I realized I was pulled from all directions as I was dragged to the field. What a better way to start the day?
On the field I am forced to participate on all manner of games. Those which I know and those which I have never seen in my life. The children are ever patient with me as I try to join them in their fun.
At the beginning of every game we all sing in jubilation and participate in a jig.
A pre-game jig brings loads of giggles.
Soon the bell for breakfast rings at 10 am and everyone runs to be the first on the queue. Of course, the losing team is never happy.
As I lazily limp back to my tukul my heart is celebrating with joy for the tremendous change in the children. It has been a long journey to bring them to where they are now. As soon as breakfast is over more groups come running for me and that becomes the order of the day until sunset.
The effects of lifting up the vulnerable are clearly seen on the children who are under our care. Right outside the gates and in the surrounding communities things are quite different. The level of extreme poverty which has also been compounded by decades of war is clearly visible. Malnourished, dirty, and underfed children roam the desert hunting rats. Play is rarely possible. Survival is the master of each day. Every time I see them my heart breaks knowing the suffering they are going through.
Every member of the community wants their children to be admitted in our child protection centers for consistent food, loving care, and access to education. However, with our own limits our process of recruitment is very strict in order to ensure we bring in the most vulnerable of the vulnerable. Every year hundreds of orphans show up at the gate hoping to be recruited but there is only a limited number of spaces available.
When you Give LUV, your partnership makes a direct impact in preventing human trafficking and lifting up the most vulnerable. Together, we provide food, housing, education, security, employment, sustainability initiatives, medical and spiritual care. These important resources are key components to addressing vulnerabilities and ending exploitation and trafficking.
LUV’s mission of lifting up and empowering vulnerable children and women is critical. With every gift of LUV you equip us to stand with the most vulnerable. Together, we can see lives, hearts, and nations transformed with Christ’s love! Join us!
Partners in Christ,
Chief Program Officer
Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Sudan, South Sudan and many East African countries have limited travel and closed schools. These travel restrictions have also delayed our child sponsorship updates and letter delivery.
Please be patient with us as we navigate how and when to move forward with these important visits while seeking to do all that we can to protect our children and indigenous partners.
Our partners and the children also need our support more than ever. We want to ensure that no child is left behind during this global crisis, and even more so, we are steadfast in our dedication to saving the most vulnerable from a lifetime of trafficking and slavery. In these uncertain times our work now is more critical than ever. Your prayers and financial partnership will help us save lives!