Grace and Mabel have been attending Chikumbuso School for some time. We were really sad when Grace, the older of the two sisters, came to say her family was moving and they would no longer be able to attend school in the new area. Grace wants to be a journalist when she grows up. At Chikumbuso, she has many opportunities to meet members of the press from both print media and television. Her dreams might be big for a little girl from the compounds, but when you watch her quiet dignity and inquisitive questioning, you can see that dream becoming a reality. We knew we couldn’t just let it all fall apart for her.
We asked her parents to visit and talked with them about the possibility of having Grace and Mabel stay at the Safe Haven when school is in session. At first it seemed that just Grace would stay, but we urged that Mabel also should stay. She is in Grade 3 and her parents felt she wasn’t old enough to stay away from them, but we reasoned, that if she can stay in school, her future has great potential, too.
Mabel has turned out to be quite the comedian. The little girl we thought was just a shy one, unsure of her future or dreams, standing in her sister’s shadow, has shown us who is boss. She’s been very clear about her chores, which ones she wants and which ones she thinks are too hard for her, since she’s just a ‘small one.’ She likes cleaning the room every day, and is very diligent about it. But laundry is out of the question – that’s Big Sister’s job.
Food Lover’s Market dropped a donation of sweet buns. Mabel held onto hers until after dinner as a dessert. When Gertrude popped her head in the bedroom next morning, Mabel was still holding the bun in her hand. She’d fallen fast asleep before she’d finished it! The joy of savoring that first bite dropped her off into a dreamland of sugary confections. Gertrude suggested that she come have a proper breakfast, “No, no, my bun, I’m still eating it,” as she wiped some sugar off the corner of her big smile.
She is a darling and it is very sweet to see the Safe Haven operating at full capacity with so many smiles and lots of laughter. Mabel may not know that the small things she says and does help to ease everyone else’s load, but smiles and laughter really do the trick. Keep it up, Mabel.
Life can be tough no matter where you live or your economic circumstances. But small things like smiles and laughter – they’re good stuff. Find a reason to smile today, even if it is just imagining this one little girl holding onto her sweet and dreaming adventures through the night.