It is about noon at the Pikin Paddy. The residents of our shelter for street children in the middle of Freetown, the capital of Sierra Leone, carry out their duties or have gathered in small groups to play. It is unusually calm in the otherwise always very lively house which allows our social workers to gather and talk about their protégés. The social workers arrange the children’s mood using a traffic light system: children who were put under ‘red’ will be discussed separately.
Our team is worried about Josef, one of the older children: Lately he seemed quite sad and he had asked what chances he might have in life. Cap Anamur social worker Erhard explained to him that certainly many possibilites are open and that the team would take care of him even after his reintegration into this family and would help him in finding a suitable apprenticeship.
There is good news from 14-year-old Manty. The teenager is an epileptic and after her family learned to deal with the disease and not to fear it as a voodoo spell, she has returned home to her family. Although she no longer lives at the Pikin Paddy, we continue to pay for her medication and a social worker continues to check on her and her family on a regular basis.
The last child our small team has to talk about in Sierra Leone’s blazing heat is Mohamed. He used to live at the Pikin Paddy for some time and recently returned with the request to become a tailor. Our team found him an apprenticeship and also offered financial support should he prove to be reliable.
Meanwhile it has become more lively again in the house and our team concludes the meeting. Checking homework, playing foosball and reminding everyone to clean up – before dinner there is still a lot to do.