Up until recently, the list of people living here (in Sarah's house and the volunteer house) included Sarah, Melinda, me, Patrick, Danaelle, and Dada. Now, the family has grown to also include Ismanie and Ziggy, as well as Linda during the day!
Ismanie: A couple weeks ago, social services called Sarah with news of a 14-year-old girl who had been kicked out of her home when she became pregnant. I think she was staying with her aunt because her parents are out of the picture. Since Olive Tree Projects has taken in a few other pregnant teens in the past, social services called, hoping they could find a safe haven for this girl, Ismanie. Sarah agreed! Social services arrived soon after, with Ismanie in tow, and we got her all settled in. She now has a file in the clinic, where she'll be receiving complete prenatal care, and she has a bed in Sarah's house, where she now lives, eats, and helps out! She's got quite a spirit and sense of humor, and it's great to have someone Danaelle's age around. I think Danaelle was needing a peer and friend her own age. Ismanie came to us about 7.5 months pregnant, and is now due to deliver in a few weeks! I would love it if I could still be here when she has her baby, since we're all part of the same family now. :)
Melinda with Ismanie and her growing baby bump!
Ziggy: I've mentioned Ziggy and all his craziness in the past. He's the local neighborhood delinquent who hangs around Sarah's yard and alternates between making trouble and needing to come for a meal or drink of water. His dad is a drunk, and Ziggy's home life has always been a little... tenuous. A few days ago, Sarah found him lying out in the street, and he had clearly just received a beating from his father. This time, he had gotten kicked in the nuts, hard, and the poor guy was out of commission for quite a while. He spent the day sitting quietly in our house, and finally claimed that he'd be sleeping here. Sarah said no, and sent him home to his grandmother. The next day, we found him in the street, this time with big welts on his arms from the worst beating yet! After conferring with Ziggy's aunts, Sarah agreed to take him in, at least for a trial period...! None of us can quite believe that Ziggy is living here, since he's been such a pest so many times, but Sarah and he had a good long talk; he seems to understand that he truly needs to behave and help out if he's going to continue to stay here. He's certainly a lot nicer and more polite now that he lives here and has more to lose if he misbehaves. So far so good, for the most part!
Ziggy on a good day, enjoying a coloring book
Linda: Just under a week ago, we heard about yet another pregnant teen who doesn't really have a great place to stay. A few of the local boys have gotten to know her since she spends her days roaming the streets around here and trying to befriend people who might be able to give her part of a day's work now and then. She has a temporary place to stay, but the people giving her a space in a little hut (they're not even family) have told her that once the baby comes, they don't want anything to do with her. For now, during her pregnancy, she'll be coming around here during the day to join us for meals and any other activities, and she can still stay at her current home. Once she gets kicked out, if we haven't managed to find any family or friends who want to take her in, we might consider having her stay here for a while until she can stand on her own two feet. Sarah heard that Linda has an aunt who really wants to have a baby but can't (or at least recently miscarried), so maybe the aunt can take the baby and Linda will be able to keep her home, or perhaps stay with the aunt. We'll see...!!
(I don't have any photos of Linda yet.)