First, we have success.
Vincent completed his first class of vocational training a while ago and has been waiting on his test results. He asked if he could go back to the village while he waited and of course I said yes. Well, in making arrangements for his travel, the uncle spoke to Vincent's dad. Turns out, the dad has his own garage where Vincent can complete an apprenticeship and learn more. What is the best part? His dad agreed to letting him study there. Vincent wen back to the village a few days ago and we are considering him resettled with his family. His dad is happy to have him back, wants him to study at his garage and has the means to take care of him. It seems that Vincent is happy to go back to the village and there is no reason for him to come back to us. We are hoping it will stay this way. We will continue to check in on him and make sure he is doing ok, but for now I can happily say that he is right where he belongs, with his family and that is where I hope he stays.
A little side note about resettling. First, I am no expert. I don't know really what the best method is but I do know that when possible, the kids should be with their biological families. That is where they learn their customs and culture. It is where they will inherit land and form bonds with generations of their families. For me, it is so important to reconnect the boys with their families. So with that being said, the logical question is probably why don't I just resettle them instead of bring them into the home? Well the answer isn't easy and is a bit complicated. I think that taking boys directly from the street back to the village works for boys that ask to go back home or ended up on the streets because they were lured away from their village or taken. Sometimes they even get lost or left in the city. But for boys that have spent years on the streets, I don't think it is so simple.
Time has a way of distorting things. Maybe they just need someone to be angry at. Maybe all of the good memories have wasted away or maybe there were none to begin with. I don't know what it is but many of the boys when they came into the home, hated their families and never wanted to see them. It took time and encouragement. It took talking and counseling. It took seeing other boys go back to the village and come back with good stories. So we don't force the boys to go back but we let them come to that decision on their own. Thankfully, we have had all of the boys return to the village and all of the reunions were happy but one. That doesn't mean that all of the boys can return to the village for good, because for some, they will never be fully reunited with their families. But when it is possible, we want to give them that option. For now, Vincent is happy. We are praying that he learned enough in the home to cope to the different issues that arise. We are praying that he doesn't run again. Please be praying for him to adjust to life in the village and to really focus on learning at his dad's garage.