Today I would like to introduce you to the newest addition to All Things New: Tilene. She is 7 years old and in the 1st grade. Tilene came to start living with us this past Friday afternoon. Our connection to her is through one of our house moms. Tilene’s mom died within the last few years and her dad is too old to care for her. She does not have any other family that can care for her. The decision to bring Tilene into the All Things New family is not one we take lightly but after getting as much info about her situation as we could and praying through it, we knew Tilene should be living with us.
So, much of this past week was spent getting the necessary things for Tilene. We needed a new mattress and bed. We had to go talk to a local school to see if they would let her in this time of year. We had to meet with the kids to let them know about Tilene. She would be the first child we have ever brought it that the kids didn’t already know and have a relationship with. The kids showed nothing but excitement. We also met with the necessary house moms who would now be caring for her. Like they always do when we put more work on them or ask them to change something, they went about it immediately. Noucheka is the house mom who cares for our younger girls during the day on weekdays so she would become Tilene’s primary care giver now. She simply asked what day she would come and proceeded to tell me the things we would need to get for Tilene. Our house moms are amazing.
So Tilene’s dad brought her Friday afternoon around 3pm. We were all there waiting for her and Hiwerli even yelled out “Tilene”! once she saw her pull up. We had told her dad to bring everything she had which came in a not very big purse. Tilene I know did not have any idea what was happening and was just excited to see the kids and the toys. Her dad asked us to please empty out her clothes so he could have the bag back. We began to introduce her to everyone. Sophie immediately learned her name and followed her around calling it out. One of the first things Tilene did was pick Sophie up and try to twirl her around (and they are almost the same size). Everybody (including Sophie) yelled out NO! and Tilene put her down grinning. We showed her her new bed and a Barbie doll I’d managed to find in my cabinet. Then someone from downstairs yelled that her dad had to go. We told her to go hug him which she did very quickly and came back upstairs. She very soon after told us she’s hungry so the girls went to work getting her a snack. Noucheka then proceeded to do her hair which I love so much. She immediately started to mother her (so did Yolmenda by the way).
So far, here is what I can tell you about Tilene: she is 7 years old and acts more like she’s 4. She is beautiful and full of life. Friday she was excited and by Saturday and Sunday she just looked scared. While we are so happy Tilene has found a place where she can have consistent meals, go to school, and be loved and taken care of, the magnitude of what has just happened in her life is not lost on us. I laid in bed Friday night just thinking about her. Thinking about how this would change the course of her life. Thinking about what kind of world we live in where there are millions of Tilene’s out there. It can be so hard to understand sometimes. Our days here are so busy with all kinds of things and then something like this happens and it just stops you dead in your tracks. It makes you remember whey we are here and why we do what we do. It makes you remember that this world is full of injustice and we are here in Haiti trying to put a miniscule dent in that injustice.
We hope you will all welcome Tilene into the All Things New family.