Der siebte Eintrag oder „The legacy we shall leave behind is the lives we touched“
Dieser Text ist das Transskript eines Interviews, das ich mit Emily Wanjiku, der Managerin und wahrscheinlich wichtigsten Person von SAS, geführt habe. Insgesamt haben wir 36 Minuten gesprochen, was abgetippt wahrscheinlich 6 A4 Seiten ergeben hätte. Deswegen habe ich versucht, so gut es geht zu kürzen, ohne den Sinn zu verändern. Aber keine Sorge, der Text ist immer noch ziemlich ausführlich. Ausgelassene Teile sind mit […] gekennzeichnet. Für alle, deren Lese-Durchhaltevermögen nicht für diesen Beitrag reicht, gibt es ein paar Audiodateien mit Schnipsel aus unserem Gespräch. Viel Spaß und ich hoffe, dass die Sprache keine Probleme bereitet.
Juliane: Hello Emily. Thank you so much for doing this with me. Before we start, could you maybe describe what you were doing before you started working for SAS, so that the readers have a little background information?
Emily: Yes. It´s my pleasure to talk to you, Juliana. Thanks so much for creating time, thanks so much for finding it in your time to talk to me. My name is Emily Wanjiku, I am 53 years old and before I started working for Save a Soul organization, I was a high school teacher. I taught in a Boys‚ school after graduating from my university education as a teacher. I taught in a Boys´ school for 18 years and within those 18 years it was a privilege for me to work for young boys. And I derived a lot of happiness working for the youth and I learned so much. And I think this is what later made me want to work more and more for kids, because […] I even developed an interest in really listening to them, helping them out in their personal issues. And after like 14 years in teaching, I decided to do a masters in youth guidance and counselling – like became a psychologist for the youth. Yeah and maybe those are the same skills that I use to work here, because I get to really understand what children need and what they go through in life and how to help them. […]
I derived a lot of happiness working for the youth and I learned so much.
I get to really understand what children need and what they go through in life and how to help them.
Juliane: […] How long have you been working for Save a Soul now?
It´s been now, I think my 11th year, because I got to know father Kimani and Lisa Gruber in two thousand and I think 11, and that is I think the time they were doing a surveil on where they want to start this. […] I joined them the first time, when they bought this piece of land where Save a Soul children center is. […] And that´s the time they told me they were starting building Save a Soul children center. And from then, me and Lisa and father were in interactions, and I really started now interacting with them, sharing ideas on how to do this. We shared a lot. And whenever they called upon me to do anything for them, I was there. So, it could be about 11 years now.
Juliane: Wow, that is a very long time!
Emily: lacht Yeah, a very long time
Juliane: And how challenging is this work for you personally?
Emily: Yeah, as much as this work is also full of happiness, success, stories about kids developing, growing up and watching families change and watching children to grow up different from the circumstances they were before, there are also challenges that come along the way. One of the major challenges is maybe sometimes […] you´ve really invested a lot of yourself to kids. And all of a sudden you realize: One or two kids have dropped out of high school. I think for me has really, really made me… Those were my lowest moments. When I see a child has so much opportunity to change from their situation. Everything is provided for them. They have a promising future unlike any other child, that didn’t come to Save a Soul, but all of a sudden in high school a child does not want to go on. And it has happened with 3 of our children, no actually four, because another one dropped out last year. So those are my lowest moments. Sometimes I feel like I give it my all, I want this child to go on and on. I call the child, I go to their home, I tell the child “please, you need to go on with education”, but at one point they really do not want to go on. That is one of the challenges. And that one is the major one. […]
Juliane: Yeah, and I also can imagine that it´s not easy to organize so many kids.
Juliane: How do you maintain discipline among them, and you already talked about kids dropping out of high school, but do you have any other problems with disobeying kids?
Emily: Yeah, we do because […] we have a list of like six children, who we are […] monitoring really closely. Because when they are in your hands, […] when you are seeing them every evening, they come and they say “Oh we meet mom”. So, they know, mom wants us this way. But now when they are out of your hands and they have joined other schools, I am not able to follow them to that point. So how am I able to see that child, that we brought up at Save a Soul, now is not really intact, is […] when they bring their academic results home. And you see a child, who was an achiever, has gone so much down now in academic performance. So, you are able to detect that this child has some indiscipline, kind of. […] So, what we´ve done, that these children, that we think are a challenge in discipline: we always want to meet them after they close school and discuss with them the issues. Plus, we want to visit their homes […] and work with the guardians too, because they have very little time with us when they close school. So, it´s not as easy and more kids from m SAS are going to high school. lacht. It´s a big number now. […] So, we keep alert, there is no day you sit here and think you are comfortable […], because we also see the success of an organization is not when you are bringing up kids when they are near you, but when they graduate. When they are in high school and go to colleges.
Yeah, as much as this work is also full of happiness […] there are also challenges that come along the way.
There is no day you sit here and think you are comfortable.
Sometimes I feel like I give it my all, […] but at one point they really do not want to go on.
Juliane: Now another question about the kids: The kids that come here, they come from very poor families. Some of them even had to experience violence. When the kids come here, how do they adapt to the new environment, because everything is new? New faces, new house, no parents […]?
Emily: Yes, […] we thank god that SAS is a very friendly environment from entrance the gate. So, the first and foremost mission and vision is to create and accusive environment for the child, a friendly environment. The minute a child comes in from the gate, whoever is receiving that child has to hug that child, has to smile to the child, make the child feel welcomed. This is a SAS thing. This should be the behavior of anyone inviting that child to SAS, because the first thing is shock. I am from the slum, oh what is this, I have never used even a modern latrine, a modern toilet, I´ve never slept in a place where there are many people, you know. Maybe some have not even seen a bed or a meal on a daily basis. So, the first thing is orientation of this child. […] Even when the guardian is detaching herself or himself from the child, the child should be very comfortable to be left in safe hands. […] No child has ever, okay, we had that child who cried once that they don’t want, they need their mother, and it´s true. The child within the first week – it had very poor background – but insisted on being home. […]. And we had to take the child back home […]. But that is one in a million. […] The majority of the children want to be with us because of the conducive environment of living.
Juliane: And that´s also kind of the next question. You always say that SAS is a big family and the kids call you mom and like you said they brother and sister to each other. Why do think it is important to run this children center as a family and not just as an institution?
Emily: Ah thank you Juliane, good question. For me – that’s me, Emily: if it were to become an institution, then that´s not my calling. And we keep insisting that to everyone. […] As much as it has some rules and regulations that are for an institution, it has to operate as a home. Because this child already has a home at home with their parents and their guardians. […] But still, this is a second home, yeah. It has to be a second family home. With the values of a family – values of a family are respect, love, trust, patience with one another. And the basic one is love. Then this child has no other live. They come here at a very dedicate stage of their live. Seven years, six years, five years. And they stay with you until they are fourteen. They have more time with you than with their home. […] So, you cannot deny them this family up bringing. It has to be from SAS. And children´s homes should be homes. Maybe sometimes you are told by the government: “it can never be a home, call it a center” But by operation and by sheer values of a family for me it should be a home. […] And you know in psychology we say, if you miss any stage in life, let´s say if you miss being loved when you are young, those are the people later they don’t know how to love in the society. They are very rough, they are bullies. Our children even, when they go to high school, they know how to take care of one another. Some of them even become leaders, prefects, because of the family life, we give them.
Juliane: Thank you, very well said.
Emily: Thank you Juliana.
The first and foremost mission and vision is to create and accusive environment for the child.
The child should be very comfortable to be left in safe hands.
It has to be a second family home. With the values of a family.
Juliane: I must tell you: I see you as a person full of hope. And its very nice to see, but I can also imagine, that this job can sometimes be a little hard and frustrating. Like you already said, some kids they go back home, they drop out of high school. What gives you hope to continue doing what you are doing?
Emily: lacht Thank you Juliana. What gives me hope? Personally, I am a person who meditates a lot. I think I value meditation. Every day I wake up in the morning, I meditate on what I do. In the event of some kind of challenges I give myself some meditation. And in the meditation I look to where we are coming from and where we are headed. […] What gives me a lot of hope to go on is: I have a very supportive management structure. From the founders Father Kimani and Lisa to begin with […]. In the event I am faced with any challenge, those people, I know, they got my back and I can count on them. I can count on them any time. […] And apart from working for them, they are my friends. That gives me a lot of hope. That I can have people I can really work with and rely on. The team workers here they have really entered it – my frame of working. They now, what mom likes. We challenge one another, they are my friends. I encourage them every time: Talk to me, talk to me, let´s talk to one another. That gives me hope for tomorrow. If they were a resisting team and an undisciplined team, I would really feel hopeless. When I see the children and the way they love and they are able to love back […]. You need no more happiness than in this thing: loving children and they love you back. You know? […] That gives me so much hope. I look at the many kids that are qualified to be in high school. That in itself is so much hope and actually tells me, live on Emily, live on, to see this kids get out and impact positively to the society. It is so much hope, Juliane, you can not imagine. I look at our first kids, James and Simon, who are already in the university, […] and I see a lot of hope. […] I cannot even wait to see tomorrow, when they graduate, get jobs and come back here, invest back. […] Then when I see SAS growing, now it already has its own school, surely. And I really know, what a school is. With very little time, we shall even be coming an income to support our projects, we shall have more kids to support. That in itself gives so much hope, 100 percent to go on with this work. And encouraging yourself to know, it´s not backwards, it´s forward, it can only be forward.
You need no more happiness than in this thing: loving children and they love you back. You know?
I cannot even wait to see tomorrow, when they graduate, get jobs and come back here, invest back.
It´s not backwards, it´s forward; it can only be forward.
Juliane: Yeah, and talking about forward and future: What is your wish for the future of SAS?
Emily: Yeah, my wish is to see more of our kids, especially from the foundation of SAS, graduate to high school and university. […] To have more kids come in and get supported and impact positively in the society. I can´t wait to see SAS also develop on the education side of a school. Maybe, maybe some day […] we get even a college, for our youth, our young poor children, that cannot get to a university. And I am very optimistic about that. And I pray that it will happen one day. SAS will really grow and it´s going to impact so positively. That’s my prayer, that’s my wish. And I am almost so sure that it will happen. In its own time. […]
Juliane: Thank you, very well said. So we´ve nearly come to an end of our little talk. Maybe you can end this interview by telling us, what is your favorite part about this job?
Emily: Lacht My favorite part? My favorite part is when I can get free time to sit with the kids and not only talk to them, but dance with them. Even at my age, I can challenge them with a dance. That is my favorite time, because it makes me laugh so much and I really like to see their efforts. […] I also love it when I can see them not only with so much of books and homework. My favorite time is sitting with them outside, watching them playing at their own time, free in the compound. That is also a very important time. And even I think, I am loving the moments, when we can have visitors from outside, from our Austrian family. Wow, I am loving it. Because […] they are people who can also tell you: “you do well, you do a good job”. […] I think those are my best moments. […].
Juliane: Thank you what a beautiful ending. […] It was a pleasure talking to you.
Emily: […] Thank you so much Juliana, for your time, we hope to have more in the future.
Danke auch an alle, die bis zum Ende gelesen haben! Und danke liebe Emily, dass du so viele Leben berührst. Meines eingeschlossen.
Ich werde weiter berichten.