Earlier this year we had a farewell party for eight of our children. They were returning to their biological parents and relatives. On days like this, we feel happy and sad at the same time.
In a childrens’ home like St. Joseph, there are often times when you have to say goodbye to children – although it feels as if they are part of your family. Earlier this year, eight of our kids left to go back into their biological families. This is good news, as the social workers always work on reintegrating them in their old environment and with their own flesh and blood. Family is of the highest value in Zulu culture, and as soon as the situation at home improves, the authorities push to get them back to their mothers and fathers, aunties and grannys. Still, for the St. Joseph staff these are sad moments, especially if children stayed in St. Joseph for many years. This time, we had invited foster parents, sisters and coworkers to join us for a big farewell party. We hired a jumping castle for the kids, everyone got presents and a big zulu meal was cooked. The kids performed zulu dances and sang together, before they had to say goodbye properly on the following day.
The good news about farewells is this: They also make room for new beginnings. Since the eight boys and girls have left us, we are constantly welcoming new faces in St. Joseph. Last week, a new baby and a one-year-old arrived in Mbongolwane. They are filling the halls of our childrens’ home with life – and the circle starts yet again!
Text & Photos: Daniel Scharnagl