Who could have imagined our new world with the lockdowns, uncertainty and fear reverberating throughout the world? It is difficult for all of us to take in the sudden and gripping change COVID-19 has ushered into our daily lives.
We at Hope Now feel it is vital to reach out to our support network and let you know how we are doing, adapting to our new reality and maintaining a home with 56 kids on lockdown – a feat of incredible proportions for our house parents – who by the way continue to be the bedrock of our success at every level of life.
It is in these times we are grateful for the years of effort we have put into creating a “family.” To see our college kids come home after classes were cancelled for the year and engage with the younger kids in their studies, initiating and leading a daily yoga class with limbs flying in every direction and laughter as they try a new pose in unison – is a breathtaking testament to our long-held vision that we are a family first.
Ravi – who is working toward a bachelor degree in hotel management – is home now and took charge in the kitchen since our cooking staff cannot come to work. He wants to be a professional chef and his passion shows as he instructs the other boys how to chop, stir fry and spice up the rice. He is creating new recipes, menus and enthusiasm in the kitchen.
Roja is spearheading sessions on confidence, positive thinking and resilience. As she stands in front of the room, white board filled with instructions and her trade mark “bossy” voice, she commands attention, which is needed as she wrangles a room of many tweens and teens. In the end, she is laughing and hovering over a group of girls working through their assignment.
Of course, we have days where no one wants to behave, because that is what all kids do when they are cooped up too long, still have to finish their studies, make their bed and do their own laundry because we have no staff on site during this period of lockdown.
For us, following the safety protocols are literally life or death. HIV is an infection that destroys the body’s immunity and we are all at risk. We continue to educate the kids on the reality of the situation, but at the same time be sensitive to the fear that can grip a young mind. We are constructing creative avenues to have discussions that inform and also provide a hopeful vision of whatever life will look like when this has passed.
We look forward to the future, going back to school, finishing degrees and going to the movies. From our family to yours we wish for you a time of health and safety.