It is nine o’clock in the morning the premises of the SOS Children’s Village Monrovia is already crowded with children of the village. Many of the children gather under the trees playing jumping-rope. As I make my way to house # 12, there was something impressive about that home.
In the home was Walator, a thirty-seven-year-old mother of one, who works as a caregiver, a task she had held for three years now. I asked her to share some of the most challenging and inspiring moments as a caregiver. I was blown away by the responses. From the phenomenon of the situation to the wonder of a home banding together to help each other, I found these responses interesting and heartwarming. And I delighted to share them with you.
She said to me we all have a story, some are packed, full of adventures while some are emotional and overcoming diversity. These stories are a vital part of our work, who we are and why we exist. Interestingly, they can also influence the decisions we make.
“No matter how much we are confident or love our children, caring for them can sometimes be a very stressful job. These circumstances at times make our role as caregivers even more difficult” Waletor lamented. Waletor lives in house 12 at the SOS Children’s Village in Monrovia along with 10 children including her biological child. She is one of those who are committed to providing and promoting quality care for children and young people at Monrovia village. Amongst the 10 children, also are Becky and Ishmael who were brought to the SOS Village in 2015 as one of the thousands of children whose parents were affected with the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD). During that outbreak of Ebola in 2014, a total of 28,616 cases of Ebola virus disease (EVD) and 11,310 deaths were reported in Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone according to the Center of Disease Control (CDC).
Fortunately, not infected with the Virus, Becky and her sibling Ishmael were two of seventy (70) children who were admitted into the SOS Children’s Village Monrovia and found a loving home in the arms of a loving mother.
Waletor joined SOS Children’s Villages Liberia 2015, barely two months after Becky and the rest of the 70 children were brought to the village.
“My supervisor, the mothers, the village, were all watching to see how I am to handle this ordeal” waletor noted. She maintained I have learned and I am still learning in my caregiving experience.” Coming from for a family of 14 working with children is entertaining for Waletor. She said “I love it, maybe because I am a single parent.”
Beside eight-year-old Becky and her six-year-old sibling Ishmael, in house 12 also are, Joseph and Josephine who both parents are visually impaired. They were admitted to the Monrovia village in September 2018 respectively. House 12 mother is amongst the few mothers whose biological child is living with them in the village. She told me that her acts of caregiving are directed to one person-her only daughter weedy. Waletor biological daughter Weedy came to the village in March this year to live with her mother and the rest of the children.
Weedy and the rest of the children staying in house 12 are bound together by love under one roof and under one mother. They are developing physically and educationally, leaving the past behind.
Weedy is nice and funny. She’s very compassionate and concerned about others living in the home. She is truly one-of-a-kind. Her special qualities helped the other children to get alone in the home. When I asked weedy…how do you feel staying at the SOS Children’s Village with the rest of the children?
This is what she had to say “I am thankful for the opportunity afforded me to live in the village with the other children, this is an opportunity that other which to have.” The privilege of living in the village aid weedy to wanting to do even more for her siblings in the home. She does things like buying her favorite candy for her siblings.
Don’t Get Mad, Get Funny: Mother Waletor Caution!
Of course, the household of house 12 are not perfect people, but they are a unique family with unique circumstances. There are others who might be in the same boat as they are or even worse. This household has learned to care…to be there, day in and day out. Going for a walk, playing games and having fun together is part of their daily routine. In many ways, mother Waletor time with the children makes them feels lively.
Sharing stories not only provide them with quality time together but it’s validated the importance of their time together. One of the ways they try to reduce their stress and feel better is to share fun and laugh. Laughter has improved both their physical and emotional health and it helps them to feel renewed and re-energized.
“I attended the closing ceremony of Becky and Ishmael last academic year, I saw my children sing at the program. I participated in their ceremony and danced at their program. Always I got to be here for my children. They’re smart kids. And to tell you… I’m proud of them.”
As they are bonded day after day through the telling of stories and having fun, they have learned the importance of family, discovering what was missing, and helping each other find a way to be happy. I ‘m not sure exactly how they are so connected, but I think they have something in common that bound them together so tightly. Single parents, Ebola orphaned and visually impaired.
Weedy as little she is, she learned to give to people, especially those in need. She tried to help those who are where she was several years ago. She is not a caregiver, but she is special.
Waletor keeps her children informed and together. She tried to encourage them to rise to the level they are capable of. She really believes in their potential and knows, it takes a village to raise a child. As a caregiver, she has made some gains in the lives of the children in a relatively short period of time.
Waletor told me that there are treasures in caregiving and also there are moments when you reap. “Both caregiver and care recipient are blessed,” she said to me.