How do Angel and her friends look upon Peace Home, and Aziza? Angel (aged 9), Emily (10) and Tessa (12) shared some thoughts: Regarding what they have learned from Aziza (“Mummy”, to them), the girls mention a lot of the practicalities that children in intact families may take for granted. “She has taught us manners, how to look after ourselves and keep neat.” They have learnt how to “be a family” and how to do homework – important as far as school is concerned. The girls go on to specific things important to them: learning how to swim (all three), how to cut food (Emily and Tessa), and to like veggies (Tessa hated them when she arrived). And endearingly, from Angel: “She taught me how to talk.”
Living with Aziza is better than the life they have known before as they feel that they have more love and discipline, and learn respect, care and goodness. And living in a house with all the other kids? They like it here. “It’s fun. It’s exciting. It’s happiness!”
Peace Home provides activities much enjoyed, including swimming, camping, and just playing. Then there are the special things, or treats – movie theatre, PJ parties, popcorn and movies. A special mission of Aziza’s is to give the children back their childhood and where possible provide experiences which kids love and which these children have previously missed out on.
Despite some earlier negative experiences at school, these girls are now happy there and find it exciting and fun. No doubt learning to write and do homework, and learning manners and personal neatness have a lot to do with acceptance and competence, and therefore with happiness. They see a future for themselves out there, too, with Tessa wanting to be a ballet teacher, Emily a dancer, and Angel, a social worker. Interestingly, besides love of school and doing homework, the girls enjoy telling jokes, suggesting developing senses of humour, and time out for fun.
Finally, the girls shared what they think are important things for them to do in life. These goals and aspirations are concerned with others, suggesting that they have indeed learnt how important happiness and acceptance are, and how devastating rejection can be. They want to help kids on the street as part of the need they see to help others, and be kind to them. To play with others and to be friends with them are important in this respect.