“I wish I could go to the park,” one of the children at the children’s home whispered as he prepared for bed.
“Yeah, I wish we could go on a field trip together,” another child mentions.
“What did we say we were going to do, when we wish for things?” chimes in Ene Oklo, Back2Back staff.
“We write it down and put it in the jar!” both boys answered back, then went to write their wishes down on a piece of paper.
The children and captains at partnering children’s home in Jos, Nigeria had been spending much more time together under shelter-in-place orders. Normally, captains live separately from the children’s homes and come and go, but to ensure limited visitors and people going in and out, staff stayed at the homes through lockdown orders. It was a busy time making sure the children ate well, completed their household duties, and remained engaged in educational activities, while also having fun.
At the beginning of the shelter-in-place mandates, Ene Olko, captain, overheard the children expressing things they wish they could do. She decided to offer a positive spin in the midst of their new day-to-day routine.
“The children said they wished they could do this, or they wished they could see someone they love, and I didn’t want them to just dwell on what they couldn’t do, so I told them, ‘every time we wish would could do something, go somewhere, treat ourselves, see someone we love, visit a new place, or invite people to our home, we will write it down on a small card and put it in a jar,’” explained Ene. “’Then, when this is all over, and our lives feel normal, again, we will go to our bucket list we made, work our way through the activities, and be more grateful than ever for the small things in life!’” The children caught on to the idea quickly, and enjoyed watching the jar fill up with the magical things they each looked forward to.
This summer, I want us to eat fruit, if we can, after every meal.
This summer, I want us to visit a garden with flowers, and a swimming pool and have a competition.
I wish we could do a sleepover, swimming lessons, economic class, art class, dance class, have a water drinking contest, and let’s go for adventures!
While the wishes listed might seem mundane to an outside eye, they are meaningful activities unique to the author who penned them. Once lockdowns were lifted in Nigeria, the children and staff at Destiny enjoyed movie nights with snacks, worship nights, park visits, and a special breakfast together. Even in uncertain times, Back2Back staff offered care for today – providing food, educational assistance, and a culture of fun. They used this unique experience to reflect on what it really means to live as family, in community, trusting in God. Hope was also provided for the tomorrows God would still ordain – planned moments shared with those they loved.
Now go start a jar for your own home and the tomorrows to come!