Dentessi and her grandson, Emile live northeast of Vogan, Togo. Emile does not know his father and his mother lives in Nigeria.
Like all other children at the Deeper Life Church Child Development Center, Emile receives frequent visits from our staff. They quickly realized that the boy was not eating well.
In fact, his grandmother has no work and depends on infrequent financial support from Emile’s mother.
After learning this we decided to add Emile to the Highly Vulnerable Children support. Every Saturday, Emile receives food for the following week, which has dramatically changed his life.
Despite this support, Emile still faces great challenges in life. He lives in a hut, in the heart of the bush, far from the nearest village. His room has palm branch walls and a straw roof, which leaks during rainy season.
Life in the bush is far different from village life. People here devote their lives to farming and livestock. Throughout the day, the melody of the singing bird, the bleating sheep, the crowing chickens, and the croaking frogs joyfully accompanies the villagers during their farming activities.
The villagers seek shelter under mango trees in the heat of the day. There are no kitchens in the few huts that dot the landscape, and food is cooked outside over a few stones strategically arranged as a cooktop.
Since there is no electricity in the bush, Emile rises and goes to bed with the sun, waking at 5 a.m. and going to bed at 6 p.m.
Emile is one of the few children who live in this rural place, and he feeds his grandmother’s sheep and plays in the trees around the house. Though his friends in the village play ball with sports equipment, he uses fruit as his ball.
One night, a snake silently slithered into the hut.
Dentessi tells us,
“That night, we were already sleeping when I heard a noise like that of a reptile. I jumped from the mat and saw that it was a big snake. I burned plastic bags to frighten it, but that changed nothing. I decided to stir up a second lantern to discourage the reptile, but without realizing, I set our room on fire.
I screamed, but no one came to the rescue. I helplessly watched this fire as it ravaged the whole room.”
For several days, Emile and his grandmother had to sleep outside, without a roof or wall of protection.
The next day, the director of Emile’s development center heard what happened to this family. He wrote a Complementary Interventions proposal that was funded a few weeks later. A new room was then built for Emile and his grandmother for a total of around $650 USD.
Today, Emile and his grandmother rejoice and thank donors for this work. They can now sleep safely under a roof without worrying about rain or the sun. Emile is still supported by the Highly Vulnerable Children’s fund, and his life is changing.