Wilfried is 14 and in his last year in middle school. Two years ago, he was almost last in his class and unable to pay the fees to release his paperwork to advance on to the next grade. Now he is first in his class and it looked like a bright future ahead and on to High School. But kids in dysfunctional, father-absent families don’t always have a smooth road. The difference the last two years in Wilfried’s life is that we were providing him and his sister room and board and daily encouragement.
In November, his family reentered the picture and forbid him to continue to receive this help. What a shock to him, us, and his friends at Togo House. He is sleeping in a tin shack with no privacy and not able to do his studies well. This year when Christmas rolled around, all the kids at Togo House were looking for a way to make Wilfried feel better, so they choose him to be our Papa Noël (Santa Claus) for the Christmas activities. Usually, an adult plays this role but it really seemed to be an encouragement to him.
One of the greatest gifts Togo House can help people recognize is their gift of compassion. It can be sadly lacking in a difficult environment. But our group let the heart of God touch the soul of an abandoned friend and nothing says “Merry Christmas” better.