Can I hold her...can I hold her?
Today, 2/29, I returned again to Ren Village with both Eve and Grace. Grace had not been there since her last visit in December so she was very excited to see the people and place again. If anything it would reassure that it hasn't closed yet and disappeared. She's been anxious about that over the past two months, so I looked forward to helping her feel a bit more settled.
Upon arrival the children were outside playing Dodge Ball again. She jumped out of the car ahead of me, and was greeted by the shouts of "Grace, Gracie...hello!" It was good to hear their welcome, and I imagined that she was relieved too to see that not all of her friends had left the place yet.
When Eve and I stepped on the playground it was a similar welcome, and even though they had met her last week they were just as excited about holding her again. "Can I hold her? When can I hold her?" Today we'd head inside first before passing her around.
While outside I did share the pictures that were taken the week before and gave them their own copies. Kaya and Dontrese loved seeing themselves and really wanted the pictures, and Timothy was beyond happy to see his beautiful picture with Eve. When I let him know that it was his to keep, he jumped up and down and announced that he was going to go home and put it on the wall. Wow. Jordan suggested that she put it in a frame for him and he agreed so it wouldn't get messed up in his pocket. I thought it was a great idea and wished that I had enough little frames for each of the children's special photos.
After watching Grace conquer the monkey bars we head back inside. We took pictures with Eve, and Timothy even wanted one with Grace. She said no and I sensed that she was feeling a bit shy at the moment. It was still a sweet request that I hope helped her continue feeling good. I was touched once again at how each child was so tender and happy with little Eve. It was almost as if she was a gift for each of them.
As it started getting later, Cynthia started shooing the children home to their trailers. After they all left she sat down with me and answered my questions about what was happening for the remaining families. There are a number of challenges and frustrations in the transitions, and I was left with the knowledge that life outside of the trailer park for many would be difficult. I want to get into more details about everything, but I want to clarify them with her or Margaret first. Basically, inconsistencies in FEMA and HUD's protocal for placement were leaving many without furniture, an apartment in a dangerous location, and not as much money for rent as originally indicated by the agencies. I let her know that once I clarify and summarize what's happening, I'll bring it to the new RESULTS chapter that I'm a part of to see if there's something we could do.
I can only do what I can and hope that there will be some solid rock for them to stand on during the transition. Their May 31 deadline is not that far away.