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Winter 2006/2007 Newsletter


An early friendship at the SOS transit home, Bakoteh

A baby’s world at SOS Children's Village Bakoteh, The Gambia

Thirteen little smiling faces and four dedicated women welcome you into their special house at SOS Children's Village Bakoteh. Life here is different from life in any other family house in the village.

Since 2003, the transit home has offered a temporary home to abandoned babies for up to eight weeks. After this period, and if no alternative solution is found, the Social Welfare Department asks SOS Children to admit the little ones into a family house. Of the 32 babies who have been cared for over the past four years at the transit home, ten are now part of SOS families.

Friends at an early age

Musa* is eager to discover life. He is a friendly 15-month-old boy who always welcomes you with a big smile. Although he is very gentle with all his housemates, they have to be very careful when it is time for the milk bottle: he is a fast drinker and would always come to snatch others' bottles for a little more milk!

His friend Kawsu* is about the same age. When they are together, the two boys talk a language that only they understand. They are already able to explore the world by themselves.

Ramatoulie is one of the four "SOS aunties" caring for Musa, Kawsu and their housemates. "A regular day starts at 6:30 am and finishes at 10:00 pm. We first bath all the babies before giving them their milk. We make their beds and wash their clothes. When it is time for their afternoon nap, we get a rest and enjoy lunch. Later we gather the older ones to play in the sitting room. That's when children from the SOS Children's Village spend some time with the little ones."

Close ties at the SOS Children's Village

"Unlike older children, babies don't tell you why they are crying. You just have to try your best and see what could calm them down. The attention they require is such that we often have sleepless nights. But it is also a very rewarding work" she adds. "They are like my own children, and I know that they need me. I am proud to do this work!"

It can also be emotionally difficult. Even after a short time with the babies, Ramatoulie confesses that it is "very hard when we see one of the little ones leaving us for one of the village houses. We wish all our babies a good life.”

Update on the new SOS Children’s Village in Basse (Eastern Gambia)

Construction began in January 2006. The family houses and an administration block, as well as most of the boundary wall, have been built. In late Spring, the first children will arrive at the new village. Sponsorships at SOS Children's Village Basse will be available from June 2007.

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