If one of the children in your care takes her own life and you later discover that all the signs were there but you did not recognise it, you are overwhelmed by despair and self-blame. In 2019, Odette Davids presented training for several months at Living Waters Village, Borneo. She says:
“During the Walking with Wounded Children course, post-traumatic stress disorder was discussed, and I explained the symptoms, including avoidance. The leader of the child protection unit suddenly interrupted the class and asked with tears in his eyes and an expression of pain on his face, ‘Odette, where were you seven years ago? Why did we not know this seven years ago? One of our children committed suicide, and if I listen to what you are saying about avoidance, that is what we noticed in this daughter.’ We paused and spent some time in prayer, asking the Lord to help us that such a thing would never happen again.
“There are currently about 700 children at the centre who come from the tropical forest. They come for various reasons – their parents abandoned some, the community brought others here because they were ill and the community could not take care of them. There is a school at the centre called The Miracle Zone, referring to all the miracles the Lord does there.
“The leaders that attended the training all grew up at the centre as they were all abandoned by their parents.
“The first course I presented in 2019 was the Entering the World of Children course and was attended by all 79 leaders. From this group, six leaders were selected to do the Walking with Wounded Children course.”
During her stay at the centre, Odette was a living example of the principles she passed on to the staff. She not only started learning the names of the children but also basic sentences in the local language, all for the sake of respectful relationships. Odette shared in the household chores and brought joy with her energy and humour. In a short time, she won the deep trust of both the staff and the children.