SOS Mother at the market at Children's Village Tarija, Bolivia…
SOS Mother at the market, getting dinner for her children at the SOS Children's Village Tarija, Bolivia
To go with this picture I have a story of a little boy from SOS Children's Village Sucre, Bolivia. Little Juan was only 11 months old when he lost his mother. It was under such circumstances that the baby was welcomed to SOS Children's Village Sucre where he is now growing up with the security and support of a lovely SOS family.
His father, who was facing extremely difficult economic problems, couldn't take care of the baby; so, with all the grief that comes with leaving a child, he asked SOS Children's Villages for support for providing his little son with an opportunity in coming to the SOS Children's Village in Sucre.
Then, the child's case was studied by the social workers of the village, and finally, the baby's father brought him to SOS Children's Village Sucre. Once there, several SOS mothers caressed the baby with tenderness and, all of a sudden, an SOS mother came forward; it was SOS mother Felicia, who, with great enthusiasm and love, requested the baby became part of her SOS family.
Soon afterwards, the children of Felicia were informed about their new brother and, as always, the children were happy and hurried to organize themselves to receiving little Juan. Among other things, they had made a list of turns to hold the baby, so the baby always felt accompanied.
And although the house was sprawling during the first days, because everyone was crazily playing with the baby, the members of Felicia's family organized longer periods to play with the baby, and since then, the baby has been accompanied by his brothers and sisters most of the time. In other words, he has not only received love, but has given the family new input to present themselves even more united.
Witnessing such a lovely welcome, the father of the baby deeply thanked Felicia and her family for all the love he felt when the baby joined his new family. Before saying goodbye, he stated: 'I will visit my son very often while I am alive. I will help him with everything I can, because I want to see him grow up with love... and if God decides to take me home before, I will be happy, because I know my son is fine and that there is no better family in the world than this one.'
A woodland scene from the SOS Children's Village Brandenburg, Germany
This part of an interview with Constanze Lucke, who was born in 1966, Germany.
Were your parents born during the Second World War?
Yes, they were both born in 1939. They were children during the war. We used to talk about it a lot. I remember how my mother said, "When Dresden was burning, you could see the flames in Laubusch." And she would tell of the sirens and how they had to take shelter.
How was it for your parents when the German Democratic Republic (GDR) came into being after the war?
As funny as it may sound, the GDR times were good times for us. We weren't badly off. Family life was very important to us. We had a lovely flat, did a lot together and had our oasis at the allotment. We were happy. I think we were contented with the simple things in life. I don't need carrots that have been washed. There was sand on the carrots, but we washed it off. All right, we couldn't travel, that really was the case, but personally I never felt the need to travel. If we did, we just went east, to Moscow or Kiev.
And when the reunification came?
When the reunification came, on the day they opened the borders I sat quietly first of all. I thought, "All right, that's how it is now." A lot of people drove to West Berlin in their Trabis that night. I thought to myself, "It won't run away," and so it was a fortnight before I went to the other Berlin for the first time. I went to a supermarket, where there was a mirror behind the display of fruit and vegetables, and nearly had a fit! I couldn't tell where the fruit ended and the mirror started. I thought this excess of goods on offer was just dreadful and quickly left the shop again. I'll never forget that fruit and vegetable display and this misrepresentation of the facts.
Do you have a good friend, with whom you can talk about things that are important to you?
Yes, I have a good friend and I don't know how I would have managed to get through some situations without her. She's an SOS mother too, in SOS Children's Village Lippe. We trained together in Mörlbach and we became very good friends. We visit each other regularly and our children, that is her foster and my foster children, get on well together too. If things start getting difficult here, I can call her at any time of the night or day.
Did you ever think about starting a family of your own?
It's strange, but, because I was working in the children's home and had such close contact with the children there, I never felt the need for a family of my own. I always thought, "If I'm going to have children then I want foster children." I heard about SOS Children's Villages and that's when it became clear to me that this was the path for me: to be there for foster children.
What do you like to do best when you're not working?
If I take the time, I like to sew or make things. I design little flower children, made from natural materials. That's something I learned in Mörlbach. I finish a little doll every two or three months. I also like to go for walks in the woods. Those are the two things I do when I need a change. On my days off, I visit my friends and relations.
What do you think are your particular strengths and talents?
I think I'm a quiet, well-balanced person who can listen well. My particular strength, I think, is that I can put myself in somebody else's situation well. I have got sensitive antennae for other people's situations. I also enjoy doing housework and I don't find it a problem to cope with everything: running the household, the family tasks and my private life. To find a balance, so that I can be content.