For over a year now you have been reading about my work at the shelter and the girls I work with so I thought I would finally take some photos to show you exactly where I work. My Refuge House is set on the side of a mountain overlooking the ocean (and even another island in the distance) and it has an absolutely beautiful view; however, due to confidentiality I can’t show this is the photos, you will just have to trust me on its picturesque nature. You will also notice a lack of people in my photos for the most part and this is for the same reason; I have posted photos of the girls before but I have to be careful and not show their faces. It is pretty quiet today at the shelter today so I thought it would be a great time to get some snapshots of the area. I hope you enjoy the tour of this beloved shelter.
The cluster below shows the first My Refuge House home that until recently housed all of the girls and staff offices, as well as the home-school area. This house has now been turned into a Transition Home for girls in college and/or working. Several offices are still located here, including mine, but it is a pretty quiet space at the moment. Our Transition Program is new so we currently only have several girls, but by January we will be able to hold around twelve participants.
These two little homes are the new cottages for our long-term girls and they are wonderful. Each cottage holds six girls with a separate room for their house-mother. Another cottage is in the process of being built but you cannot see it in the photo; all three of these were funded by some of our incredible partners in the U.S. Each home functions as a family with girls having chores and various responsibilities.
This is our new pavilion! It was only finished several weeks ago and we are all crazy excited about it. A wonderful church paid off all of their loans and decided to give the shelter a beautiful gift of a new building where we can home-school, hold meetings and trainings, have presentations and performances, and even eat all together. In these photos you will see the new classroom, which will also function as a computer lab once we have all of the necessary equipment, along with a great kitchen space, and outdoor cleaning area. Its all very exciting!
To end this tour we will head outside. These photos (though not very lovely on my part) show the several gardens at the shelter. The first photo is the space where we hope to create a healing garden in January which would provide a healing atmosphere for our girls and staff. The second photo is our amazing aquaphonics system where we grow tomatoes, herbs, and tilapia! The last photo is the impressive eggplant field that we should be reaping the benefits from here shortly. They do such a great job maintaining all of these areas (there is also another garden not pictured).
So, there you have it. This is where I have been spending the majority of my time over the past year and I would not trade it for anything. It is such a magical place to work and I am blessed every day by being the presence of supportive staff and loving girls. I was recently gone for a ten-day Peace Corps training and when I arrived back at the shelter I received the most phenomenal hugs which reminded me exactly why I come back each and every day.
P.S. You can check out My Refuge House by clicking here.