“My name is Sam [name has been changed]. I’m thirteen and I arrived at Casa Vida in 2008.
I came to Casa Vida because my stepfather was arrested for abusing me since I was six. My family was angry with me and my mom was worried they would hit or kill me because of my stepfather’s imprisonment so she sent me to live with the nuns. After six months I ran away but the police found me and took me to another organization where after two weeks I also ran. It was then that I was I brought to Casa Vida.
Here it was different. I was able to go back to school, play and feel happy. But one day when I was in school I decided to run away too. I thought that if Aunty Simone really loved me she would look for me but if she didn’t then nobody really loved me. I walked all afternoon without knowing where to go but that night Aunty Simone and Uncle Levi found me. I was so happy to see them again! When I told them why I ran away they said they really loved me and that I didn’t need to run away to understand this.
In four months time I will have been at Casa Vida for five years. I’m in sixth grade at school and in Casa Vida I have learned many things. When I got here I only spoke the dialect of my village. Now I speak Tetun, Portuguese and some English. I have studied computing and sewing. I learned that I have value and that God loves me, and my Casa Vida family loves me too. My residence is called House of Love where I live with with Aunty Rosa and 10 friends. Baby twins Rebekah and Rachel also live with us in the house.
We live as a family, but I dream one day to graduate, have a job and go back to my village to speak of God’s love to my family and also help my mother and my brothers. This is my dream!”