Yesterday was an emotional one as we laid Saffa to rest, one of the kindest and brightest of children. Such was the regard in which this fine boy was held there was a grand turn out for his passing with classmates and school friends, teacher Aunty Gladys and principal Sam King from Rising Academy, Mohammed Bah from the Ministry of Social Welfare, Gender and Children’s Affairs, friends from his congregation, neighbours and aunty Margaret from Initiatives 4 womens and girls empowerment joining Barney, Saffa’s aunty Mariama, his brothers and sisters and the Hope team to pay their respects and mourn this young boys loss.
The memorial service for Saffa was conducted by Saffa’s Pastor, Israel Bendu of Gethsemane Deliverance Ministry, Hamilton and the Reverend Apostle B.O.T. Sesay of Gods Kingdom Harvest Church, Lakka who offered comfort to his surviving brother, Barney, his brothers and sisters at Mama Mayila’s Cradle and his classmates with tributes and readings from Saffa's Aunty Mariama, Uncle Williams, Miss Dee and Mr Sam King from Saffa’s school, Rising Academy.
Saffa James was just 12 when he gave up his soul in peace. A survivor of last August's mudslide, where he lost his mum and dad, Saffa was such a resilient boy, much older than his 12 years. Saffa worshipped every Sunday at our local Church in Hamilton and was the kind of child who applied the lessons he learnt there to how he carried himself in life. Saffa was elected head boy in December where his calm, fair-minded and even-keel personality shone through. He studied hard - never wanting the answers to his homework just the words he didn't understand explaining - and he was absolutely thriving at Rising Academy with particular passions for science and astronomy and above all football. Saffa loved putting together skits and sketches with his brothers and brought acrobatics into their routines and Saffa always had some smooth moves to show on the dance floor. Saffa was just such a nice, sweet-natured kid.
The night before Saffa passed Aunty Isata and Aunty Zainab stayed with him and Saffa told them of his dream. Many of the children from his village had come to get him and take him back but he didn't want to go and grandma and the aunties had helped fight them off.
Burying a child is no easy thing - we felt such terrible loss when we buried baby Liam and Patience but there was some blessing in that they were spared their suffering - but this child, Saffa, he was so vital, so intelligent, so kind and considerate his future stretched out before him full of genuine promise. And to have his life cut so short this way, his promise unfulfilled, is just so hard to bear, as one kind person comforted: our hearts hurt.
Saffa James may your fine soul rest on in perfect peace your brothers and sisters miss you much already but know that you sit proudly and honoured at His side now.
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