Papa Fabrice is the “technician” of the SOS Children’s Village in Atakpamé. He's the electrician, the plumber, the carpenter and the one that SOS mothers call for any repairs that are beyond their skills. The happiest of those he visits is Hervé,* who is nine years old.
Hervé follows in Papa Fabrice's footsteps as soon as he sets foot in the house. He carries his tool bag to the place where a repair is needed. Hervé uses the tools, carefully follows Papa Fabrice’s actions, answers or even anticipates his requests, ask questions and takes initiative. Hervé continues to be helpful throughout the intervention.
"All of this fascinates him," confirms Papa Fabrice. "Hervé has a knack for finding solutions to everything that is wrong with Afeye Kpota's houses. His curiosity is only satisfied when something is repaired."
Everyone agrees that Hervé is a good handyman. His brothers and sisters find him protective and caring. For his mother, he symbolizes the reward of two years of patience. When he was admitted to the village, he barely talked and liked to be alone. Today, his SOS mother is proud of his laughter, the bonds he’s built with other children, his tremendous progress in school and his sense of cleanliness.
"Hervé does his laundry, tidies up his things and takes good care of his personal hygiene without my help. He likes to make himself handsome. When he does not see me when he wakes up, Hervé is the first to knock on my bedroom door to find out if I am okay".
Maman Geneviève from the neighboring house likes to tell about the repair of her ventilator one very hot evening, when all hope of a solution was lost before the next day. Like a cartoon hero that all the children of the three houses love, Hervé was able to put the faulty mechanism back in place. "This child will become a brilliant engineer," she says.
*Name changed to protect the privacy of the child.