Not sure of the hour right now (maybe 11 or 12 o’clock@ nite), but I feel compelled to write anyway despite the conditions. Where I reside is not the best but far from the worst. Presently, I sit in a sweltering bedroom while mosquitoes buzz in my ear like small jet-engines. Only minutes ago, I showered teacup by teacup of water over my dust-covered body from the nearly all day journey from Nairobi to rural Kisumu (actually, make that Ahero, an even more remote town not big enough to be mentioned on a Kenyan map).
Reality sets in though, as I think back to the two days I spent with the Covenant Street Ministries boys, and I stop myself mid-thought and ask, “Really, Leah? You have the audacity to complain about a bucket shower and mosquitos overhead when you just spent time with boys that live in these conditions on a daily basis?”
Even worse is taking a glance back at where these boys come from. Victims of the streets in the heart of a Nairobi slum. Either orphans without a father and mother or sent out by their guardian because they cannot afford them.
Urchins of society living as bands of brothers attempting to survive the harsh conditions of life on the street.
Boys stuck atop garbage heaps scavenging for food. And when the food is scarce, these boys resort to other means to quell the hunger pains. A small bottle stuck in their sleeve is their saving grace. A small bottle that once inhaled can enable them to have some sense of escape from reality. In societal terms, it’s called sniffing glue. In their terms, it’s a way out. Once attempted, like any drug, it’s difficult to stop. And addicts these boys become.
On the streets, thievery is a lifestyle. If caught stealing though, it’s “MOB JUSTICE” at their back. Police (and common people too) are summoned, and these boys (some as young as 6 and 7) run the risk of being killed. Often beaten or stoned, very rarely will anyone speak up on behalf of a “street urchin.” In fact, I was told by our driver (a Nairobi local) that the government pressures the local police to “clean the streets” of these boys. After all, Nairobi wants to appear clean for touristic purposes.
The bodies of these boys are frequently burned to conceal another victim of the street. Just ask John (our Pamoja Charity team leader). In January, he saw the corpse of a “street urchin” just outside the church where we worshipped last Sunday.
You would think that all hope is lost in regards to these street boys. It’s difficult to read, but even more difficult to witness. But hope is not lost; in fact, hope is thriving.
All thanks to one man with a vision, two men sacrificing their lives, and a charity coming alongside to give an inch of hope and then some. Details to follow…
Until next time,