It was pouring rain, the streets were flooded. I was driving onto the main road from a garage where my tire had been repaired. The back of the van flew open and two tires rolled out of the back. A dirty dusty child rushed to the road yelling and grabbed the tires. He help lift them back into the van. As he stood there, I asked his name and why he was not in school, the usual. He was very polite, before he had a chance to ask for money, more children arrived - my heart could resist no more so I told them to meet me at a local restaurant. They rushed across the street picking up a few more children on the way. I entered the restaurant and found no empty tables. The children were being chased off the door step while I hurried to ask a waitress if it was ok to bring them in. I told the chaser that these children were my guests. I asked a woman seated alone if she would help me with translation and I would buy her lunch. She smiled and the children sat at the table. One by one they went to the sink to wash at least their hands. The woman at the table knew some of the children. Serendipitously, she was the manager of that restaurant and on the board of a large children's NGO in Kenya. Together we got names and short stories about each child. One school had closed for the year and most were students at that mission school. Two of them were only about 6 years old. One is in a desperate situation.
Here are two stories...
Julius. He is the dusty little boy who rescued my tire from the street. He is quite bright. His Mom and Dad are alive but do not live with him or his brother. He lives with his grandmother. His brother is hired tending camels. He is 10 years old and attends the New Life School in Class 2. When not in school he is on the streets looking for any work or moeny he can find to help his grandmother buy food.
This is Abdi. I had met with Abdi several ties on the streets since I arrived in Isiolo. Each time I ask where is your mother and he responds at home. Why are you not in school, he replies with buy me a bread. So finally I had a chance to know him better. He is 6 years old, born of a woman who does not know how to care for him nor does she try. He is on the streets and has begun stealing and other
antisocial behaviors. He has gone to some of the feeding programs but when he sees and adult he runs away for fear of being beaten. He has never attended any school. This child is a serious case. One thing that impressed me the most. As we were leaving the restaurant, the other children ran off and headed for the next chance. Abdi returned and stuck out his hand and said Thank you. I was reminded of Jesus and the ten lepers. I plan to talk to the Chidlren's Officer about Abdi and his mother and his situation.
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