Sunday, December 2, 2012

For A.

Hang on, peeps. I'm about to get out my soap box....sorry.

First, can I just say, these people are real people? They work hard, harder work than most of us will ever know. They laugh and joke, they love their families, and they love their God. I get defensive when I hear American perspective on their lives, but I would be lying if I didn't say that I have my opinions, too. It's kinda like, you can talk about your family all you want, but if someone else talks about your family...look out. It's not what you think here. They don't need what you think they need. And they certainly don't need your pity because, the truth is, we don't have it all right. We have much to learn. Much that they could teach us.

At the same time, these real people have real struggles.  Struggles beyond anything that most of us will ever know. Struggles that most of us seem to, all to easily, push to the back of our minds. I don't know how to make you feel the burden, I don't know how to make you see how simple the solution really is. I know all of this "Africa", or whatever, seems daunting, so I wanted to give you the story of one boy.

Thursday afternoon we had just finished lunch when a group of boys from the orphanage came to our house. This isn't really out of the ordinary, but sometimes in the hustle of life, it feels inconvenient. They were there to tell me that one of them had recently been reunified with his family. The family had not been accepting of him and he was actually sleeping on the streets. This is one case of many that have ended up like this as the government continues its reunification campaign because "every child deserves to be in a family." I'd go ahead and agree with that, except that I would probably stop short at this 'family' or others like it. Which happens to be the case with many in our area. I choose to believe that they are not bad people, they just simply do not have the means.

We have been in this situation before, and since I have been accused on a couple of occasions of "starting my own orphanage", I have to be careful. You also can't always be sure that a child is telling the truth. I told the boy, about 13, that he could stay for the night, but that he would need to go speak to our community leaders in the morning. There is something about having a young man at your dinner table, eating his first good meal in who knows how long, that puts things into perspective. Something about hearing the warm shower running and running and running, that makes you think. Something about seeing him still cuddled up asleep at 10am the next morning, because he is in his very own bed for the first time in his life, that puts the brakes on any remotely negative thoughts you've ever had about your current situation. Or maybe that's just me.

Friday morning, he went meet with the leaders. They told him he would return to his family. This time the family accepted, but they said they would not be able to afford food or school for the boy. And this is where the story ends. He went 'home' to his 'family'.

Can I just tell you that this boys school costs about $35, A YEAR!! That's it. And, actually, the schooling is free. The $35 covers the cost of shoes, backpack, books, and pens. Education is the only way up and out of this and this boy almost missed out on because of $35. He is not the first and he won't be the last. Please don't believe everything you hear or read. This reunification is not working. Please don't close your eyes to the reality. And the responsibility we all have.

This young man will start school in January, thanks to His Chase. They are doing a mighty work for the children at the orphanage and education is THE BEST place to start. You can help.


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