Every day in Kenya, someone will come up to you begging for money or food. Some times, they are adults, sometimes they are children. We don’t feel it is appropriate to give anyone money because we don’t really know what they would do with it. And unfortunately, I’m not always carrying around a bag of food with me to give away. But this day was different.
Amy, the kids, and I were out for our almost daily trip to the grocery store. We had purchased most of our needs from one store, but we still needed some other things from the store next door. So, I took the kids to the car with the groceries we already bought. That’s when I met these good-looking guys you see above.
A couple of the boys very kindly asked for some shillings or chips (french fries). And most of the time, I would decline. A couple of them I had even seen begging here in Embu on a previous day. So today, I stopped to talk to them for a few minutes while Amy was in the store. Now, a couple more children were gathering.
I asked them if they have had anything to eat today. “Nothing”, they replied, “can you get us some chips?” I then asked them where they lived. They told me that the slept right there near where we were parked, outside the door of the grocery store. I then proceed to ask if they had any parents. A couple of them replied, “I live with my auntie.” And the few that didn’t respond looked down in sadness. One of them then looked up at me and pointed, “my mom is buried over there.”
So then I was a bit more curious and somewhat cautious about what they were saying was true. So, I took a few steps away from them to talk to a couple store clerks who were watching outside the store to see the event unfold. I asked him specifically about these boys. I asked him if he knew them. He told me a few of them he sees every day. They stand waiting at the back door of the store at the end of the day waiting for the day’s leftovers or scraps to be thrown out. And every night they sleep on the concrete patio outside that door. Their story seemed true. For some of them, it may not have been true. Some may have just been skipping school. But from what I understood, most of them were truly homeless.
After talking to the clerk, I knew that this experience of being begged for food was different. These boys are why we are here. They are orphans living on the streets of Embu with no family other than themselves. This is why we are here. No reason not to give them a little something to eat.
As I was finishing my conversation with the store clerk, Amy came back to the car. I asked her to wait a minute in the car with our kids. I went back to the boys asked them to wait right there. I went around the corner to a small restaurant/cafe and ordered a dozen smokies (small sausages, a little bigger than a breakfast sausage in the US). I came back and told the boys we loved them and would be praying for them every day. I then handed out the smokies and they all rushed to grab one. And most of them said thank you and seemed very grateful.
I knew that giving them something that day would probably mean that they would ask me every time they saw me on the street. But it is a price or inconvenience I was willing to pay. And I would most-likely do the same thing every time. After-all, they are why we are here. If I can’t give them a home yet, at least I can give them something decent to eat for now.
Would you join me in praying for these boys and pray that we can start building as soon as possible?