“my family is finished.”
riding home from sam’s house in a matatu, i was overwhelmed. crying, i wrote:
sammy is back in the streets. for the first time, yesterday, i found him sniffing jet fuel. when i asked him why, he told me, “my aunt told me to come home, then she told me to leave. i’m confused, i’m alone, i have nowhere to go, so i want to forget. i want to sniff.”
and sam. sam came to kenya from tanzania with his mother when he was 8 years old. his mother passed when he was 9. he’s been alone and on the streets ever since. now he’s 17. today, for the first time in years, he tried to call his uncle in tanzania, the last connection he has with his family. the line was disconnected. he returned the phone, stopped, and said quietly, “my family is finished.”
as we sat in the clinic waiting room, waiting for sammy’s wound to be cleaned, he listed to my ipod, softly singing, “don’t worry about a thing…every little thing gonna be all right,” while his eyes filled with tears.
we left the clinic for the public hospital to visit stephen, who was hit by a car almost two months ago. both of his legs are broken. and he, also, is alone. at the hospital we met david, who was staying with stephen before the accident. we made plans to visit him again on monday, and see about getting him out of the hospital.
after the hospital, we went to visit sam’s house. back in february, jack had paid the first month’s rent for some houses for sam and two other young guys. the guys were living two to a house–one older youth, and one younger. sammy was living with sam, stephen with david and two other boys.
we reached their house, a tin shack in a slum outside of nairobi. sam immediately welcomed me in, and began washing dishes and preparing chai. he washed and changed his clothes.
sam’s rent is approximately seven dollars a month. to earn that $7, he wakes up early in the morning, walks two hours to riverside, where he used to live on the streets. there, he collects metal, digging through trash in industrial areas, getting paid mere cents for all of his work. during the day, he lives like the rest of the street children–despised, insulted, dirty.
he’s worked this way for 8 months, slowly buying every thing he needs. now, he has a bed. he has a few dishes, a couple pairs of clothing. he has a radio, which is always on full volume, and he has a dog. his house is spotless, and all of the neighborhood kids greet him with hugs and fist bumps as he walks home.
and as i sat outside on a jerrycan, he served me chai, and bread with blue band, i was amazed, and filled with joy.
it’s difficult for me to imagine what he’s been through. an orphan, an alien, a child on the streets. but like he told me yesterday, he is surviving. and i’m humbled and awed at his courage, his perseverance and his strength.
pray for sam. he is an incredible young man. pray for encouragement, for comfort in his loneliness. pray that he can find better work. pray for his protection, and pray that God brings good friends into his life–friends that can walk through these difficult days with him, and who can hope and trust in Christ together with him.