We first met Evans in December 2011, a young looking boy, quiet and surprisingly polite he looked nervously at us along with the other boys in the group who had made their way from the Mombasa streets to a local church in Shanzu. This followed a visit from Gap Ministries in September that year to feed the children living in Mboxini, an area in Mombasa where many street children live, sleeping in manmade shelters or in a nearby football field.
As we got to know Evans, we discovered he spoke excellent English and could read and write in both Kiswahili and English to quite a high standard.
Evans told us he had been on the streets for only a few months having run away from his home in Eldoret. His mother, he said, had died and his father had quickly remarried. His stepmother treated him very badly, starving him, beating him and cutting him with broken glass. This story is not unusual amongst many street children and sadly happens all too often. Mothers and fathers sometimes abandon their own children when they remarry if their new partners do not want them
Evans became a part of the Mungu Anaweza project and eventually moved into the Family Rescue Home with nurture parents Timothy and Brigid. He made close bonds with them and the other 5 children who had also been rescued from the streets and dump sites in Mombasa.
Evans attended a local private school where he excelled. He was obviously a very bright boy and his dream was to eventually become a doctor. When he took his exams (similar to the 11+ but primary school ends at aged 14 a 15 years of age in Kenya) he finished 6th out of the whole Mombasa region, an amazing result.
Because Evans was such a bright pupil and his dream was to become a doctor, the Mungu Anaweza programme arranged for him to attend an excellent boarding school in Western Kenya.
Again, Evans did extremely well finishing top of his class following his first term there. He returned home to Timothy and Brigid in April this year for the holidays but a couple of days later, Evans disappeared. He told his ‘brother’ Eli that he was going back to the streets because of ‘problems’ he was experiencing
Timothy, along with ourselves followed him back to the streets at Mboxini, where a couple of days later we found him, in the pouring rain, dripping wet with just a blanket over his head to keep the rain off. He was dirty and hungry.
We took him back to the family home where he showered and was given food. And then we spoke to him. Why had he run away? We couldn’t understand it, he seemed so happy! He hadn’t given any indication to Tiomothy or Brigid that he was having and difficulties so what was going on?
Evans then confessed to us that his original story was in fact a lie and his mother and father were both alive and living in Eldoret with his four brothers and sisters. He said he could no longer live a lie, and being in a school which was so close to Eldoret had brought back memories of his family and how much he missed them. He had run away from school following an incident in which he had been implicated. Evans denied any involvement but his parents hadn’t believed him. He said the other boys involved also believed that Evans had ‘grassed them up’ and were threatening to beat him up……..so he ran away! 500 miles away to Mombasa!
Evans expressed a wish to return to his family, so arrangements were made to take him back home. We had no way to contact his parents to inform them of their son’s imminent arrival and were unsure of the reception we would receive when we arrived.
The journey there took 2 days, and we finally arrived at Evans home late one afternoon in the pouring rain. As we passed a church on the way to his home, Evans told us that his father was the pastor of this church! Something he had never mentioned before!
As we stood on the grass in front of Evans home, we saw a face appear at the window. Next minute, the door opened and a young man flew out shouting Evans name at the top of his voice! The two boys embraced and wept (as did we!).
When we eventually entered the house, Evans brother Titus shouted for his younger sister, Joy who screamed and screamed with delight when she saw Evans.
Evans father was at the church so was summonsed by Titus to return home because Evans was back. His mum was visiting Evans grandfather who was ill and lived in another town a long way off
Evans father entered the home looking shocked and disbelieving. When he saw Evans he embraced him, and more tears were shed!
His mobile phone began to ring as people from the church heard the good news and rang to find out if it was true! And so many questions from his dad about how and when and why! He showed us articles he had saved from the local newspaper which he had put in when Evans had disappeared, and Told us how he and Titus had searched Eldoret and the surrounding areas to try and find his son.
He also told us that local people had accused him of selling his son to provide funds for the new church which had been built shortly after Evans disappearance! And that many people still believed that this was what had happened. He told us of the numerous phone calls from people who said they knew what had happened to Evans and offering information about his whereabouts in return for large amounts of money. Witch doctors had offered to perform their magic to find Evans. But no one had ever said that Evans was in Mombasa, alive and well being looked after by a Christian organisation and attending church every week!
Pastor Betts and his church had continued to pray every day for Evans safe return – and although his faith sometimes felt weak and he had doubts, he always trusted that his son would eventually return home to him one day! His greatest fear was that when he returned home, he would be addicted to drugs, or have mental health problems due to the lifestyle he may have been living. Thankfully, God had other ideas and Evans had spent so little time on the streets he had never been involved in drugs, glue or any behaviour which might have damaged him
Instead, he had been rescued and allowed to live in the church in Shanzu, cared for by the pastor and his wife until our arrival that December! He was then cared for by the assistant pastor whose name was Timothy and who became Mungu Anawezas first nurture father – he and his wife Brigid treated Evans as their son for the next sixteen months!
The following day was Sunday and we attended Pastor Betts church. The whole family were there, Evans mum had returned and was overjoyed at the return of her lost son. The atmosphere in church that day is something that is difficult to describe other than the whole church was rejoicing at what they saw as a miracle.
Evans continues to live with his family in Eldoret and is happy and settled. The charity continue to pay for his education as we believe he could one day fulfil his dream of becoming a doctor.