Gap Kenya will always try to repatriate street children back to their parents where possible. Victor has been attending Stepping Stones for some time now. He says he is 10 years old and whilst we were registering him, he gave some clues abo…ut his life before he came to the streets. We decided to try and trace his mum so we visited a town called Bokole. We took Timothy and a man called Ali who knew the area well with us. It was decided that it would be better if Paul and I didn’t wander around the town, so we sat outside a shop and drank a coke whilst Tim and Ali set off to see what they could find. We became quite an attraction – Bokole obviously doesn’t see many white people!! And Bokole is a very poor town where people struggle to survive. But we found Victor’s family – his mum and two sisters! Bokole is in the bush and we drove down what can only be described as footpaths or through piles of refuse to reach their home. Victors story: Victor is really called Henry and is 9 years old, He has been on the streets since the age of 6. He is originally from Tanzania, but his parents split up and his father left. As his father no longer paid the rent on their home, they were evicted, and his mother made her way to Mombasa with her children. Homeless and hungry, they were found by the pastor of a church in Bokole who found them a place to stay but was unable to provide food for the family. Victor was sent to stay with his father who had remarried and also moved to Mombasa, but Victor says he was disrespectful to the stepmother so he was beaten and thrown out of the house. Having nowhere to go, he went to the streets – he was 6 years old!! The mother and the pastor have looked for Victor – the pastor saw him once in the town, but when Victor saw him he ran away. Victors family still have days when they have no food to eat. His mum. Judy, tries to find work cleaning or doing washing for people, but her life is very hard. We had a meeting with Judy, the pastor and elders of the community to discuss whether Victor returning home to them would be possible. They believe that Victor will not stay with his mum due to the lack of food and have asked that we try to help him. Judy seems to be a lovely lady who is struggling to provide for the two children she has. Her youngest child is 2 years old and has obviously been born since Victor left her care although she has not remarried. We have since spoken to Victor and offered him a place in our family home. Victor however does not wish to do this. Neither does he want to go back to his mum. He likes living on the streets. It is so difficult for children who are on the streets from a young age to see that their futures are pretty bleak as they get older – times are hard for them now………they are sodomised by older boys and men during the night, food is hard to come by and they are beaten by the police. Yet they have total freedom and find some excitement in being with the older boys, stealing, mugging and generally doing whatever they like. We are continuing to work with Victor as he attends Stepping Stones to try and help him to see a different future. Please pray for him, and us as we do this. There are so many Victors out there and I pray that we will learn so much from him as to the best way to reach children like him and show them a better life.
This article was written by gayle