So, this is Kevin. We met Kevin this past trip while we were working on putting up the gate. Kevin lives in one of the one room tin “shacks” in the alley across from the school. Kevin is kind of the neighborhood bully. Not in the sense that he picks on everyone…well not often, but more in the sense of he kind of “rules” the hood. He is the eldest in a family of four. His younger sister is six, then there is Otis, who is two, and then a baby. Kevin became a part of our team after a few hours at the school. He hung around, brought us drinks, carried our bags, and tried to talk with us in his limited English. He stuck up for us a few times when bigger kids came around and harrassed us for candy.
While I really enjoyed our time with Kevin, the closer we got to him, the more my heart started to ache for him. I learned that Kevin’s dad is an alcoholic that goes “missing” for days on end leaving the family without any income for food or essemtials. Obviously, Kevin doesn’t go to school.
Well, Kevin sealed the deal as far as my heart was concerned the day he “saved” Dana and me from killing ourselved with a wheel barrow full of cement. Those of you who know me will not be shocked to know that I argued Samuel into letting Dana and me “drive” their rickety wheel barrow with over a hundred pounds of dry cement around the block to the other side of the building. Well, as soon as we started off, we realized that Samuel knew what he was talking about when he said it was difficult to drive that much weight through the ruts in the streets. So, here we were, trying to save face, trying not to dump that expensive cement all over the road…
Then Kevin walks up. Using two of the few English words he knew, he says, “move, let me.” BRUTE!! I laughed and said, “Sure, you try.” Oh, once again, I find myself humbled in Kenya. This little ten year old boy who surely had not had breakfast, probably weighed 50 pounds wet, and wore no shoes, pushed that cement all of the way to the building. AND Dana stepped on his bare feet while trying to “help.” I was floored. And the look on his face…he was so proud of himself. He was so touched to his core by our praise. As for me, my heart was gone. This one act revealed so much of Kevin’s heart; split wide open his tough exterior and revealed a little boy who so needs to be loved and nurtured. A little boy who, while poverty has tried his hardest t ruin, still shows that his heart has not been destroyed.
We fed Kevin and gave him a pair of shoes that had been donated. He was so excited all he could say was, “Yes, thank you,” over and over and over.
Well, we went home, and I could not get Kevin out of my heart. I just knew that if he stayed where he was, living each day without food, without education, without mentorship, he would become yet another one of Kenya’s thugs. Young men, desperate for food, for respect, for justice who inflict terror because they cannot face their own terror. I am not excusing the behavior of the street boys/men in Kenya, but one must not discount the toll that poverty has had on these youth’s hearts.
I guess God has another plan for Kevin….Here is an email I received from Samuel a few weeks after we returned:
Hey mama Damon,
See how the Lord is so so good that we are able to minister to this great servants of the Lord! This can easily cause one not to hold his/her tears seeing someone like Kevin and Leah in class. This is amazing! I am so blessed to work together with you and the entire team to bring transformation in lives. This humbles me, Mama Sundi. God bless you. I know the weight on your shoulder but it is a noble task -be proud of it and rejoice amen.
Kevin and his sister Leah in their new uniforms!! Yes, they are the newest additions to Provision Academy.
Kevin looks so young…so innocent, so refreshing!! This, my friends is what it is all about! Redeeming lives that Satan tries to steal with hunger, pain, and loneliness.
Kevin’s sister Leah. Baby girl will be smiling soon, just watch.
Leah in class
Keep praying for our kids. While this is beautiful, it does not solve the family life. These kids need you. Thanks for being a part.