Wednesday, May 16, 2012

It's disturbing me...

Kenyans love the word "disturbing".

"Teacher, he is disturbing me." "My kid has been disturbing me for a new phone." "These issues with my families have been disturbing me." "This pain in my stomach is really disturbing me." 

But for the last few days, something has been disturbing me.

We got news on Monday that one of our boys was really sick in bed. We knew this boy has been sick and I had started getting worried. He had been losing weight and missing practice. But when Kelvin heard he was in bed, he said enough is enough, and decided to take him to the hospital.

Kelvin went to the boys house only to be completely horrified upon entering. The house was disgusting. It was in terrible shape and incredibly dirty. He walked up to the door of the boy's room and refused to go in because his room was so filthy. Kelvin said there was nothing to cook with - no plates, cooker, food, cutlery, nothing. There was no water so all the clothes were dirty. And the mattress the boy and his brother slept on was paper thin. It really startled Kelvin.

This particular boy is one that we have sponsored. We also pay his rent because we realized that he couldn't afford to live if he was in school full time. So we offered to pay his rent and agreed with his sister that she will feed him. This boy has also caused us no end of problems. He has skipped school, been caught smoking, has lied to our faces, and been kicked off the team several times.

So Kelvin got him out of bed and took him to the doctor. The doctor said he has a severe case of scabies.  He has wounds all over his body. I mean all over his body. The poor boy.

The doctor gave him medicines and instructions to clean himself, his stuff and his place. The thing with scabies is that they are extremely contagious. His whole house is probably infested with them. It takes some thorough cleaning to make sure they go away. Trust me, I've had scabies.

As Kelvin was telling me the whole story, I was totally disturbed. Not because it was gross, but because we had no idea he lived like this. In our minds, we thought we had done something great for him only to realize he still had so much need. I can't blame the boy too much. Yes, he is older and should start taking responsibility for his cleanliness and living space. But the boy has no parents. And the ones he had weren't the greatest parents. He is one of 14 kids so naturally some of them get neglected. My mother was the one who taught me how to take care of my stuff, keep clean, and organize my life. Now if i didn't have her, I can't imagine the life I would be living. Same for this boy. No one has taught him. And no one is there to look out for him. He doesn't have a penny to his name. Thats why he couldn't get himself to the hospital. He can't even afford water (which is roughly 4cents for like 20 litres) to bath, wash his clothes, clean his house.

So it's been disturbing me the last few days.

Kelvin and I talked about taking a more holistic approach to sponsoring someone. A lot of the youth we sponsor end up having other issues that go alongside. Some of them can't afford to get to school, some can't eat or pay rent because they are not working, some have babies who need them and can't find someone to look after them while they go to school. So we are praying and brainstorming ideas about to take a more holistic approach to helping them.

One of our ideas involves housing. I thought of originally renting out a big room, filling it with nice stuff, and putting all the boys who need a little helping with their living situation in there. That way they are accountable to one another, they are accountable to us, and at least we know they are taken care of for a while. Kelvin even thought of one day opening a youth home for young people to live in. One of our boys once said to us, "I don't need a sponsorship or a loan for business. I can hustle for my food. The best thing you could help me with is to help with my living expenses." What if these young people (mostly boys) didn't have the pressure of their living expenses, and could work to put themselves through school or save up money to buy their own house or open their own business? All they need is a little help.

It's just an idea/vision right now but who knows, one day it might be a reality. At least for now we know that one of our boys is on his way to become scabies free.

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