When I first met Steven*, he was sitting on the railway tracks, wearing a pink puffer vest.
He instantly jumped up the moment he saw me leaning out the window with my phone.
He rushed up to the car waving a piece of paper at me. It was a grubby little brown envelope with the name of a medication written on it. He kept asking me over and over, “I want to go to school, I want to go to school”, all while waving a ‘script’ in my face. He had an open wound on his leg and had just been to the pharmacy to get the name of treatment he needed.
As I sat there next to him in the dirt, Steven leaned against a tree and swatted away the flies buzzing around his sore. Then Steven began to tell me his story…
Steven’s dad had died and his mother went to Saudi Arabia looking for work. She left him alone in their house without telling him anything. Steven went to a nearby uncle for help who told him where his mother had gone, but would not take him in.
So Steven stayed alone in the house for two months until the food ran out and his school fees were due. Then, his only solution was to go out onto the streets to look for something to eat and to find a way to survive. By the time I met him, he had been on the streets for a month scavenging for scraps and looking for shelter wherever he could find it.
Thankfully, Steven heard about the work of ROHMI and came to church asking Joseph for help. Joseph took Steven back to his home to confirm his story, and encourage a family member to take him in.
I will never forget the sight of Steven sitting there in his sleeveless pink jacket on the railway tracks, and then jumping to his feet in the hope we would stop and help him. I cannot begin to imagine what was going through his mind before that.
You could see such relief in Steven’s face when we stopped by to help. He knew with childlike faith, his life had just changed for the better. He will still be living on the streets, but at least now he had a father figure in Joseph who would feed him and look out for him.
Since returning ‘home’, Steven has gone missing and there has been no sighting of him for over a month. No one knows where he has gone. I am still hoping for a happy ending to his story.
To find out more about ROHMI’s work in helping street boys, visit www.dias.asn.au/our-work/bungoma-kenya/
*Steven’s name has been changed