“If you build it, they will come”
With the mere mention of this quote, my mind jumps to my father’s favorite movie Field of Dreams and an awesome family vacation when we visited the real “field of dreams” in Dysersville, Iowa. When the voice spoke to Kevin Costner in the classic fim it was talking about a baseball field. However, in Keumbu Kenya, when that same voice spoke to me, it was talking about an orphanage.
We haven’t even come close to building the stucture that Pastor Robert and I dream of. We invision a brick building with real floors; rooms with bunkbeds and mattresses; a dining hall with tables; a large grassy field with sturdy soccer goals; a small gym made from local materials; a place to shower; a study room for the new pupils; and much more. Needless to say, we have a long way to go. However, we have built a large structure which the boys sleep in, a seperate kitchen for our chef Charles, and a seperate bathroom. And let me tell you, word has been passing through the “street boy grapevine” about our quick progress.
It is heartbreaking everytime I am forced to leave Kisii Town. A group of 10 to 30 street boys beg me to take them with me. They are friends of the children here and desperatly need the same oppurtunity their friends have been given. Yet, everytime I must leave childless. One child, nicknamed Samaki, tried to hide in my matatu (group taxi) on the way home in hopes that I wouldn’t see him and would be forced to let him stay in Keumbu. He needs to work on his hide and seek skills, to say the least.
Back to the quote, “if you build it, they will come”. We have built it. And now, they have come. No, not the 17 street boys we have at home now – they were brought. Three additional boys have come. They walked (on three seperate occasions) all the way from Kisii Town to Keumbu Market, then from Keumbu Market to our land. They walked the entire way without eating or stoping with only one destination – the Keumbu Rehema Children’s Home in Keumbu.
One part of me is very happy. It means that word has been spread throughout villages and even in Kisii Town about the work we have done. No street boy would travel by foot to our home if it wasn’t truly a place of refuge. Yet, one part of me is very sad. We are forced to turn these boys away. We talk, we give the boy a nice meal, some soap to wash his clothes and take a shower in the river, and money for transport back to Kisii. We are simply not able to accomodate more children now. The immediate need for aid is there and every boys’ struggle is clearly apparent. I wish we could help each child that takes the journey to our home in hopes of finding a loving family, a group of friends, school, and a hopeful life.
One day we will have a much bigger, more permanent house. One day we will be able to care for hundreds of orphans and former street children. Everytime I am forced to return a child to the streets I think of what more I could be doing. So I urge you to think what more you could be doing. There are thousands of street boys that need immediate rescue. Thousands of street boys dying for a chance at an education and a life rid of homelessness and sadness. Without help, they will never leave their current situation; many will die without anyone at all to remember them. So, I urge you to think, what more could we be doing?