Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Street Children, everyday...

Another first for me was the street children. Being raised in a pretty protected environment of the Pacific Northwest, I had never seen children living in the streets and begging.

It was in Lodwar, Kenya that I first had a mob of children begging me for money. At the time it seemed novel, and since I was with several Kenyans they quickly shooed them away.

The more we encountered them, the more we began to resent them. I'm not sure if it was constantly being faced by a problem that we could do little about, or that culture shock was just too much for us.

Not until we had been in Africa for 6 months or more, did we start relearning the compassion. We were not simply overwhelmed anymore, but started to see each child as an individual. Driving through Kampala, Uganda one morning, we saw a small girl, not much older than our daughter. She had a baby strapped to her back and she was fighting off several boys. The boys were trying to take the food she had found in the garbage heap.

For just a moment, both Nicole and I let our guard down, and started to cry. This memory still make me ill to think about. Too often Americans do this with the rest of the world. We all put up "protective" walls to keep from caring too deeply about the needs of the world. Every so often, the media captures just the right image and we all care for a minute or two.

I am convinced that if each of us just took the time to seen the needs of the world for they are... individual people, each with a story to tell... we would help a lot more.


Anonymous said...

I have seen what you have seen in the way of street children. They are unusually voracius in the orient. They have nothing to loose except their lives and they aren't worth much to them or most of the people around them. I am so glad that you took the park ranger for a ride and avoided the border attack as I am sure your wife is also. God is merciful and does work in mysterious ways.
Love, Dad

Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing this about the children. I teared reading it and am going to Africa for a bit. I have served my country for 35 yrs and now a retired Army Colonel who desires to give back and help others.