The longer you live in a place, the more you really start to learn about it. In the beginning, it is like a fairy tale. You see it as perfect because the excitement of being there rose-colors everything. But as time goes on, you learn more. You see more. And things change. You become a part of the place, not just an outsider, but a part of the group, one that can see everything.
It has been a really tough last 6 months. I've been thinking a lot about what has changed. The boys are more persecuted right now, than I ever remember. I can't figure out if it has always been this way or if it is in fact worse. I am sure that it has always been this way, but my position as an outsider has changed. I am no longer the volunteer, on the outside, watching, but have transitioned into life with these kids. Somewhere a long the way, I gained their respect and trust and now we are the ones that they run to when they have problems.
And lately, it seems to be too frequently...
Life isn't easy for the boys. They struggle and suffer a lot. The young ones have to fight off the older ones and others in the community, and the older ones have to find new ways to live. When the boys were young, they would collect scrap. They would wander around all day looking through trash heaps for anything that could be recycled. The older a boy gets, the more shameful it becomes. Even it isn't really safe anymore for the younger ones. Unfortunately, the boys turn to stealing to survive. As a result, almost every one hates them. Since mob justice is a thing, the boys are always in conflict with people. Simply by being on the street, they are assumed to be thieves and considered worthless. They are regularly attacked, simply for being, not for any real reason.
We have buried many boys in the last year and thankfully for others, arrived just in time so they didn't meet the same fate. For the ones that help doesn't arrive in time, my heart breaks, and it is way too frequently lately. Almost 2 weeks ago, we buried another boy. His name was Wasswa. He was funny and charming. He was so cute. I loved his smile. I watched him grow up for the last 6 years. He had his whole life ahead of him. And it was taken from him far too soon, far too brutally. For no reason.
The boys are struggling. They are afraid. Terrified actually, knowing they could be next. They are running from the police everyday. Every week someone is attacked. They don't deserve this life. No one does. And they are tired. They are losing hope. And our hearts are breaking.
Will you say a prayer for them today? Will you pray for the areas that they stay in? For peace? For justice? For their hearts? For a way off the streets?