Yesterday evening I was going through social media and my heart broke into bitterness. I was broken because of our society’s insensitivity. This got me to recall a statement that was told to me by someone I cannot remember now. That the hospitality of any human race is measured by how they take care of their aged and youngest members. Take a moment and look around you. How have you treated the very old and the young persons around you?
A week ago, after spending the Saturday at a Children’s Rally, my great friend and children minister, Newman Ambani and I were asking ourselves several questions. A number of questions kept us brainstorming for the better part of the evening. How can we be of more relevance to these children whom in the past few years have spent a lot of time with? Shall we just leave them to the forces of nature to take care of them? Should we sit back just like ‘everyone else’ and wait for the government to come and offer them the free education, accommodation and jobs? Of course the government has a duty to serve all and to provide for the basic needs. What of us the citizens? Can we hide behind the notion that we pay taxes and therefore demand for every right from the government? Think again. Do we need the government to show kindness to and share love with the streets children?
The simple acts of random kindness go a long way in shaping the tomorrow’s nation. What Dennis Itumbi and the friends decided to do for the street families is such a noble cause that should be celebrated and emulated. But it breaks me when some people from the comfort of their offices or homes can rush to the social media to discredit and throw filthy verbal garbage to Dennis Itumbi.
Everyone is entitled to their opinion about anything, anytime and anywhere. You may have your own ways of solving perennial challenges humanity undergoes especially on this issues of the street families. But, in the midst of such show of insensitivity, have we stopped to ask ourselves these questions that my friend Movine Nyanchoka asks in this epic poem?
How do they survive? I ask
What do they eat?
Where do they sleep?
When do they shower?
Where do they work?
Who are their parents and friends?
Are you bold enough, world?
To give me the answers?
Do we as a society have the right and not just good answers to the above questions? The wise of the years past said that if every individual would clean his front yard then the whole street would be clean. If each one of us can walk on every street and just smile to that rugged clothed, dirty, glue sniffing boy, the situation will change. Destinies of prosperity and hope would be molded.
The street families do not need government legislative interventions. The first minister for local governments in the NARC government, the late Karissa Maitha tried it and it could not be sustained. When Obama was around we did some plastic surgery to impress him but and now we have to live with the guilt.
What the street families yearn for, is compassion, love and kindness. They need an opportunity to express themselves as other members of this great nation Kenya. The moment we realize that they are humans and not just a problem to be legislated on by the government, we shall join our sister Nyanchoka in declaring,
As I watch them on my way home
They are busy sniffing glue
For once in my life I note
They have two legs, hands, ears and eyes
One mouth and head
Except for their rugged clothes and dirty, smelly bodies
They look exactly like me!
Yes, if they are like me I need to do something for and with them. Even if it is just sharing my meal, my birthday party, my pocket money, my shopping and above all my time with them. I cannot wait for the government, an NGO, a politician or a human rights activists to come and help the street and needy children in our society. Together we can bring back hope, dignity and cultivate love in these dear little children.
In our small ways we can impart their lives positively. But if you have much and a reliable network like Dennis Itumbi and the friends, go forward friend and do it. Never fear the idle critic.
It may not always be material things. Share your faith with them. Give them hope. Nurture their dreams by identifying the God given potential in these young ones. Avail opportunities for them. Let that day when you are on you death bed you will sing these words with meaning,
It is not what I take
When I leave this world behind me
But what I leave behind when am gone
And when you get to heaven, it shall be tears of joy as along queue of smiling children and adults will be shaking your hand, hugging and appreciating you,
Thank you for giving to the LORD
Am alive because you gave.
Every one of us has a duty to show love to the street families in any way you can afford. If it means sharing that lunch with just two kids. It will go a long way in restoring their dignity. We may not be able to shelter them as individuals but we can clothe them. We can give them that nice haircut. We can play with them. We can embrace them to show that we care. We can give them a decent education not just vocational training. We can provide a family for them. We can laugh and shed tears with them. You and I, can stand with and for this children.
Let us join hands with whoever is doing something for these kids. Let us not be the critics who say what should be done but still do nothing except spew dirty words towards them that are standing up to be counted. The bible says that, Whatever you did to these young ones, you did it to me. And also, Do everything with zeal as if you are doing it unto the LORD. We are the missing link in their lives. Let us avail ourselves to love and care for these kids.
If it means you have to stop moving
For these fellow beings to get on board
Then stop moving!
(You can read the whole poem by Movine Nyanchoka and others from her blog: The Message