Nothing could have prepared my heart for what I witnessed last night during our Night Light Ministry. This is where we go in the spiritually dark streets to build relationships with street kids, trusting that God will lead us to His chosen ones for us to build up through Make Your Mark Ethiopia. You would think by now with all that I have seen and experienced I would have seen it all but last night proved that to be incorrect.
As we began our journey we met with the officers to let them know that we, MYM were here. Hoping that they would be less violent to the kids when we are around. Our goal is to partner with them and actually shine a glimpse of hope in their eyes for the street kids so that they can see that they too can be used to love, encourage and help Their street kids, instead of the other routes that they choose.
As we get to one of our regular meeting spots I immediately am surrounded by many street kids, greeting me with hand shakes, hugs, smiles, and some is dazes from huffing the glue. Others giggled as they practiced their English and I practiced my Amharic. I couldn’t help but keep looking to my left. It was dark so I really couldn’t see if what I thought I was seeing really was.
Imagine this with me please. There are about 4 dogs gathered around, I could easily see that the dogs were biting this 2 foot skeletal back bone of some sort of animal possibly a goat or cow. There was very little meat left on this fresh bone. In the middle of these dogs squatted a little boy with a dark hooded jacket covering his head so all you could see was his silhouette. My curiosity wondered what this kid was doing. Then I saw it, with all of his weakened strength he had some type of sharp object in his right hand, probably a rock, while holding the bone with his left sawing away at the bone scavenging for a sliver of meat; a child eating with the dogs, on a bone of another animal in the dark, dirty streets.
I grabbed my daughter Amilly and with disbelief asked her to bring him to me. We talked to him and got his story. This kid that is eating with the dogs has a name, its T. He is tall, very slender with a contagious smile and beautiful lashes stretched to his eyebrows, you know the kind that every woman would love to have.
When we began to talk to T I could not believe that the same boy that was in the streets eating raw meat off a bone with the dogs was able to have such an intelligent conversation with us. The two were no match for sure. I have seen street boys bond with dogs but never quite like this, Normally the boys will let the dogs nibble the bugs out off their scalps for them or be cuddled up close to them as they sleep together at night in the dark, cold streets as if they were best friends, protecting one another but never have I seen a child eating with the dogs, on a gnawed bone.
T grew up with his mother and father and the family was good, his father was a Christian he tells us. But things took a quick turn when his father died. His mom began to worship the evil one. She practices witchcraft in the evilest of ways. She began to beat him and abuse him in many different ways. Others that would be around would abuse this kid in unthinkable ways. So he ran away to the streets a couple times actually. Each time coming to the streets begging saving his money and taking it to his mom in hopes that she would be proud of him, want him or even love him. Each time the abuse grew deeper and deeper. So deep that he would think about going to live with other people. The words he spoke next pierced our beings to a new understanding of our new friend. “If my very own mom will do the things that she has done to me then surely anyone else would too”.
T is scared of the whole human race because of what the people have done to him. Of course the kid was hungry and that is why he was trying to get just a sliver of raw meat off that bone to fill his bare tummy. But here is another observation. He was down there eating dinner with the dogs because he trusts them, they will not hurt him.
When going into the streets you cannot just feed the street kids. If you were to do this you would be met with a chaotic stampede that would leave many wounded. So secretly our son Belay took this hungry child and fed him. Upon his return I spent the next few hours watching this little one. His interaction with these dogs was so pleasant. He played chase with them up and down the streets. He gave them piggyback rides on his back; he held their legs up as if to dance the night away. It was quite disturbing in its magnificence. Please know that this kid was not high like most of the kids that you would expectedly see acting in such a manner.
As I pondered through all of this I came up with two conclusions. One is that this severely abused, mentally, physically, emotionally and sexually almost 13 year old boy found a peace in the streets among the dogs because they simply would not hurt him. He was safer with them than he had been in a very long time with any human species. Seeing how smart this kid was I also noticed the huge difference in the boy that was eating off a bone, that glanced up at me when I was tearfully watching him act as an animal, looking up at me with no shame and continued on with the dogs to be quite different than the boy we were communicating with. Is this a spiritual thing where his demon-worshipping mother cast her demons on him or was it just a mental issue? My spirit inside me tells me its demonic because the two were so drastically different. When our son Belay communicated with him about eating off the bone with the dogs it was almost as if there was no remembrance of this very event.
Even though mentally this is too much for my human mind to comprehend I am glad that God brought us to this boy in just the time to see what He had planned for us to see. We will continue to meet with T and see if there is anything we can do to love him, serve him and build him. Please pray for him with us.
Here is how you can help us help T and many more street kids like him. Partner with us financially at Make Your Mark Ethiopia by becoming a stability partner (monthly donor) or with a one-time gift . Read below to see some of what we do.
- Make Your Mark House (Drop-in Center): The big idea here is creating an environment where the children build a desire within themselves to want to change. We do this through providing two healthy meals, showers, basic needs, washing their clothes, basic education, play therapy through sports-art -games, counseling, life skill trainings and more. Currently we are serving 15 boys 5 days a week. We keep these numbers small because we believe in going a mile deep instead of mile wide. To bring a street kid to the Day Center about $100.00 a month
- Placing the Lonely in Families – PLF (family base care for street/orphaned children) : These homes are a place of continuing rehabilitation, which have an Ethiopian husband & wife ,being dad & mom to boys from the street. The boys will have first shown they’re ready by their efforts in the drop-in center. The purpose of the home is prepare the boys for family living, whether that be reintegration with their families or adopted/foster care with an Ethiopian Family or just growing up in this home. The purpose of a dad & mom is to show these boys how God has designed family and to give them an example of what their future family can be like. We currently have one home open with 4 boys and hope to open another in the next couple months. Sept.-Oct. 2014 Our goal is to open 2-3 of these a year. To sponsor a home is around $800.00 a month.
- Keeping Kids Home –KKH (orphan/street kid prevention): Most children become orphans or are in the streets because the family was so poor. We come beside families living in extremely materially poor conditions to help keep their children home. We initially provide educational needs, tutoring, and family counseling and for the most malnourished some food supplements are provided. The Make Your Mark House is also used on Saturday’s and after school for tutoring and library work. Our long-term goal for each family is to become self-sustainable materially, relationally and spiritually. We are currently serving 85 children with their families. This cost us 50.00 a month per child.