This evening I had the neighbour boys organize the toy room, and then decided to take 3 of them with me to town to buy 2 flats of eggs for the Educational Care training snack tomorrow morning, and a few packets of baking flour because there are birthday celebrations around here this weekend. Walking along main street, one of the boys says... "Auntie, why do people like staring at you? Is it because you are not brown? I don't know why! You are just Auntie K." I smiled delightfully.
While waiting for eggs to be packed at a corner store two or three of the young boys who live on the street came out of the wood work to greet me. Some of their faces looked new and too young to be living on the streets. A few of us in town call these young men the "Freedom Boys" and it really is my hope that they will find Jesus and become free of addiction, theft, and other troublesome spirits. Many of them walk around with a plastic water bottle with a tiny piece of cloth shoved into the bottom of the bottle. The cloth is soaked in airline fuel or glue which they sniff all day.
The neighbour boys stood near the egg shop while I started greeting the Freedom Boys. They (my neighbours) have learned that I greet all people in town - whether mad men about to throw rocks, or dirty young boys who joke around and want high fives. At first they were few and the Freedom Boys were asking about former team-mates that they miss... (Shout outs to Tim, Rebekah, and Bobby)... then more and more came. Some fist bumps, some quick stories, and one young boy came and kissed my hand like a prince. :) Then they complained of hunger... and as I stood there holding 3 packages of flour and 2 trays of eggs, I knew I had to give them a snack also. I wanted to buy samosa for them so we all marched down one alley way.... they looked so proud to be walking with me.
I had sent my boys to another shop where they could sit with their older working sister until I was finished with the Freedom Boys.
The samosa were finished in that shop... so they decided to pair up and share a chapati each. 16 boys meant 8 chapatis from another street vendor up the road. Well... it was chaos, a lot of pushing, a lot of smiles, and a few older ones joined at the end also wanting chapati, but I didn't give them any because they weren't in the original count and they wreaked of alcohol, so I already new they found coins for the day.
I never know if I should give the Freedom Boys a snack... but I do know they are hungry, and they just need a little love. Actually a lot of love is needed. One day at a time.
Riding In His Palm