This entry is for Tuesday the 19 or June.
As I said on the last one, I expected today to be exhausting, and I could not have been more right. By the end of the day I was totally drained, physically and emotionally. I said before that there are around 62 kids in grade 8, and I read through probably close to 30. Well, we decided that it would be best if we worked with the kids whose bios we corrected. I knew that many of the stories that I had corrected were full of heartache and loss.
By the end of the day, two stories stick out the most, that of Timothy's and that of Festus. I will start with Timothy's story, one that literally churns my stomach when thinking about it. Timothy seems to be a bright boy, but extremely small for his age and class. I have not gotten to talk much with Timothy prior to reading and correcting his bio, so I wasn't sure what type of kid he was. Okay, on to the story. Timothy's story resembles many of the stories of a lot of the kids at New Hope School. His mother died when he was very young and his father remarried. Many of the kids mention how hungry they were t one point, how hard it is to keep food on the table, but few go into detail on the consequences of not being fed. In Timothy's case, he was willing to write down and be specific on what the consequences were. Timothy told me, both in his bio and in conversation, that at one point in time, he was eating trash and rock, yes, ROCKS, to fill his belly. If that didn't hit me hard enough he told me that he first had to scrape the "feces," yes, poop, off of the rocks and trash before he ate them. Luckily, Timothy's father is very caring and once he found out that he was doing this, he took him to a hospital for treatment of anything he may have contracted. Guess what, Timothy's story doesn't end there. He later told me, again in the bio and in conversation, that his step-mother is an abusive drunk. He told me that the only way he and his siblings dont get hit or kicked is if they hid behind their father. In spite of all of this, Timothy loves the lord and thanks him for his caring father. He prays that the lord would provide for his family. Timothy dreams to go to university to make a better life for himself, and to provide for his father and siblings. I dont know about you but I can honestly say, and am ashamed of it, that a reason to go to college has never been to provide for my family (brothers and parents). This kid, working through one of the toughest lives I can imagine, is driven by the love of his family and his Lord. Pretty sure we could all learn from that.
Now for Festus. Festus' story, while different than Timothy's, is just as eye opening. The first thing that caught my attention while reading his bio was that he said he was seventeen. Seventeen and in the equivalent of 8th grade. Thats a bit off on the age scale. Why was he so old? Well, he explained to me why. Festus' father passed away when he was very young, he says he doesn't really remember him. Anywho, his mother wasnt able to provide for he and his siblings, so Festus went to live on the streets. I'm not sure if he left on his own, or was kicked out (its more likely that he was kicked out). I did my best to figure out how young he was when he began living on the street, I figure he was somewhere between the ages of 5 and 7. Festus searched for food on the streets, and made them his bed at night. He did this for 8 years. After 8 years he was taken in by a children's home where he lived for 2 years. After two years he was released once he learned how to properly act around people, he called it "good behavior," he was allowed to return home to his mother. Mind you he has been gone for around 10 years at this point. I didn't ask how things were at home, but he did tell me that he wants to succeed so that he can provide for his brothers, sisters, and mother. Festus also mentioned that he had found Jesus and had taken him as his personal savior. This kid just wants to love on others and show them the love of God. These kids are teaching and convicting me on a daily basis.
I worked through a few of and many were as heart wrenching but they didn't stick in my mind as much. The thing is that there is no short supply of these type of stories, except they aren't stories that we just read, these are kids lives. I wish I could be as genuinely happy and strong as these kids are, its just amazing. Not to sound like an ass, but Im kinda glad we're almost done with bios, reality sucks. But in the end God is good and uses everything for His glory, even if I cant come close to grasping how He does it.
The cool thing about these kids and what New Hope is doing is that hopefully the cycle of poverty can be broken with the help of sponsors and the hard work of the kids. There is hope, regardless of heartbreak.
prayers: healthy, I have an awful cold and have lost my voice.