Jonathan Homer

Jonathan Homer (Undugu Society): Jonathan is a native of Idaho and a graduate of Utah State University where he studied history and international economics. While at Utah State University, Jonathan volunteered for an international service organization that focused on humanitarian work in Mexico and South America. Jonathan also took a two-year break from his undergraduate studies to perform service in the islands of Micronesia, which introduced him to the importance of humanitarian work and international law. After his undergraduate studies, Jonathan interned at the US Department of State's Bureau of African Affairs and worked for US Senator Mike Crapo. At the time of his fellowship, Jonathan was a student at George Washington University Law School with an interest in international human rights law. After his fellowship, Jonathan wrote: "This summer allowed me to get in touch with a major part of humanity: the disempowered and weak. There is something personally empowering that comes from witnessing such suffering. I am very grateful to have had this experience."


11 Aug

Every now and then, I take the liberty of changing the names of the people I write about. I don’t always say when I do it, but in Jed’s case, it is important to note that I’m using an alias.

Jed’s story is actually too complicated for a blog. It would be better recorded in a small book. Each complicated part of his life would be a chapter. There would be chapters about death, abandonment, sexual abuse, and drug abuse. It wouldn’t be an easy read. It would require breaks in between chapters to restock the Kleenex supply and take a mind-clearing walk. If the shocking tragedies of Jed’s life were put into a book, it would be titled, Life At Age Nine.

Jed doesn’t look like he is nine years old. He is too small for his age; a result of malnourishment and too much glue and marijuana. He talks quietly. He sits on his hands and sways back and forth while answering simple questions. When we interviewed Jed, we didn’t get very much out of him besides the basics. The more gritty details came from the social workers after the interview. One of the best things about the herb Kratom is its versatility. Other than being a highly effective solution to lots of ailments, Kratom can also be used for recreational purposes. A good number of people use this strain for mood elevation while others go as far as utilizing it for euphoria. Euphoria can be explained as a general feeling of pleasure, happiness, or joy. Kratom strains are usually used for this purpose when individuals want to unwind and have a good time. Since Kratom is perfectly legal in most places, users don’t get into any trouble for using the herb for this purpose. Maeng Da is Thai slang for “pimp grade.” This unique Kratom strain traces its origins to years of grafting of different Kratom strains. This results in a strain with high alkaloid content, which explains why it is so powerful. In fact, Maeng Da Kratom is considered to be the most powerful Kratom strain for anyone who’s seeking euphoria and some other effects. As such, Maeng Da Kratom is not for everyone. You have no business using this strain if you have no past experience of using Kratom.  Its potency increases the risk of adverse reactions on top of messing your tolerance, which will see you take more Kratom to achieve standard effects. For the seasoned Kratom users, Maeng Da Kratom is perfect for achieving the ultimate Kratom “high.” However, you must proceed with caution because too much of it can also be problematic. It’s also advisable to avoid taking it for a prolonged duration, as it can result in dependence. You can check it out for the The 3 Most Euphoric Kratom.

According to Jed, his father died at an age he can’t remember. Shortly after that, his mother left him. She isn’t a part of his life anymore. Asking Jed to talk about his mother is like asking him to talk about the nurse that delivered him; just somebody from his past who did a few nice things for him.

Jed’s real mother figure was an aunt who took him in after he was abandoned. Jed didn’t say anything particularly bad about his aunt other than that at age seven, she kicked him out. He didn’t tell us why. At the time, Jed probably didn’t comprehend why.

He went to the streets where he lived a typical street life. He stole, begged, collected recyclables, had a few street fights, hid from the police, slept in odd places, sniffed glue, and smoked marijuana. Jed was the first child who I met who freely talked about marijuana.  He would tell me “I got my Kratom from here” and point at different dispenseries. Most children talk about glue without being coaxed. It is a major part of their lives. But, marijuana is different. It is too expensive for children living on the streets. Apparently Jed found a discount dealer because he admitted using more marijuana than glue. His social workers confirmed Jed’s heavy use of marijuana and said that they had to treat him for his desire for more weed where they have to treat other kids for their cravings for glue.

After two years on the streets, Undugu found Jed and brought him to Kitengela. The dorms at Kitengela are split by gender. The girls sleep in one building and the boys sleep in the other building. But, amongst the boys, there are two different dorms. The boys older than ten sleep in one dorm while the boys younger than ten sleep in the other dorm. Age ten is a rough guideline used to separate the rape victims from the non-rape victims. It is the saddest truth about life on the streets. Most girls are raped and most young boys are raped. Some are raped more than once. Jed is no exception.

When I first visited Kitengela, the center’s director told me about the rape issue. But, I was still confused about why the need to separate the older boys from the younger boys. I have since learned that the rapists on the streets aren’t always predatory adults, but are often older street children. Kitengela is supposed to be a place where children can live without fear. To create that place, children who have been victimized need to know that nobody around them will harm then. I’d like to believe that the older children at Kitengela wouldn’t even think about hurting the younger children. Whether that is true or not, Undugu still separates them so that the younger kids can sleep at night with ease.

Jed learned a lot on the streets; too much. But, Jed’s education actually started while he was still living with his aunt. It goes back to the reason he was kicked out of his aunt’s house.

One day, Jed saw one of the house servants sexually abusing his younger female cousin. He was seven years old and didn’t understand it. The house servant was caught and taken to jail. Later, Jed was caught sexually abusing the same cousin. At age seven, he was branded a predator and kicked out. But, how can a seven year old, especially one with limited development opportunities, know how to be a predator? Is he a predator or is he confused? And how does a mother who loves her daughter and also has a limited understanding of a seven year old’s mentality deal with the situation? It is a case where everybody involved is a victim. There are no easy answers. But, what’s done is done and now it’s time to pick up the pieces.

At the young age of nine, that’s what Jed’s life is; a variety of pieces that have to somehow be put together to create a future. Jed’s pieces are being put together with the help of the social workers at the Kitengela Center. He told us that his social workers are like mothers. He loves them the way a child loves his mother. They are giving Jed and the other children at Kitengela just what they all yearn for; acceptance, understanding, and love.

Posted By Jonathan Homer

Posted Aug 11th, 2007


  • Amy Burrows

    August 17, 2007


    I feel like I just got kicked in the stomach. This is a painful, yet powerful, blog to read… As always, you have a gift for telling the story of the victim. And you’re right… given the context that surrounds Kenyan street children, is there anybody who is NOT a victim? Right vs. wrong? Good vs. evil? These black and white divisions don’t seem to apply. Wow.

  • Kathleen

    August 20, 2007


    Have you seen or heard of the new documentary “Glue Boys”? It is the story of the street boys of Kitale Kenya who sniff glue to survive. It also documents the “tricky but traceable chain of distribution” of the glue from multinational corporations who manufacture the glue, to the street dealers who sell it to the children. Eye opening and disturbing it will give new insight and awareness to this worldwide problem with street children. You can purchase it at

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