Lying in the corner of my bedroom, I have a pile of things to pack for my three months in Kenya. I have books, clothes, and all the Pepto Bismol that anyone traveling could ask for. While I am probably going to have to leave a lot of my belongings at home, there is one thing that I will never be able to leave behind anywhere—a keepsake from a previous fellow, Jonathan Homer.
At the end of last summer, Jonathan returned home from the Undugu Society of Kenya with souvenirs for all his friends and family. He was sitting in his room unpacking and realized that he brought back more boxes than could fit in his suitcase. These were boxes full of anger and sadness. His anger emanated from the harassment and exploitation of the children living on the streets of Nairobi and his sadness came from how close he got to suffering that he, himself, started to suffer.
When Jonathan was unpacking these boxes, he felt the need to give them to everyone, to make everyone feel the anger and sadness that built up inside him during his three months helping the tens of thousands of children and youth that live or work on the streets of Nairobi. I received boxes from Jonathan and now I am taking them back to Kenya to do something about them.
Right now the boxes Jonathan sent me are small. I am so angry that children resort to sniffing glue since it numbs the pain from their hunger and cold. I am furious that young children are abused by others since they have no safe place to call home. It breaks my heart knowing that there is a nine year old child that has experienced more trauma than any one should ever have to. Right now, all of this anger and sadness is filling my heart, but I know by August, it will be filling my entire being.
It’s my job this summer to get you to feel this too and to encourage you to do something about it. It is a large task, but these children need it.
Posted By Kristina Rosinsky
Posted May 21st, 2008
May 21, 2008
Since you know I’m a bit of a pop the bubble type anyway….
I think you need to keep another box, one that will store away all the stuff that you can’t do. Because there’s no way you can help every child, there’s no way you can give something, even anything to every child. And if you don’t store that “something” in some kind of box, you personally won’t be able to accomplish what you went to Kenya to do. And that is you job as a Peace Fellow. To help as many street kids as possible. But at the same time, don’t forget to store the extra box. Somebody wise once told me that I needed to store that information away otherwise I wouldn’t be able to do what I came there to do. Just passing on some of that advice.
May 25, 2008
You have already helped me to feel that anger and sadness by your description of children sniffing glue. It is a hard thing to imagine; not only going hungry but essentially self-drugging to ward off the pains and pangs of hunger.
June 3, 2008
what a great follow-up to Jonathan’s blog.. I remember that blog specifically, it always made an impact on me. It seems like you’re a natural at this blogging thing- have you done it before? 😉
August 9, 2008