It’s a Sunday afternoon and you have this indoor mood. Like professor Bamba awaiting his Mexican friends, you want to browse those channels on that Tv. You want to watch those movies you downloaded and skim through your social accounts to see who followed you or how mentions you have. You have those web design projects but you are not on point. You just want to relax, until you land into this WhatsApp group.
A friend of yours runs this charity event after a certain period of time called @shareloveafrica #LoveKwaStreets. He posts this notification that he is holding it today at Central Park as from 2pm. You are tempted to go. You remember you have a camera, uncharged and you have no story on this blog. You tell yourself that you are not going to ride a charity event to get traffic to your site and decide to stay.
Something tells you that you an upcoming photographer and you need to improve skills so you can volunteer with professional photos but a voice says that you cannot take advantage of street kids to garner skills in photography. So you rule out the thought of attending. You remember that if you wrote this story for your blog, someone could get inspired but also you think that people will judge you that you want to use street families for a personal financial gain.
A friend comes for some IT assistance and you remember he has a tripod. A thought strikes you that you have an amazing rooftop in your apartment and now you start imagining of those Nairobi nights shots. The Thika Road light streaks from the speed cars overlooking Safaricom Stadium Kasarani. You ask him to lend you his tripod which he gladly does. You charge your camera awaiting the night shots.
Out of the blue you text your friend asking him if you can do the story and take shots at the event in which he gladly agrees. You ask yourself why you have done that and you fail to get an explanation. You remember that you were support to practice those piano classical pieces, you remember that you have to get your laundry done etc. You take a quick bath and set off. It is 3pm and you get to central park at 4pm.
You get that there is massive confusion as the street kids were fighting for food and there was a scandal that we, are there to take photos of them and put them in ads of liquor and are there to rob them off their talent and use them for a personal gain. My friend Obi get discouraged as he handles the feud. He has given a lot in this, got disappointed many times but the God in him wouldn’t just let him quit.
Am there looking at the sun and am thinking of this twilight shots. We get into a circle and there was this woman who looked decent. Very decent to be associated with the streets. She had these two marks on both her cheeks like hot paste was poured down her face. She is a beneficiary of @shareloveafrica #LoveKwaStreets project so many knew her story but I didn’t. She look calm and composed. Her face was pale and my eyes were fixed upon her.
I cannot remember a single word that was being discussed in the circle as my mind was racing with thoughts of this woman. I thought what if this was my mother? What if I was her kid on the streets and she was using all means possible to fend for me. I thought if I could handle her whatever struggles for a day and my mind went blank. She was asking for a rehab for her daughter. I had this burning question that I wanted to ask her I wanted to ask her if she knew God but the voice that tells you, “this is weird” runs in you like a porcupine’s spike.
I ask Obi if she was born again and he tells me he had no clue. Am asking myself why am so concerned about this woman’s life. Why am so much meddling with #LoveKwaStreets affairs and am just a guest photographer. I thought that am not a saint myself. Maybe I sin more than her but I want to ask her if she knew Christ.
I can’t take it anymore. I call this woman aside and start interacting with her and my first question is, “Do you know Christ?” She hesitates but says yes. I call a friend and form a 3 people circle. I didn’t talk to her about Christ because she already knows that. I never told her that Christ loved her and she should not worry again as we are going to pray her troubles off. Instead, I asked her how real she was with God.
It is with this that she nodded and gave this guilty-dog look and said that the lies a lot. We ask her what she lies about and she says that when she begs in the streets and someone gives her something to eat and she gets full she will lie to another person for more. I was struck. I wondered how if this was lying in any way. I remembered the times I lied and saw that my lies were nothing compared to her’s.
I ask her if she goes to church and says that she does but her church has got no roof and the floor is poor. She says that she feels burdened by the fact that she has to contribute to repair the church and give an offering to the church which he doesn’t have. She narrates of how she can’t get help from the church because she doesn’t appear in the contribution book. I get chills running all through my body and I start talking. I tell this woman that Jesus loves her. I tell her that she doesn’t have to appear in heaven’s contribution book for any blessings from above. I tell her that she doesn’t have to carry the burdens of her sins anymore. I tell her that offerings and church contributions should not worry her anymore. What should worry her is her life and her family’s. Do they know God? Do they know how He is capable of?
I ask her again if she knows God. She says she doesn’t. My friend asks her if she wants to get born again and like a small kitten that has found her long lost mother, she says yes. I tell her that there will be challenges. I tell her that she shouldn’t let sin be a burden. She shouldn’t let it separate her from Christ. I tell her that sometimes I sin but I don’t let it create that rift between my savior and I. I tell her that I confess because I know He will forgive me and strive not to sin again. We first pray about her life. We thank God for meeting her and pray that God relieves the pain in her life and that she inspires other street families once God manifests in her life.
We pray with her and she receives Jesus. Tears almost well up my eyes as we hold hands. There was this feeling that I couldn’t explain. I tell them that we will meet one day just the three of us and we will cry like kids, just because of where God will have placed her. She agrees that I take a photo and do her story so that she can inspire someone.
She is so happy as I tell her the angels are singing in heaven welcoming her into the kingdom. She now narrates of how her husband died. He was working with transit vehicles. A driver perhaps. She talks of her home Nyandarua and her marriage in Kabete. She talks of the bitter part of how the mother in law drove her off with the clothes she had on and her 5 kids aged 18, 16, 7, 5 and 3. That was in the year 2013. She says of how hard it was to go back to her home and she ended up in the streets. She started in Westlands until she was driven off by street gangs, the same boys that raped her eldest daughter who has now a small kid aged 3 under her care.
She talks of how she got arrested while illegally crossing Thika Road with her 3 year old daughter as she was going for a paid job of washing people’s clothes. At the station, after narrating her hardships, they asked her if they could take to a children’s home. The child is currently at a children’s home and she says she often visits her. I could see her pain as she narrated about her eldest daughter who is currently a drug addict at a section called Nigeria in Mathare. You could see her love to her as she was asking for a rehab so that her daughter may be well again.
She tells me that they live in a house in Mathare after well-wishers came to her rescue. I ask her source of income and she tells me that she was happy when she was in the NYS project until it was discontinued, she however says that her second born girl sells cakes on the streets and that is not enough for fending her two sons aged around 9 and 5 and her daughter’s kid aged 3.
She is on a job hunt. She is back on the streets hustling again. Back to the sight of those who raped her daughter. She fears of her 3rd born son who is corrupted by street life.
You have smashed that glass. You have angrily broken that pot, that expensive Tv. You have cursed, you have drank your life and given up. I have missed count of the times I have asked God Why. I have missed count of the times I have said screw Christianity but when I got to hear of this woman’s story, when I tried to put myself into her shoes, I knew outright that I could have committed suicide. I wouldn’t be as strong as her. As strong as she is, she still keeps hope no matter the challenge, Are You?
I was challenged. My CV has a section of Corporate Social Responsibility that I do community service, which I don’t. My aim is to get that well paying job and live the life. The founders of this thing know almost every street kid there. How they relate is amazing and they are not that well in life. They use all they have in life for the betterment of another but what do I do? What do you do? I guess that’s the voice that was telling me not to go. I bet there is a reason for everything in life. One is rich another is poor. To bridge the gap. I thank God for @shareloveafrica #LoveKwaStreets project. Feel like supporting them? Find them on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
I also thank God for Kkrew for it were not for the Kkrew’s #StreetEvangelism I couldn’t have preached to that woman and receive Christ. Guys, someone out there needs love, they need that packet of milk and mandazi. They need you. What do you offer to others? With the little or the immense you have?