Bikes and bikes part 2.
Since we've been staying at KACH, we don't make the commute from Makutano to Kithoka on our bikes. We've been enjoying the time we get to spend with the "fortunate" few who moved into KACH but in the last few days. I've been thinking a lot about Makutano's main intersection kids, the ones who still sleep on the street every night. A lot of people have given up on chokoras because they are "too hard to rehabilitate". To be honest, I know I don't have what it takes to truly help them myself.. or is it courage I'm lacking? We've heard about how a lots of them escape homes like KACH to go back to the streets... too addicted to glue or simply unable to integrate with other kids their age. In the street, they have their own world, their own rules, I assume they find some level of comfort there. Lisa talked to Simon (who looks after the garden at KACH) about starting gardens in Makutano, where the street kids would work and eat from. Everyone is exited about the idea but more thinking needs to be done before it becomes reality. Funny how our encounters with the chokoras was the part we dreaded most about our bike ride home. By the end of the trip, it was the part we were looking forward to. As we approached the main intersection, we'd wait to see little barefoot people running out of alleys, screaming "Mike! ..JP!". We'd nod and invite them to follow us if we had food, a couple would jump on our bike racks, we would go around the corner and pull over at the next gas station's parking lot, step back while they eat, share food with each other, fight a bit, yell a bit, throw rocks at bigger kids coming to steal from them... Watching them eat was like watching the animal channel. But once the food was all gone, there was no more reason for them to hurry or to be on their guards. That's when we could enjoy a bit of time with them, learn a few more swahili words, learn about where they are from, how they got there, share smiles and laughs.. (they always got a kick out of our ki-swahili and ki-meru lines, and how hairy our legs are...!) Statistics say that by the time they are 20, most of these kids will be dangerous criminals. Desperate to belong, kids who are left on their own are more prone to be pulled in the wrong direction. As I'm about to go back to Canada, I can't help wondering what will happen to Kevin, Lino, Patrick, Emmanuel, Bundy, Tony, Francis and the rest of the crew we met this year.. When will I find the courage do something about it..?