In the movie Peter Pan, Pete Pan and Tinker Bell visit the island of the lost boys, A place for orphans. Nairobi, the capital of Kenya, has over 300,000 boys living on the streets, many of them living their lives at the underpasses of the cities arterial highways. These boys as young as five live with the other homeless who inhabit this major city. They are subjected to predators of all kinds. It is hard to imagine being so young and having to fend for myself in this world.
The Little sisters of St. Francis Assisi offer an alternative to street life for these street orphans Kweli Home of Hope provides a residence, three meals a day, and an opportunity for these boys to experience a loving, safe and nurturing home.
The boys greeted us with a warm welcome and after introductions put on a show that could make the YouTube top charts. They danced, rapped, Recited poems and even did some acrobatics in a small room crammed full. One of the boys read a poem about happiness. A line from that poem and the way that young man read it is etched in my memory. He said happiness is here and now -don’t wait for it to come later. What a profound bit of wisdom coming from the mouth of a boy who had experienced such frightening conditions on the streets.
When the entertainment ended The boys invited us white folk to get up and dance with them. While I was unable to do the sophisticated moves they did with every limb of their body, I did my best to keep up with a mixture of Lebonese, Italian, and rock ‘n’ roll dancing. They laughed as I tried to imitate their moves and for a few moments we just celebrated the joy of being free to move our bodies to the rhythmic beat of the music.
As we were about to leave, the boys presented us with wrist bracelets that they had made of simple beads. Each bracelet was individualized with our names.
The plan is to move this house of hope to a rural area just outside of Nairobi where the boys will be engaged in a variety of agriculture activities and have a little more space than they have now. It is hoped that this environment will offer them a refuge from the harshness of the city and a place to experience the simple joys of God’s good earth
In his ministry Jesus walked to the places where the poor, forgottenand lost people of his world Lived to offer healing and hope and a safe harbor in God’s reign. This is what the good news is all about. And Jesus shared the truth that every person on this planet is God’s beloved son or daughter. Thatis what the little sisters of St. Francis do at this home of hope for the lost boys of Nairobi. It is no coincidence that the name Kweli means truth in Swahili
Prayer for this day: Jesus, refuge of the lost and broken hearted, give me the grace to be a refuge for all who are discarded and marginalized in my little corner of this world. And help me to be an instrument to bring your justice and truth to reign on this fragile planet. Amen