Tuesday, November 1, 2011

PB&J with a side of love

 Back in March I wrote a second part to a blog on poverty that can be found By clicking here.  In this blog is also a link to a previous blog on the same topic.  In this blog I made the point that:
...lack of resources is NOT poverty!  It is the result of an impoverished mindset!  Look, when I lived with my biological mother before my adoption we lived in poverty.  We spent nights on the streets.  What changed when I was adopted?  It was not just that I was given "things".  What changed was that people showed that they cared.  My MIND started to be renewed.  I began to feel that I mattered.  And here is the simple, point blank, cannot be clearer truth:  PEOPLE MATTER!
The very first blog I wrote concerning poverty was a result of an interaction with a homeless woman I met in Camden, NJ while on a work trip.  Here's quick blurb:
...As I reflect on my encounter with this woman in Camden, I wonder what else I could have done. I could have bought 2 sandwiches and shared a meal with her. Why didn’t I? Perhaps because I too fell into a common feeling with poverty - fear. I think that because we don’t fully understand poverty, we fear it (again, myself included). What was I afraid of? Maybe she would have asked me for more.

These two points relate to today's adventure.  I've been enjoying my time with the street boys so much.  I love every moment being on the streets with them.  The other day Daniel gave me the idea to make some PB&J sandwiches and share them with the boys in town.  I immediately began to think about the second blurb above.  I wish that I would have sat down and shared a meal with the woman in Camden, but I can't change the past.  I didn't eat with her; I stayed in fear.  Not today.  

Yesterday I bought two loafs of bread, some peanut butter, jelly and some cheese doodles.  I put them in my bag this morning and walked to town with two of the TI interns.  We made it as far as the train tracks when I heard my friend Alex-Juma yell, "the Muzungu!!" as he jumped up and ran to me.  Quick pause for a moment - I love this kid!  He is probably one of my favorite street boys.  What upsets me is that I'm positive that he has a family.  This kid is smart, funny and a blast to be around.  He recently chipped his front tooth, wears no shoes and ratty, old clothing.  I can't imagine how as a parent you can allow your child to live this way, and in fact enforce that he does so he can beg all day and bring home drinking money.  - Okay, back to today...I stayed there on the train tracks and hung out with the kids.  We played different games and just sat down.  The boys taught me a new game played with some coins.  Every time I sit with them, I'm amazed at how they seem to have adopted me into their culture.  Today they offered more of their small food and some water to me.  

After about an hour or so some older kids showed up.  I got a really bad vibe from them from their actions and talk.  Not long after, Alex-Juma and two others got up to leave.  I picked up the games and left with them.  We walked closer to town and sat down in the grass where we ate some PB&J and cheese doodles.  I think that this was probably one of my favorite meals I've had in a really long time.  After this we walked through town a bit.  The kids wanted to cross the street near Khetias because they were afraid of the security guard.  They said that he hits them.  If you know me at all, you know that this does not sit well with me.  He and I exchanged some words along with a manager sitting inside while the kids stood in the street watching.  I love standing up for these kids.  They need someone to protect them.  Someone to show them that they matter.  Go back to the first blurb:  "What changed when I was adopted?  It was not just that I was given "things".  What changed was that people showed that they cared."

That's my day of PB&J with a  side of love.  

PS - You can see pictures of this on my Facebook page.  Sorry, they take way too long to upload onto here right now...