Monday, December 19, 2011

There he lay, badly beaten while others walked by

I got up this morning wondering what adventures today would bring.  I took a leisurely walk into town and it was beautiful.  I made my way down near Khetia's where I usually can find my kids I hang out with.  I stood outside on the sidewalk and shortly a young man, probably about 16 or 17 years old ran up to me.  He spoke very little English so another man walking by helped interpret.  I wasn't sure what he was asking but I gathered that it was for his friend that he said was beaten up and he needed help.  I've heard this kind of scam around town before and honestly, I thought that's what this was.  I said that I could not help.  Something was different next.  As I watched him hang his head and run off I could see fear in his eyes.  I saw a genuine concern that I've never seen when someone is trying to pull a scam.  As I stood there I knew I had to find him.  In the 30-45 seconds that passed, he was out of sight.  I circled the block a bit and finally caught up to him.  I asked him to take me to his friend.

We walked up the street and there he was.  There was this other young man about the same age.  His name is Peter Lojore.  Peter could barely open his eyes and was very weak.  So weak that when I felt for his pulse I could barely find one.  Something looked bad about his leg.  The smallest touch on his knee caused intense pain.  I've seen people faking pain before - he was not.  Another of his friends that was there cut his pant legs so I could look at his knees.  His left knee had a deep cut that was still fresh and bloody.  His right knee was swollen bigger than a softball.  I got bit and pieces of the story from a few other people around.  What I can put together is this:

Peter and his friends have a push cart job.  Basically, the have a big, wooden cart that they push around town and carry things for people.  He must have been hired by someone and took his cart down a street that some other street boys work.  Last night those other guys were drunk and came to Peter and beat him up.  I believe that a metal pipe was used, though I'm not positive.

At this point, I knew that I couldn't just walk away doing nothing.  Peter very obviously needed medical attention.  I managed to get him to the Kitale District Hospital and left a deposit that should cover his bills there.  The initial doctor to look at him suspects at least 3 fractured bones in Peter.  The entire time that I was taking him to the hospital on lookers stopped and laughed.  They would crack jokes and laugh about Peter.  They could laugh, but no one would stop to help.  I full out yelled at a crowd of men in the back of a pickup truck for laughing while we were trying to get Peter onto a motorcycle.  

What I saw today was upsetting.  And I don't just mean the beaten young man.  It was upsetting to see the attitudes of so many through town.  To them, Peter and his friends are nothing more than street boys and nuisances.  I saw something different in them.  I saw two of Peter's friends desperately seeking out help for him.  I saw these two walk away from their push carts to come sit with Peter in the hospital.  One of them looked at me and said that he has spent most of his life now with Peter and others on the streets.  He said, "these guys are my brothers".  I left the hospital after a while and promised to return tomorrow with lunch for them and to be sure that the doctors are treating him well.  Peter's friend walked out with me saying that because I helped it was his job to make sure I got out of the hospital safely.  Once I was outside the gate, he went back in to be with Peter.  It's totally safe there, but the fact that he walked me out was amazing.  What I saw in these street boys today was so precious.  I saw in them what I wish I could see in so many of the other locals:  concern for other people.

When push comes to shove, who are you?  Are you the one to stick by your friends - or even a stranger - or just an onlooker making jokes?  Are you in too much of a hurry to stop and show compassion?  Or will you push aside your schedule and time to do the right thing?  

No comments:

Post a Comment