Thursday, April 1, 2010

Does this look like the face of a future lawyer?

Meet Alfred Maina Njuguna, 15 years old, he is one of the many street kids in Nanyuki. He is part of Frank Bruno’s gang. He lives with his father in Liki village, one of the worst slums in Nanyuki. His mother is still alive but is no longer in the picture. She lives in a far away town with the rest of Alfred’s 4 siblings. Up until last year Alfred was a typical liki schoolboy. Broke and living in a little shack with no electricity, no water, and sharing a twin bed with his dad, but still a schoolboy.

About a year ago his father was doing a job as a day laborer and was riding in a truck with his employer. A car came and hit them seriously damaging his back. His father was now for the most part unable to do physical labor which is how they had survived previously. Alfred and his father started having to skip meals. At first they would skip lunch and then eventually dinner. Alfred would get home from school and there would be no food at home. He started leaving school to find something to eat.

He found that in the street he was usually able to find enough food or money to feed both himself and his father. They rely on well wishers to pay their rent every month which is 400 shillings (about $5.75).

He told me he wanted to go to school…but all the street boys say that. He told me he wanted money for a uniform…also a pretty common scam. We asked him some trivia questions: What is Barak Obama’s middle name? “Hussein” he said. Impressive, but Barak is a big deal over here since his father is Kenyan. Other trivia questions proved to me that this kid was not only charming but also pretty smart. He deserves to go to school if he wants to. A fellow volunteer Martin and myself decided to see what we could do about this. We will have to be careful to make sure he honestly wants to go to school.

To Be Continued…