Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Alfred Part II: The Department of Social Welfare

Martin and I decided we should try to get Alfred into school but we were being cautioned by many people not to be scammed by the street kids. One of the teachers at Daraja had a close friend in the social welfare department named Mr. Hezron, and he advised us to talk to him about the boy so maybe he could shed some light on his story.

Martin and I took Alfred to the office of Mr. Hezron and Alfred waited outside. “I appreciate your interest in this matter, but I must caution you that most of these street boys are addicted to being handed money and do not want to work hard. Most of the boys that go back to school end up running away.” Mr. Hezron started “I will have someone of my department look into this but please don’t be encouraged.”

By this time we had grown pretty close to Alfred and though we had considered it, the idea that he might be scamming us was a hard one to swallow. I told Mr. Hezron that Alfred was outside and would like to speak to him. Alfred came in the office, and though he was obviously intimidated by the older serious man he answered his questions in Swahili. I found encouragement in the fact that Alfred was willing to be there answering questions. I was not encouraged by his inability to look Mr. Hezron in the eye however.

After speaking with him for some time Mr. Hezron looked at us and said “It seems likely that this boy is a candidate for help, I will have someone do the case study and you can pick it up in two days time.”

We left somewhat bolstered by the meeting. I was sure that if Alfred had just been looking for a handout that he would have balked at talking to the skeptical Mr. Hezron.

To Be Continued…

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