Sleeping In A Bed Is A Luxury Many Children Don’t Have.
People always say to me, "How do you do what you do?" "I couldn't do it. It's so sad. So, depressing." From the moment I stepped foot on the continent of Africa more than 8 years ago, I don’t recall ever being overcome by sadness or getting depressed by the encounters I have. I believe that is a testament to the African people. They innately accept the lives they were born into, which to outsiders may seem bleak; their resilience in overcoming hardship fills me with admiration not, pity.
That was until I began spending time with the street kids of Kiseyni.
These days there is no place I'd rather be then hanging with these kids. The afternoons we spend together are filled with laughter, love and appreciation. I enjoy every minute I spend with them ... until the sun goes down and it's time for me to leave.
When night settles in and the slum turns to darkness, you can see the kids begin to fade. Overcome by exhaustion compounded by hunger and the effects of nonstop glue sniffing, their eye begin to get heavy ... though they try to fight it. Sleeping leaves them vulnerable.
Most of the younger kids, 6 to 15 years old, are forced to sleep outside or under a container on the ground — leaving them wide open to theft and assault. The older ones are a little more fortunate, bullying their way into securing the insides of a container or constructing a makeshift house out of a discarded tarp both, allowing them more protection. The more exposed the child is, the easier a target they become.
It’s only when night begins to fall and it’s time for me go that I become sad. The thought of going home to a bed with a mattress, pillows, sheets and blanket weighs on me. I constantly ask Ben (Shule's in-country coordinator), “Can’t I just take them home with me to sleep?” He always reply with, “Sorry, but no.” The ride home on the back of a boda has become a time for reflection.
Prior to meeting the street kids of Kisenyi, I never thought about whether someone had a bed. I’ve never thought of a bed as a luxury. I’m now acutely aware that there are children everywhere forced to sleep on a floor or even outside on the ground ... just like my friends, the invisible children of Kisenyi.
Without the protection of family, government services or shelter, these children will never know what it feels like to sleep in a warm bed — unless we do something about it. I ask you to join us in buying beds, mattresses, sheets and pillows for these children, so that we can begin to move them off the streets and into a loving and safe environment.
Shule Foundation will rent a home to be used as a rehabilitation center for the children of Kisenyi. In groups of 20 at a time, we will move children off the streets of Kisenyi and into our home. There we will rehabilitate them, help locate their families in the hopes of reuniting and resettling them — all while preparing them to go back to school.