On Friday afternoon Morris hopped on his motorbike to go run a few errands in town. He turned to me and said, “Who should I take?” Going out with Uncle Morris is a big event, not only do you get to go to town, but you get a ride on the motorcycle. Francis and I looked at each other and smiled. I winked and he ran into the house to change, because any trip out means looking ‘smart’.
The hours passed and while the rest of the boys were in class with Jennifer I sat at Morris’s desk organizing the medical files and sending emails and updates. My phone rang. It was Morris and they were at CRO an organization that works with street kids during the day. The call was short. He said, “We found Jimmy.” I said, “bring him home”.
We first met Jimmy on the street back in February. He has one of the most beautiful smiles I have ever seen. His smile is so big it splits his face like a watermelon. He had returned home by the time we opened Atin Afrika and when we discovered last week that he was back on the street we made it our mission to find him.
Jimmy is not an orphan, he has his family and we will be working in partnership with CRO to mend the fences between him and his family and try to bridge the gap between them. We don’t want Jimmy to fall back into street life so he will be living with us at Atin Afrika as we work to offer him the counseling and support he needs. We are also looking to pay his school fees. Too many kids wind up on the street when their families cannot afford to send them to school or don’t consider school to be a priority. Morris and I firmly believe that access to education is one of the keys to getting kids off of the street.
Jimmy is settling in so well at Atin Afrika. When Morris and Francis returned with him the other boys cheered. Jimmy swaggered into the compound and smiled. Then he flashed that megawatt smile and won over Richard, Grace and Jennifer. Oh dear, we may have a ladies man in our midst……….