Kabwata is in the planning stage of opening a home for girls. There is a man, Rev. Chilunjika who has a ministry to street children that has been helping Kabwata in some of these initial meetings.
A couple Saturdays ago a few of the members went out with him to the City market downtown just to observe the children. I had planned to go along with Leah, but was so sick that I could not go. The experience was eye opening to many of those that went.
Many of the kids in Lusaka on the street use Stickla. Glue that they used to get high on. The boys have it in smaller waterbottles and the girls put it in their chitenges. Leah said they met one girl (probably about 16) with her baby. The baby stays in the chitenge on the mothers back and therefore has the drug going into her system as well. Mr. Chilunjika was telling us that in the last few years there has been an increase in the pregnancy rate among the girls, it has become a status symbol for them to have a baby.
We made plans later in the week to stop by where Mr. Chilunjika works and have a meeting with him. He heads up the ministry at the Chisomo Drop-In center.
Leah had been communicating with him over email before she arrived in Zambia, so she was eager to see his ministry.
The drop-in center is, like it sounds, a place for street kids to just drop in. They can take a bath, wash their clothes and get a meal for both breakfast and lunch.
When we arrived, most of the boys that were there were sleeping. Mr. Chilunjika explained to us that at night when they are on the street they are just trying to get by and because it is cold they are not able to sleep. So they come here and sleep. They were just laying on the ground both outside and inside the rented house. When they come to the center they are automatically missing out on the money they could be trying to earn on the streets during the day.
We had a good meeting and Mr. Chilunjika shared their goals and desires for these kids. They work hard at reuniting them with their families and giving counsel before the kids go back into the home and after.
They have a Center, where if the kids are serious about getting off the street they commit to going there and living there. The drop in center is only in the daytime.
He said that there are kids who work on the streets during the day and then those that truly live on the streets, and that there is often just a thin line, or small amount of time before those that work there, end up there. Many of the kids come from the compounds.
After we finished the meeting, we were shown around the house and then were speaking with the man that does the cooking. He said that they have a teacher that volunteers twice a week but she did not show up that day. So we looked at the clock and determined that we had about 45 minutes before we had to leave. We offered to stay and Leah taught a very impromptu, (but good), lesson on spatial things and grammar. Directions, left and right which then worked on letters and having them write. Some of the kids don’t know how to read.
The Lord has really given Leah a gift in teaching and drawing people out and making them feel comfortable. I looked at the situation, and knew if it was just me standing there with a small group of teenagers, I would have had no clue what to do!
But she just jumped in and made it up as we went along, seeing what the needs are and how she could help, and I could clearly see she was loving it.
I enjoyed being a part of it, and helping but I know where my abilities are and that doesn’t seem to be it. I am much more “comfortable” jumping in and holding a baby or playing with little kids any day. It is great to see how the Lord gives us each our own “sphere” that we find particularly natural and easy to work in. Though it is good to expand and be stretched too.
Please pray for these street kids.
The boys are the ones that come mostly to the drop in center. They tend to keep the girls away, they see it as “their place” and don’t want them there.
Pray for the boys. Also pray for the girls who are these teen mothers. Mr. Chilunjika told us that there was a woman the police were trying to catch who was running a prostitution circuit. The girls would work for her and in exchange she would buy them nice clothes. It is so sad to hear. Their greatest need…The Gospel.