Joshua + Jackson
Hi there. My name is Jackson and I'm 15 years old. I live at Abba's Heart now but before this I lived, no...existed, on the streets in Lodwar, Kenya. I can't call it living when all I did was steal food from dirty market streets, roam the town, and return to my bed (a piece of cardboard at the base of a tree), by my parents' graves. At least i wasn't alone, I had my cousin Joshua, age 14, to help me and we looked out for each other. We stuck together through the loss of our loved ones, abandonment, and through all the nights we went hungry. We filled our days by looking for things we could use as soccer balls and played against other street kids. I invested my energy, my hurt, my abandonment into the games and found myself getting better at this game. One day we received visitors at our tree. After we told them our story they left. Another day passed before they visited again. This time they asked us if we wanted to return to their home with them. Home. We were finally being given the chance to have a home! Joshua and I moved to Abba's Heart with them and adjusted to life with siblings, parents, and a house. Despite having a warm dry bed Joshua and I would sneak outside in the dark of the night to sleep under a tree. The concrete walls of our new home were suffocating to sleep within. A new routine was created as the weeks and months passed. Joshua and I went to a school where we were able to catch up to our grade level but soccer has remained my passion. I am now the best soccer player in our region! Joshua and I both love our new siblings and enjoy being older brothers. We face issues that arise, life isn't perfect, yet it is. We aren't rich but our bellies are full. We weren't born here but this is home. I don't just exist anymore....I live.
Benson + Titus + Ken + Kelvin
Hi there. Our names are Ben, Titus, Ken, and Kelvo. We 4 are brothers. I'm Benson and the oldest at 14. Titus is 13, Kennedy is 11, and Kelvin is 8. November of 2015 was only the beginning of our ard times. Our mom and baby sister died due to AIDS. They would not have had to die but our mom had a mental illness that kept her from asking for help. We all lived together, attending school and looking for food for 6 months. Our grandpa's brother looked out for us when he could but his age kept him from providing what we needed. In May 2016 a local man came to visit out hut. He left with Ken and Kelvin and took them to live at Abbas Heart but Titus and I were left behind. All we had was each other and now half of us were gone, we felt even lonelier than before. We had barely been able to find enough food for the 4 of us but after Ken and Kelvo left we found even less. Our walk to school seemed longer than the hour it usually takes without Ken and Kelvo's shenanigans to entertain us. Our only comfort was knowing that we would get to see them at school when we arrived. Food became less of a worry when Ken and Kelvo began giving their school lunches to us making sure we had at least 1 meal each day. 11 months after our little brothers left us a van came to our hut. The van was full of white people and Ken and Kelvo's new dad. The white man spoke to us first, asking me questions and eyeing me as I started tugging on my torn shirt. After the third time that I tried to cover myself the white man stopped talking and when I looked up at him I saw that he was crying. A small white woman continued talking in his place. They stayed for a little while, all of them crying before they began their trek back to their van. One more night we stayed in our hut, one more evening without eating supper, one more night without a bed, and one more night without our little brothers... but ONLY one more night because the next day the van came back, this time it was the man who took Ken and Kelvo from us 11 months before and this time, he came for us! Finally we were reunited with out brothers but now we have even more siblings, we have several little sisters, and food 3 times each day without having to search for it.
My name is Jamillah and I am 8 years old. I was the first girl to come live at Abba's Heart. My mother left me alone on the streets of the big town of Eldoret when I was just 3 years old. A week after I was abandoned a few of my aunties and uncles came to look for me. My auntie offered to take care of me but when we arrived to her home she made me go with out food. I tried to eat many things that seemed like food to me. I ended up with a lot of open sores all over my body from being malnourished and eating yucky things. One day a man came for me and my friend, Boniface, and he told us he would be our new daddy. He took us on an airplane ride to our new home where we have food everyday and a mom and dad that love us. I am no longer unwanted or just another girl on the streets.. I am a sister and a daughter. I am finally someone who matters. I have value. I have another beginning.
My name is Boniface but everyone calls me Zakayo (zuh- Ki'- o) and I am 11 years old. I know that I am 11 but other people tell me they think I am only 8, we won't know for sure because I don't have an accurate birth certificate. I am the little man at Abbas Heart. I've always been the little person wherever I've been. Before arriving at Abbas I was the little man in Lodwar where my grandmother took care of me. I say 'she took care of me" but that isn't quite true. Alcohol was her priority over me. Every morning, I had her first priority poured down my throat until I fell unconscious. I couldn't fight it or her. Remember, I was the little man. While I lay in her house, she left to find food. I was awakened to eat what she brought back to me. I didn't question where or how she got it, I was just grateful for food. Then it happened again, at bedtime I was forced to consume more alcohol until I blacked out but it wasn't as much as the the first time.. not enough to keep me out until my grandmother returned. I don't know where she went, I just know that this was my time to roam the town. Sneaking into movies was my specialty. It was the only pleasure I derived from my redundant life. That was my life. Every day. I couldn't fight it. I was still the little man. Then a man came to me one day. They talked to me and asked me some questions. The next day I had a home and a family to go to. Abbas Heart became my haven. There was no chance now of someone forcing me to drink until my body couldn't handle it. I finally felt safe. I didn't have to worry about fighting people now. I wasn't the little man anymore. I was the big man in a little body.
Hi. I'm Jackie and I'm 7. Life before living at Abbas was not exactly ideal. When I was 3, my mom died in a car accident, right in front of my eyes. My uncle decided to care for meas best he could when I had no one. I stayed at my uncle's home, despite him not being there. Work kept him from being with his family, where he put me. But he didn't know. He didn't know that I was being forced to watch his family eat and if I ate , it was the scraps. I wasn't allowed to eat inside. I guess I was considered a burden. Another mouth to feed. More money going to unnecessary things. For 2 years endured. Finally, I saw the light at the end of the tunnel. My uncle was informed of what was happening and I was finally being rescued. What I didn't expect was my aunt going to extreme measures to keep me, the child she didn't want. I was hidden away for 3 months by my aunt. I was rescued after 90 torturous days. Abbas Heart became my home. Brothers and sisters surrounded me. A mom was there for me for the first time in longer than I could remember. Eating became daily. In the beginning, sitting together at the table seemed foreign. A routine was eventually formed. Weeks passed before the open sores on my body healed. I constantly drifted into sleep no matter where I was, causing my mom and dad to worry about me. Malnutrition had taken its toll on my body . It was finally okay. Instead of being chased away from the dinner table, I was welcomed to eat as much as I could. Instead of being left to fend for myself, I had someone to care for my health. I finally had someone. I have someone.
Mwende + Lilly + Bernard
Our names are Mwenda, Lilly, and Benard. I'm Mwenda, oldest, and I'm 3. My twin siblings are 2 years old.We're new here at Abba's, having only arrived in August 2017. We had lived with our grandmother after our mom died last year, but grandma already had children of her own. She wants us to have a good life and she knew she couldn't provide much of a chance for us, so she let us come here. We miss her sometimes but we have lots of brothers and sister here to entertain us. Now, food and money aren't worries of ours. We know that whatever happens, our needs will be met. We're young, barely having experienced life yet but we already have more opportunities than we would have anywhere else.