We recently helped 2 boys leave the streets and Maputo and return to their families!!! Here are their stories:
Thomas has been living on the streets on and off again since he was 10 years old. He is now 17. For 10 years he would leave home for no real reason, live on the streets for a few months, and then return home when he was ready to. Thomas has a great father who is a pastor. His father just does not understand why Thomas chooses to live on the streets when he has a family that loves him and provides for him.
In the past, other centers have helped Thomas return to his family. Why do I think us helping him this time will be any different? Thomas' father had a great and encouraging answer to that question. He said that there is something different about Masana and the way we have gone about reintegrating Thomas with his family. We are the first project that has invested time in talking with them as a family and getting to the root of what drives Thomas to the streets. We are the first project that has provided a bit of counseling for Thomas as he makes this transition back home. And we will continue doing all of this for at least a year.
Fred has one of the biggest smiles I've ever seen on the streets of Maputo. He just shines! He has a slight tendency to tell tall-tales but he is a good kid. He doesn't get into much trouble. He doesn't steal. He is one of the boys that hung around the house with us more often...one of the boys that we were able to connect with on a more personal level. And now he is home with his family.
Fred is 15 years old. Both of his parents have passed away. He is now living with his brother and his brother's wife in a community not far from the city.
I find this happens often: God will highlight a certain boy and give me and my housemates a special bond with him. He'll be one of the boys that we trust a little bit more than the others. He'll be one that opens up to us and shares about his life on and off the streets. And these are usually the boys we see making the decision to return home. And that is what our being here is all about.