Thursday, October 31, 2013

The Lost Boys in Neverland

Sometimes I find myself asking what is so alluring about the streets?  Why, when the boys have perfectly good families, do they keep returning to the streets?  And that’s when I always think of Peter Pan and the lost boys. For the street boys, the city of Maputo is like Neverland! Each day they wake up and beg at the red lights for a few coins to buy bread and then they spend their day looking for treasures in the trash dumpsters.  At night, they find a place to sleep – sometimes in a shopfront or abandoned house and sometimes they build little houses out of cardboard, sticks, and plastic.  All day long, they roam the streets looking for adventure.  No adults telling them what to do and when to do it.   No one forcing them to bathe or wash their clothes or go to school.  It’s a carefree life. What 10 to 15 year old wouldn’t love that life?!

But then there is the harsh realities to life in this Neverland.  Sickness.  Drug addiction.  Crime.  Nights of suffering because of the cold and rain.  Beatings.  Rape. 

I see boys that have been on the streets since 2009 when I began working with Masana and I am shocked at how old they look.  They are growing up on the streets and because of their addictions and lives of crime, it’s like they’ve aged 10 years in these past 5 years.  Their innocence has been lost.  Eventually, Neverland looses it’s allure but for many of these boys it feels hopeless.  They have been estranged from their families for so long that its hard to go back.  They know no other life. 

But there is hope.  The God I serve is a God of redemption.  He longs to restore the hearts of these boys to the hearts of their fathers!  And so I’m reminded that God is still at work in the hearts and souls of these boys.  He’s still using Masana to restore these “lost boys” to their families. 
Proof?  In the last week, 2 “lost boys” who have been on the streets for 3 or more years decided to leave Neverland behind and return to their families.  God is restoring their hearts to their family.  That’s what He loves to do.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Melina and Her Brothers

A few pictures of Melina during her first days at Masana:

 Melina's first visit to Masana

 Melina and Luis

 Melina and Jorge

 Melina and Simeão

 Melina and me with Jorge and Little Luis

 Melina and me with Big Luis and Jorge

 Melina is one adored little girl :-) 

Melina with "the baby whisperer"

Sunday lunch with 2 reintegrated boys, Jose and Erson

Paito and Melina

Big brother Felix with little Melina

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Mommy-Daughter Time at Masana

After 2 months away from Masana on maternity leave, I started back this past Monday.  Roberto and I spent much time discussing our options for Melina once I was back at Masana - hire a nanny, ask a family member to watch her, or take her with me to Masana.  We opted for option 3 and week number 1 was great!!  

Mama Julia, Alexis, Deanna, and Izilpa are all a huge help taking turns holding Melina and giving her a bottle. The boys love the chance to cuddle with her between naps.  It is amazing to watch these often hardened street boys interact with Melina.  Each morning, as we enter Masana, the youngest boys run to kiss Melina's cheek.  One of the toughest boys at Masana, Joao, is one of the best at getting Melina to stop crying.  Simão, an older boy who does his own thing most of the time, loves to talk to Melina and pinch her little cheek.  As I watch the boys interacting with Melina, I find myself praying that these little moments they have with her will remind them of younger siblings they have back at home who they should be helping take care of.  

I always wanted to be a mom who figured out how my baby fit into my life rather than completely changing my life to accommodate my baby.  And so far, Melina is fitting into life at Masana perfectly!  My prayer for her is that as she grows up around these boys, she will develop the heart of a servant filled with compassion for the least of these.

Melina with Mama Julia in the Masana kitchen