My Eugene is home! I never thought those words would come out of my mouth or be typed by my fingers! Seriously though, if you know me you know I love kids. I've always loved kids and always knew I wanted to be a Mom. But Eugene...we've known him for close to seven months now; his glue habit and behavior totally pushed me away. He also seemed to have an attitude of "give me, give me, give me", but all the street boys do, some just push harder, like Eugene did.
Eugene always had glue...always. Even we we are telling him "hapana glue" (no glue) there he was with it hanging out of his mouth. The boy always had it and never tried to hide it. His hand would be out begging for food, clothes, shoes and of course money while he was clearly getting high. Often times the boys would put their glue in their pocket or the front of their pants or shorts. Not Eugene, his was always on display, you never had to look for it.
Eugene was always more animated than the other boys. The amount of English he speaks is very small and he's loud. Once we were eating lunch with him and he yelled across the restaurant for the waiter to bring him maji (water). No tafadali (please), just "gape maji" (give me water) where everyone could hear. Talk about embarrassing for me. Thankfully, the workers knew Eugene and didn't think I was responsible for his bad manners. Another time when we were in town eating, he saw us, came in, ordered food and sat down. We didn't invite him, he just decided that he was going to eat with us and of course we were paying ;).
Jeff always found Eugene's behavior to be funny. I found it annoying. Jeff used to say "One day we are coming back for Eugene." to which I would reply "No, we aren't!" While of course Jeff would have the final say, I just really couldn't imagine Eugene ever seeing us as more than a free lunch. But over the last 6 months I think we grew on him because he started asking us to take him to "shule" (school).
So Saturday we were in Bungoma doing our weekly shopping trip for food and Eugene was on my mind. We had just 15 days earlier left him in tears in Bungoma when he was begging us to take him. I was wondering if we would see him. I was wondering if he would be mad that we didn't take him, would he understand? We passed one of our usual stores so we could go to the pharmacy and I didn't see Eugene. But as we were leaving the pharmacy and headed to a new place for lunch we pass him. He spots us and starts yelling "Jeff, Jeff, Jeff!" and running after us.
Eugene had 2 friends with him, and of course they wanted to eat too. So Jeff, Nickson, the 3 boys and myself all went into eat. In the middle of lunch I lean over to Jeff and say "I think today is the day". I told Jeff I knew we didn't have the funds for the bed yet, but that we couldn't just keep waiting. He would have a place to sleep and now was just as good a time as ever. Jeff messaged Ray to make sure he was onboard with today being Eugene's day and he gave the all clear.
Eugene's situation is complicated. He and his older brother (we plan to bring Emmanuel home soon) have been abandoned by their mother. In Kenya, often times when the mother gets remarried the children from previous relationships are discarded. If the stepfather does not agree to take the kids in, the mother leaves the kids behind and starts a new life without them. Such is the case with Eugene, Emmanuel and some of the other street boys we know.
Eugene has been home for 3 days and is doing great. He enjoyed his first day at school and often has a giant smile on his face. Those annoying habits I saw on the street, I'm not seeing at home. Well...he is still loud, but it such a joyous noise to hear him laughing, being a child and knowing he is home. God has been so good to us and these boys who have had to give up their glue. Asante sana (thank you very much) for supporting Mercy Children's Home so we can help kids like Eugene!