So yesterday, Kaitlyn and Ruth, two of our current interns dropped by the house to share about their afternoon.
They were to be tutoring six of our kids in school but only one showed up, Appollinaire.
Appollinaire is about 15 years old and was outcast for his family when he was very young. They were poor and could not afford to keep him. About a year ago, he met his father on the street, counting some money from his pocket. He went up to say hello to him, and his father just ignored him.
We first met him about 2 years ago in one of our ministries. When we parted ways with that ministry, we decided that we would take those who had no one and find a house to put them in. Appollinaire was one of them.
Today, Appollinaire lives in one of the houses which we have for former street kids. He is in school, doing well and learning English more every day. He wants to be a lawyer someday but first he wants to make sure that all people know about Jesus. He LOVES Jesus!!
Since the other five kids didn't show up (wait till I see them on Sunday!), the interns decided they would take him on a little outing to town. After dressing up in his Sunday best, off they went. This was his second time to go to town, even though he lives in Kigali. Who knew!
They take him for ice-cream at the Bourbon Coffee Shop - best ice-cream in town, hands down. As they are sitting there chatting - working on his English conversation skills and watching him savour his ice-cream for over an hour, Appollinaire all of a sudden jumps up and calls 'Mama Jennifer, over here! Mama Jennifer! She's come!'
Appollinaire thought he had see me. But it wasn't me. He was so disappointed. As he sat down, Ruth said to him that 'Jennifer... '
Appollinaire immediately corrected her saying, 'Not Jennifer, Mama Jennifer.'
Ruth continued, 'is really nice, isn't she?'
He sat and thought for a bit and then said, 'No, she's amazing. She is my mama.'
They had just taught him the word amazing that afternoon.
As they relayed this all to me in my living room.... I was overwhelmed.
What had I / we really given Appollinaire?
But when I really stopped to think about it... a home, food every day, education, love, he belongs somewhere... aren't these the things which every human being desires?
Every day, every week of our life here, we interact with the street kids. Some we have been able to get off the street and into homes and others are still on the street.
Yesterday was a HUGE reminder to me again, that it's the things in life, most of us take for granted that can matter SO much to someone else.