Sunday, February 19, 2012

Blue and White

Yesterday, Ally, Elizabeth, and I went to visit some street boys with our friend Willy. We decided that we would go back to the same place we did the first time. For more information about that trip, take a look at my blog: Patience is Virtue.
When we interviewed these boys the first time, they were convinced we would never come back. They told us that people come to hear their stories and often never return. We were determined to prove them wrong.

During our first visit, the boys told us about their lives on the street and the struggles they face on a daily basis. Many of the boys sleep on doorsteps, on top of cardboard, or behind bushes, tying to stay warm and trying not to get caught by the police. We went home that day with heavy hearts, as we could do nothing to help their situation.

A few weeks passed before Ally came up with a brilliant idea. She had brought over a set of long-sleeved soccer jerseys that once belonged to my cousin’s high school, Bishop Grimes in Syracuse, New York. Many thanks to her mom Liz for shipping them to me! We had intended the jerseys to be for the boys at Les Enfants de Dieu, but after helping to re-organize the storeroom, we realized the center didn’t need any more clothes. Ally suggested we bring the jerseys to the street boys we talked to before.

Armed with a camera and a backpack full of jerseys, we caught a bus and met our friend Willy who guided us to a market where he knew we could find the boys. They were busy carrying customers’ bags for a few francs or a piece of food. We sat down with them (and one street girl too!) to continue our conversation. A few little boys whose curiosity was stronger than their shyness joined us. We talked to them for a short time and then Willy suggested we give them the shirts because they still needed to find food before sundown.

Talking with the boys

I'm in the tie-dyed shirt

When Ally, Elizabeth, and I started pulling the jerseys out of our bags, the boys began to clap. We tossed each boy a shirt and they promptly put it on. The blue and white jerseys were a hit because coincidently, a popular football (soccer) team in Rwanda called Rayon Sport has the same team colors. They boys were so happy they could have apparel that supported their favorite team. They thanked us, shook our hands, and followed us to the end of the road to say their goodbyes.

We walked away with our hearts a bit lighter, knowing that a few street boys in Kigali, Rwanda wouldn’t be as cold during that cold night. A big thank you to Bishop Grimes for donating the jerseys and making 14 street boys smile!

1 comment:

Liz said...

Thanks Elena. I'm glad that they can be used and keep the boys warm.