Hagadera Refugee Camp, Kenya
August 18, 2011
When we last left Carolyn, she had just met Abdi, a 13-year-old boy who travelled to Kenya alone.
On his first day in Hagadera, the day before we met him, Abdi was wandering in the market. “My husband found him crying and stopped to talk to him. He told him he was alone and his parents had died” said the young woman named Nimo who lives here. “He brought him home to me and now we are caring for him”.
I could not help but think how generous these people were. They lived in a small mud and stick house with a simple open kitchen made of sticks and yet they were willing to take in this little lost boy who needed everything. I asked Nimo to tell me a bit more about how she came to be in Hagedera camp.
“I came here several months ago from Somalia with my husband because there was so much war,” she said sadly. When I asked about her other children she told me that her first child, born in Somalia, had died from “disease” at 7-months. Probably something that could be prevented but given the horrific state of healthcare in Somalia, likely the child never saw a doctor or healthworker at all. I understood a little better why this young couple had wanted to take Abdi in.
As she spoke with us, Nimo kept glancing at Abdi to check that he was okay. She patted his knee to reassure him as we talked. Nimo told us she wanted to take care of him and we asked what he needed. “A mattress and supplies so he can go to school next month” she said. These are things Save the Children will provide, along with the support we give to families who are willing to foster children while we look for their parents or relatives. Since Abdi’s parents are dead, we will search for realtives here in Kenya.
In the meantime, Save the Children staff will come back to visit Nimo, her husband and Abdi regularly to make sure the arrangement is really working and to provide parent and child counseling, help in enrolling him in school, and access to healthcare.
As we said goodbye, I hoped that Abdi would finally find a home where he would be safe in Hagedera. We asked him if he had yet met any of the curious children peeking through the fence at us and he shook his head. “He will soon play with them” said Nimo with a smile. “When he is ready, he will make new friends here”.