Tuesday, July 14, 2015

I was hiding in my office, behind a very small room divider- the whole day was crazy and chaotic and nothing was going as planned. I wasn't even supposed to be in the office (hence the hiding).

The office was being used for a workshop activity and thus closed to walk ins (funny how that's never stopped anyone).

In came this kid. He was tall and skinny, but he looked young. I knew at once he was a new arrival- he had that frightened/overwhelmed/you've gotta be kidding me this is what I RAN TO face on him that they all have when they are new.

I was in no mood to be bothered. New arrivals I see on Friday. It was Wednesday.

He spoke not a word of English, but this is not my first rodeo folks, I most certainly know the word "no" in Somali.  I waved him away, busy at my computer, didn't really bother to actually see him.

But then I glanced up, just as he turned to leave. And I saw that he would cry.

So I brought him into my small cubby and found an interpreter. I asked what his problem was and he poured it all out-how he had no money and no where to go, just a fifteen year old boy who needed a place to sleep that night.

I said what it is I always say, "I've been doing this job for one year and I've NEVER seen a Somali client sleeping on the street". Basically- you're going to have to toughen up, my young friend. You are going to have to pave a way for yourself. But again I saw in his face that he was just so young. He was someone that couldn't just walk out and fend for himself- ask a dozen strangers if he could spend the night until someone said yes. So I said, "well, I know some Somali boys. Would you like me to make some calls for you?". Of course the answer was yes. (The answer is always yes).

So I started calling. "Okay...this kid has no money," I thought, "so I need someone kind of settled in, a bit established-looks like someone older might be beneficial for this kid". I placed a handful of calls and was met with many kind, but firm "no's".

Then I remembered a few months earlier, when another very frightened and very young boy was in a similar predicament, and thought, well...maybe he would be understanding and let this kid crash a night or two...

And no sooner had I called and explained the situation than this 15 year old boy arrives to the office. He comes straight for this new arrival, puts an arm around his neck and introduces himself. He invites him to come stay with him for the next two weeks. He speaks softly, kindly, and earnestly to this scared kid. And then they are off- my little hero picking up his new friends bag and out they go.

And I was just so proud of who he is.


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