Dr. Chad Stephens had his work cut out for him when he agreed to visit our Eastleigh Centre and provide medical aid to street kids. Many children on the streets have dire needs—gangrene, raw flesh, wounds that are three years old, cleaned and dressed, again. Due to lack of access to clean facilities or knowledge of proper wound care, they'll return to the centre with these same festering wounds multiple times. Our Eastleigh Centre staff have basic first aid training and can provide wound care, but it is rare for a doctor to visit the centre.
Foregoing school, foregoing an education, Quinta took to the streets to find money. Her primary begging location took place among the stopped cars of traffic jams, where people would yell at her and say cruel things.
But the occasional driver would give her money.
Soon, Quinta realized that life on the streets would be better than life at home. Home was where her mother beat her. Home was where her father beat her and threatened abuse when she made him angry. Home wasn’t safe.
So Quinta lived on the streets with some other girls who were friends of hers. These kids introduced her to glue. Glue is a common substance used as a drug on the streets. Getting high from the glue, street kids can forget their problems; the cold, their hunger, their discomfort.
When I asked Quinta about life on the streets, these are some descriptions that she gave me:
“So, then sometimes there is no food in the street. There is no food, and the rain, the rain is coming and you don’t have shoes. You don’t have pullover, you are [alone], and you know when you are in base…you do not know God, and so you are like, this my life…I can survive.”
“And then, then if it is night, there is no city council, and the people, if people have a car, a car like a pick up…when they see street child… if you are a girl, they will take you, and they will use your body, or the police, or they will rape you and then throw you in the water.”
Sometimes, while living on the streets, well-intending policemen would take the kids to a school. This happened to Quinta during that same year, but she said that even though the police meant well, the school she was taken to was abusive:
“But that school, it is not like Made in the Streets. So that school, they will beat you, they will do for you bad things, they will use you like a donkey to do work, they use you, like they beat you, they say “wash this,” “do this,”
So Quinta ran back to the streets, where she stayed until, again, she was taken to a new school.
This school was different than her last school. This one treated her well and was good to the students.
However, because Quinta was so used to life on the streets, she often ran away to get back to her old life.
“I run. Because that life of street is in me, it is in my blood.
This went on for awhile. Quinta would run to the streets, they would bring her back, and she would run again. Eventually they brought her back to her mother, telling her that she had lost her chance to stay at the school.
Quinta ran from home again, this time joining a new base on the streets called Central Pack.
Central Pack made her stand on the streets to beg and give whatever she gathered to the other base members.
It was around this time that Quinta met the woman that would change her life forever. This womans’ name was Linda Ntinyari. Linda is a dorm mom in the girls place at MITS, but she also works in Eastleigh during the day with the street ministry team.
Quinta met Linda, who gave her food, encouraged her, and asked her if she wanted to learn and get an education.
Initially, Quinta refused. There were other girls in her base that saw her example and refused as well. Some time passed, and then Quinta changed her mind. She decided that she would go to MITS and learn. That she would stop using glue. That she would make a future for herself.
So next time she saw Linda, she agreed to attend Made in the Streets.
When she arrived, she not only found a new family among the students and teachers, but through a few MITS connections she found her birth father, whom she had never met. Unlike her step-father, he was a kind and loving man. Quinta was able to stay with him and get to know him for a few weeks before starting school, and she realized that she wanted to come back to MITS, study hard, and work to help provide for him.
This is Quinta, and she has big dreams. Although her life at home and on the streets came with unimaginable hardships, she isn’t letting her past define her. Today, she can be found studying hard in her classes, making friends with the other students, using her story for God’s glory, and eating her new favorite snack—marshmallows.
To learn more about how you can support and sponsor a MITS student like Quinta, click here.
Over the past three weeks as a teaching intern in Kamulu, I’ve experienced much joy, strength, doubt, love, belonging, peace, pain, forgiveness, confusion, and divine faith. Jesus is so present in all things and at the center of all things. Our days begin and end with Him.
Last week, I had the most incredible opportunity to venture into the streets around Eastleigh for a base walk. Bases are areas throughout a city where street children will gather to live. It was my first time ever visiting a base and since then, I am forever changed. I loved watching the MITS team enter this base with such confidence and grace. It is so evident how much this team has compassion and adores these street children. It’s absolutely wondrous to see the way these kids are being embraced by the love of Jesus that this team effortlessly radiates.
We visited a base known as “Black Army”. It was a truly a gift being able to spend time with about 15 boys from the Black Army base. This base has no electricity and clean water, and is situated adjacent to a mound of trash that they use for resources. The boys have pitched tarps up against a large brick wall in order to create tents where they sleep. On this particular Friday, the team greeted the boys with open arms as though they were already family. We sat with them and chatted for some time. Next, a couple team members gave a short lesson on washing techniques as well as a lesson on first aid (in case someone gets injured at the base). Teachings like this may seem small, but they are incredibly practical for these boys to know to use in their everyday lives. Finally, other team members read scripture and gave a short message of encouragement for the boys. We prayed, shared snacks, and said our goodbyes.
Experiencing a base for the first time, seeing where these boys live, and learning how a base functions, I am left in awe. I am sure of one thing - these team members love, serve, and care for these boys as though they are brothers. They are the hands and feet of Jesus as they enter these bases. They plant the seeds, and faithfully water and nourish as they continuously come back to establish deeper and deeper relationships with these street children.
Many of the students at MITS were rescued from a base before coming to school here. After spending time with the boys of Black Army, it is overwhelming to comprehend how my current MITS students have come so far in a matter of just 2 or 3 years. Since this walk, I look at them with completely different eyes and I’m able to understand them on a radical level.
Jesus has provided me with strong relationships with many of the students. I have been gifted with sweet talks with some of the girls I’ve built friendships with about what their lives looked like before entering into MITS. We have quickly opened up with one another and have shared precious times giggling, questioning, singing, crying, and simply just sitting. My heart overflows with joy at the transparency within these beautiful connections. They’ve revealed the sorrow-filled struggles they faced on the streets and what base-life was like. My heart hurts for the ways that some of them were treated; and what they went through as a 10-year-old running away from home, jumping from base to base, fleeing when it was no longer safe. These stories capture heavy, unthinkable pain; yet exposed beneath the surface is much rejoicing in their Savior who has brought them out of their old ways of living.
After unraveling my thoughts and feelings, stepping back and examining how much these girls love and trust the Lord after everything they've seen and gone through, I am confident that He is not done working, and for that, I am not done waiting. I wait upon you Lord and trust that You are working and You are present. He has given us life to live to the fullest; and wow is life so full here in Kamulu. Life with Him is dependable and consistent. Because of this, these precious ones are growing into brave, wise, strong, extraordinary sons and daughters of the King.
When you do this for 20 years, you're bound to pick up a few stories and lessons along the way. Thoughts, impressions, news, and highlights from our staff, visitors, donors, students and alumni.