by Fady Eldeiry
…What comes to mind
He was 9 years old when his dad was running after him with a hose to beat him. He found the house door open while he was running from him, so he ran through it. On the street, his dad slipped and fell, so he took advantage of that and ran further! He climbed on a van going down the street. After a while, he saw a festival and people dancing, so he got off the van and hung out there. Three days later, he got picked up by some people who have a home for homeless street kids. He stayed there for a day, and the people there got him to give them his address. The next day, his dad came and picked him up. He went home with his dad, but after a couple days he missed the freedom he thought he had on the streets, so he ran away!
He lived on the streets for a while, and then he found another home for the homeless kids. They took him in for a while. The rule was, if you escape for any reason, you can’t come back. One of the kids staying at the home kept telling him to escape with him. He refused. But one night, the kid woke him up and told him let’s escape, because he was sleeping he wasn’t thinking straight, so they escaped. After they climbed the fence, the other guy vanished and left him standing there alone! He regretted escaping and tried to go back in, but rules are rules! He started wandering down the streets of Cairo. One day, in Alexandria, he ran into the guy that had escaped with him, so they hung out together for a while. One day, three of them climbed on a train, 2 on top and he in between 2 cars. All of a sudden, he saw a traffic light post coming and he didn’t have enough time to warn them. The train was moving fast, and it pushed the 2 guys down and killed them! He still can’t get over the sight.
Now, 24 years old, he lives on the streets of Cairo, a city of about 17 million people. I heard him say his story last week, and he recited a poem in Arabic, perfectly rhyming, that he authored himself. He summarized his life on the streets, and his observation is that there’s one of 2 ends to the story; death or jail.
I met him, and about 12 others, at a factory warehouse in Cairo, where the owner setup a room for street kids to hang out and feel like somebody cares for them. They go out and pick them up daily except for one day a week. They teach them how to read and write, sit with them as a group and talk about issues. They build trust between them; they feed them and play with them. It was amazing to see these young men and get to meet them. They brought tears to my eyes. I pray they find hope and a true meaning to life. I hope they build trust with society and get into it. I hope people accept them and not push them even further. I hope they are loved and respected.