He was born like many other children, filled with love and innocent. He had caring parents as he recalls, they use to hold him and protect him in his first years. They taught him how to walk and how to talk. They used to run towards him and wipe his tears when he fell, just like any other parents would do for their child. He’s the youngest in the family, his brother was 12 years old, and his sister was almost 10 when he born. He used to wait for them, for when they come back to the place where they all sheltered under the bridge, to play with him. Usually they left that place early in the morning while he was still sleeping, and often they came back late after he was asleep. His mom was so special, she was the only person who was always around, his dad used to disappear, sometimes for weeks. As a little baby, all that mattered to him was to play, eat and sleep. He was too small to know what’s going on with his family. Newly arrived to life, he didn’t know yet that there is lot to go through, didn’t know that his life will be a battle, that he’s just one new fighter in this family he was born into. He didn’t know yet the name of the place he lives, he used to think it’s home, but his family name it hell… That became clear after he turned 6 years old.
It was a sunny day when his mom told him to put on his dirty torn clothes and be ready for a long walk. “A long walk where?” the boy asked, “…but mom I want to stay here and play”. With a strict look, his dad ordered him to obey his mom. The boy kept silent and bowed his head. His clothes were dirty as usual, you wouldn’t know it had different colors. His face were dirty as well, he didn’t have a mirror to know how he looked. Maybe if he did he would know why people ignored him in the streets, why they looked at him in a disgusted way. He loves to leave what he calls home, to enjoy the sunshine, because where he lives the rays of the sun can’t find their way. Their place was not a healthy one. That’s the reason why the family was often sick.
While he was walking with his mom he wondered where she was taking him, she never said. All she said was “from this day you will start to work just like your sister and brother, you are a little man now”. They arrived at a very crowded place, where families went with their kids and relatives, where friends meet up together, and everyone looked happy. His mom stopped and bent towards him, she looked deeply and seriously into his eyes and said “I will leave you here, I will come back later to get you”. The little boy was scared and asked his mom “but where are you going, and why you are leaving me here?” She replied “See those people, you have to stay with them, go and try to get money, food, or anything you can get”. “But mom…” he cried. His mom shook him in a strict way and said “LISTEN TO ME, this is how we get money, this is what your brother and sister do, everyone has a job and this is yours now too”. He looked at his mom, tears filling his eyes; his lips spelled one word …ok. He stood there, watching his mom walk away.
All he saw were strangers, people who ignored him, or who looked at him in pity, who pushed him to get away from them. Happy children were everywhere, he saw them playing with their parents, laughing and giggling. He wondered why their parents didn’t leave them alone in this place like his mom did. The time passed, and by noon, he felt so hungry and wanted something to eat. He couldn’t go and just ask people to give him money, or even to give him something to eat. He was so scared and lost. He went to the garbage, started to eat the old bread. A cat made him start from fear when she jumped out from the garbage. He was crying and didn’t know what to do. He ate a little, only what he could find in the garbage, it was better than nothing. He walked around, trying to ask people to give him money. The first woman he saw sitting with her kids, he came near to her and said “give me money please or something to eat”. The woman yelled at him, protective of her own two kids. “I’m not going to hurt them, I’m just a kid like them” he mumbled. But she kept on yelling, telling him to stay away.
The first day ended, the sun disappeared and his mom never reappeared. He sat on the street, some of those who passed by him gave him money without him asking them. He waited so long for his mom, but she never came to take him back home. He didn’t know how to get there by himself. The dogs were barking, the cats fighting in the middle of the night, the people passing grew fewer until there were no more people on the street. Only him and some other homeless people. He cried and tried to find a box to sleep in, he was very tired and wanted to sleep. All the lights were switched off, all the other kids his age were home asleep. He covered himself with bags and slept on the side of the road, where else he could go? He thought about his mom, why didn’t she come back he kept thinking until he fell asleep.
The next day, the steps of people passing by woke him, at first he didn’t’ recognize where he was… until he recalled the day before. He felt the fear again, the insecurity of the coming days. He thought about his mom and his family. He missed his brother and sister, where are they now? Would he ever see them again? He went to a nearby shop to buy something to eat, thankful for the people who dropped money for him while he lay on the street. He entered the shop and the man screamed “get out you dirty boy”. He ran from fear and tripped and fell. He cried from pain, from fear, from anything that might come near him. A soft hand touched his shoulder, and asked him to stand up. He looked up and saw a very nice lady with a little boy. She said “Come, let me help you up, how old are you?” He looked at her son, he was about his age, “I’m 6 years old” he said. She asked, “Are you hungry?” He started crying, “yes I am”. “I saw the man screaming at you, wait for me here and I’ll bring you something to eat”. She went to the shop and bought some food and candy. “Can I have them all?” he asked, the lady smiled and said, “sure, it’s all yours. Are you new here?” “Yes” he replied. The woman told him that she had to leave, but she promised to check back on him every day and bring him something to eat.
He felt that God was looking over him, and each day he waited for the woman, but he never forgot about his family, especially his mom. Her face kept coming to his imagination, telling him that he’s a man now. With days the small kid grew, with years he knew his reality. He wonders now about the person he once called mom, who used to be his whole world, the person who held him and protected him, is she the same person who threw him away? Too many questions, but no one to give him answers or erase his fears. He knows the place where he lives under the bridge isn’t a home, and why the people call him homeless. He can’t go to school, he knows nothing but begging and the people who give him money so he can eat. He looks around seeing happy kids playing with their friends, riding their bicycles, getting into fancy cars with their parents, and asks; why am I different from them? It wasn’t his choice to be homeless, it wasn’t that he wanted to sleep on the streets. Or to hide in boxes, fearful that the dogs might bite him. He always wishes some day he will wake up and his life will be changed. But every morning he wakes to the sound of people’s steps hurrying by, or screaming for the Taxi. What hurts him the most though is to overhear conversations, mothers on the phone saying she’ll be home soon. Home, a word that fills his heart with sorrow. He waited for his mom for long years, and he still goes to the place where she left him. Still wishes she would come to take him to where they all live, anywhere, as long as they were all together, with his brother and sister. He has some friends who are also homeless, they have their own stories too. Sometimes they all go to a shelter to eat and sleep. Other times he forgets himself, waiting on his own till late in the evening, and falls asleep waiting there…
Whenever you see a homeless person, give them a helping hand, give them food or clothes, or even a place to live. Some of them were born homeless, growing up in fear, watching people kick them, yell at them, and look at them in a disgusted way. It’s not their fault. We are blessed to have a home to live in. We have our own rooms, our own cars, money to buy whatever we want. Do we sometimes cry and feel life is unfair if our parents disagree and refuse to buy something for us? So what about those whose life has said NO to them for everything since they were born? Never pass by the homeless without a thought for their fate, spare a smile and some kindness. You will never know what their life has been, what they are waiting for that will never come…
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- Homeless children
- Human Rights
- Middle East
- Photos About My Country Lebanon
- play with feelings
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