We know every child on the street in Maseru. We also know those who were once kids - now young adults - still living on the streets. We love these ones, too, and they love us.
Over time, we have seen their numbers dwindle, but a solid cadre remains, too lethargic and weary from a life on the street. It is hard to watch some young men progress and some refuse to budge. Every one of them hates the street. Most have hated it enough to let us help.
On my last visit to the largest hangout, we lifted weights together and as I was leaving I told them that I don't want to go to their funerals. They should be coming to mine. The simple truth is that being on the streets ends in prison or death.
As an officer in the army, we always had a catch phrase in the front of our minds when making decisions: “choose the hard right over the easy wrong.”
I now find that simple anecdote as poignant as ever as we maintain the direction of a charity that works with extreme poverty, child homelessness, delinquency and neglect. There’s an easy wrong that removes the surface of the problem from our view. There’s an easy wrong that is better at producing heartwarming stories than actually making a difference. There is an easy wrong that generates massive donations. We won’t do any of it. The easy wrong is still wrong.
Reports of widespread and systemic suffering from the developing world provoke bewilderment: 'this isn't right,' 'something needs to change.'
But what needs to change? Who needs to change it?
At Sepheo, as much as we care about seeing every child off the streets and living out their purpose in excellence, we also care about bringing Basotho to the forefront of the solution.
This week I met the mother of one of my boys for the first time. I travelled to the factory where she works, just next to the South African border, to meet her on her lunch break. It was a beautiful moment for me. She greeted me with the hugest smile...