The Boy I Can’t Leave Behind (and Why You Should Get Involved)

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Being able to cut my own hair has made me see why shaving is vital for boys in juvenile prison
“Dream lofty dreams, and as you dream, so you shall become. Your vision is the promise of what you shall one day be; your ideal is the prophecy of what you shall at last unveil.”
– James Allen

I just had to go back to prison! It took me a whole year to figure out why I needed to do that. In the end, I did what my wife keeps telling me – followed my heart! deciding to quit my job in 2013 to work with boys in juvenile prison wasn’t an easy decision to make. I look back and realize I was a man who needed to find the boy he can’t leave behind.

I am usually at a loss and can’t explain why I have a compulsive urge to work with boys. All I know is that spending time with boys in juvenile prison gives me satisfaction and fulfillment. I also know it is my duty and that I was created – and meant – to work with boys, even if it means quitting a 9 – 5 job! However, what used to be a simple decision when I was a single man – and not married – has taken new meaning after I got married.

Having to make adjustments

I didn’t know how marriage was going to change the way I used to view not having an income and working with boys in juvenile prison. I wasn’t comfortable, at all, with working as a Lifesong Kenya full-time volunteer while my wife paid rent and provided for our needs. While I wasn’t in doubt of her support, I battle raged deep inside me.
I would wake up, every single day, and think about my decisions, goals and vision for my work with boys in juvenile prison. In my opinion, my writing was taking too long to bear fruits. Most of the clients I was getting either required me to work 9 to 5, meaning I could no longer work with boys or they paid peanuts. As I took my year-long break, I decided to find means of raising funds for my work through the following avenues:-
  • running half marathons
  • taking part in triathlons
  • shaving my own hair
While the three avenues have not yielded funding for my work, shaving myself has enabled me to cut on costs that would have brought a strain to our finances. It is one thing to depend on your wife for support as you continue finding your feet. It is a different cup of tea when you ask for barbershop money, especially when you have to shave two times in a week!
Having my own shaving machine has enabled me to achieve many things. At first, I had planned to save money since I wasn’t going to the barbershop anymore. With time, I discovered I didn’t have money to save after all and that having the machine and shaving myself is a huge blessing. As I prepare to resume my work with boys in juvenile prison, I believe I now understand why shaving is a priority to boys in juvenile prison and thankful that I have one machine to use during Lifesong Kenya’s monthly shaving sessions.
Perhaps, you may want to support Lifesong Kenya and our work. You can give me work as a writer. Alternatively, you can accompany us to prison, donate shaving machines, toilet paper, toothpaste, toothbrush, underwear or sponsor the Lifesong Kenya team during half marathons and triathlon events. We are planning to take part in ten marathons and three triathlon events this year. Feel free to contact and support us.
By giving me work as a writer and supporting Lifesong Kenya, I will be able to effectively meet the needs of the boys I meet in juvenile prison. I will be able to have a means of transport to and from prison, I will be able to call and trace parents and the people the boys have wronged crime. I will also be able to support myself and family from the income I earn from writing as well as continue working as a full-time volunteer.
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