I am sure you can imagine that running an organisation the size of Rafiki comes with its challenges. Stress is the new normal and when things are calm it feels like I am waiting for a bomb to go off.. you just never know when.
1 week ago a bomb went off and our Rafiki Mwema family have been dealing with the necessary while in complete shock.
We received news that one of our (ex) children had died and there were many rumours going around town that he had been killed in police custody.
Our beautiful Conci rushed straight to the hospital to confirm and sadly she arrived at the right time and needed to identify him at the morgue. Conci was not prepared for this but she did what she needed to do. This young man who she had cared for since he was approx 11 years old lay dead in the morgue. She confirmed it was him and that it was clear he had been injured.
Day’s pass and our family on the street have been protesting for his life and for answers. Nothing was making sense and no one was talking about it. How can this happen? All we know is he was arrested and then died in custody. His family made the decision to not do an autopsy as they don’t want trouble. They know nothing can or will be done no matter what is found and they knew they just needed to accept that he is gone.
The protests in town were getting louder and the kids were getting angrier.. and I don’t blame them for one second. Imagine a life meaning so little that a perfectly healthy young man can turn up at hospital dead and no one does a thing! These children are treated like trash while they are on the streets, trying to survive against the cruel world they were born into and now they are dead they are still not given an ounce of respect or concern.
The kids in town gathered in large groups and continued to fight for their brother. They showed bravery that many of us would never witness in our life. They were screaming for his life that had been taken from him, while putting themselves under threat that the exact same thing could happen to them.
They got the media’s attention and the protests were gaining traction and were all over social media. The police and family had no choice but to agree to an autopsy, as it was clear, this large family of discarded children were not going to stop until they had answers and we could not be prouder.
The autopsy was held 2 days ago by the Government Pathologist in the presence of 3 of his relatives, a Representative of the Directorate of Criminal Investigation, Representative of Human Rights Body, 2 Officers from the Government Forensic Department as well as our own Uncle Erick.
The results came back and it was very clear what had happened. He was a healthy young man, and he did not die from an illness. He died from torturous injuries and there is no clear explanation on where he received them. Even our Uncle Erick, who has worked in the prison system and has seen everything you can imagine wrote to me ‘I took my time last night doing self reflection. The torture, the pain and agony he was put through cannot be explained . What is it that he did to deserve that?’
I would also like to know. What is it he did to deserve that? We will probably never see justice for what happened to him, but it was a small win for the children who would not back down when they were being threatened. Everyday we wear our uniforms that say ‘I will not stay silent’ and we do our best to practice this. There is only so much we can speak up about to ensure we keep our children and organisation safe but we will continue to love these children who live on the streets and we will continue to show up for them everyday and show them they are worthy of love.
We will not forget our King and we will honour him as each year passes. We will do all we can to continue to fight for the rights of these children and show the world they are not dangerous, THEY ARE CHILDREN.. they treat you how you treat them! You beat them? They will try and beat you! You love them.. they will try and love you. and when they finally drop their guard, they love hard.
This week has been tough and yesterday, they buried our King Melvin. Rest in Peace, Wachira.
We will never forget you and I am so sorry there was not more we could do to help you live the life you deserved.
Along with the stress of the daily happenings of Rafiki, the biggest stress is the worry of not having enough funds to continue what we do. If you believe in the work we do and want to help us continue to be there for these children in town and the children at Doyle Farm please donate via this post on facebook. (we get 100% of all funds donated via Facebook) or even better, set up a recurring donation to help us on an ongoing basis so we can keep our doors open for these kids who have no one else in this world.