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Saturday, October 7, 2017

Benny at The Abeng Africa Visits Youth at the Almighty God Compassion Care Home for Street Children

Benny @TheAbeng Visits Almighty God Compassion Care Home in Lagos

Written by Benny Dalle 
Edited by Kaya Omodele

My name is Benny Dalle and last Saturday, September the 30th, I dragged myself through the roasting sun and weekend bustle up to The Almighty God Compassion Care Home to meet with Pastor Sam and some of the boys. I was bubbling with excitement; this was going to be only the second time I'd interviewed anyone.  By the time I got to the Home, I was dripping with perspiration but still charged up with anticipation. While older, teenage boys aren't as cuddly as younger ones, older
children can relate their stories much more vividly.
I am very friendly and fun-loving, so I thought interviewing the boys would be a cool breeze- an easy, simple thing. Boy, was I wrong.

Children Living In The Street
The children's stories affected me as if they were my own.
Ayo is seventeen and, let me tell you, he is Hollywood-handsome. He is one of the boys who has left a lasting impression on me. You cannot hear his plight and remain composed. Just try! You'll see. It's impossible.

When he was three years old Ayo's mom died. He and his older brother (by eight years) found themselves having to leave where they lived and head out onto the street. From the time of his birth, Ayo didn't really know his own
father, and so his brother became that figure. They'd rummage around throughout Lagos in pursuit of food.
Eventually Ayo's older brother got a job as a bus conductor. Then one day the older brother went to work and didn't come back. Now barely ten-years old, Ayo had to fend for himself.
He began running with a pack of young boys out by Kuramo Beach. Some would hustle up food and give him; sometimes he'd gamble to eat. Once some men tried to kidnap him but he darted and ran away.
All together Ayo spent between six and seven years on the street before the Home found him out in Kuramo Beach. Since then, he's been in school and living with some structure. Ayo loves table tennis and wants to be a champion.

Another boy i interviewed was Damilare has lived in the home for six years. His parents, he states, are still alive but were too poor to send him to school. When I asked him about the circumstances that brought him to Almighty God Compassion Care Home, it was a little strange how he stuttered and stammered. He claimed he himself didn't understand those circumstances and I couldn't help wondering if whatever it was that delivered him to the Home was too painful for him to talk about or admit. It was very disturbing, disheartening and touching to see such a strapping boy so helpless. 
But Damilare perked up when talking about what the Home meant to him and how it has changed his life. He states that the Home is like a training ground that would prepare him for his future and get him in line spiritually, mentally and physically. 
Damilare wants to be the minister of power.

Kasim Michael was another boy I interviewed. Like Damilare, his parents were also alive but could not afford to send him to school. Kasim is extremely composed and articulate.
Kasim came to the Home in 2013 and is in school. He wants to study business admin- istration. I can see him owning a business.

The Almighty God Compassion Care Home has existed for nine years and Pastor Sam says it is a "rehabilitation" facility for street boys who either have no where else to go or whose parents are too poor to pay for their education. Most of the boys aren't orphans; still, most have been placed in schools where they can learn both academics AND a trade-all paid for through the Home.
"Before we found them they were maladjusted..." Pastor Sam said.
He makes the case that education is the best tool to equip the boys for a successful transition into adulthood and into society.
"Even if we save one percent of a million...if we help the person...that person can help others and then society begins to change."

Overall, my day was a great learning experience. I learned about the Almighty God Compassion Care Home; I learned about individual boys, their resilience and dedication to better themselves; and when my editor Kaya Omodele called on WhatsApp to interact with the boys, I learned that he has a soft spot for the homeless and street kids (I'll have to wring that out of him)
Even though some of their stories brought tears to my eyes, that was a good day.
~ Benny at The Abeng

Watch "Benny @ The Abeng Africa: Children at Almighty God Compassion Care Home" on YouTube

You can email Pastor Sam, Mama and The Almighty God Compassion Care Home at

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