THE LUCKY ONES
by Annie Downs
He calls himself one of the lucky ones. And he wants to give that title to as many children as he can.
Sammy grew up in Kenya. At three years old, his father passed away, leaving his mother to care for him, his older brother, and his younger sister. Seven years later, when Sammy was a just a fifth grader, his mother left them.
Just left them. And never came back.
While many American fifth grade boys worry about their football team and video games, Sammy was left to help feed his siblings and live without any adult care. For months, they remained in the home, and then the landlord kicked them out.
Two young boys and a tiny girl. On the streets of Nakuru, Kenya. For a year.
“To eat,” Sammy explains, “we would sell water. During the drought in Kenya, we would take plastic photograph sleeves, fill them with water, and burn the top to seal it. We would get one or two shillings for each one. On the good days, we’d get five shillings and have enough to buy a pastry to eat. I had to feed my sister.”
When the water dried up, they scrounged through trash cans.
Children. Eating out of trashcans. For a year.
“I’m one of the lucky ones,” Sammy says, because after a year of that life, he and his siblings were taken to a orphanage in Nyeri, Kenya where he was cared for until he received a scholarship to a high school in Maine.
For three years, Sammy has lived in the USA. And now, as a high school graduate, he is ready to give back.
Sammy would like to participate in the Global Citizen Year Program in Ecuador, beginning in September. This program will train him in many skills, including Spanish, and give him the opportunity to serve others and improve his leadership skills. “In an emerging global economy,” he says, “this will teach me how to relate with different cultures and lead others.”
He wants to get this training so that he can grow up and help other children.
This boy, who less than a decade ago was living on the streets of Kenya eating other people’s garbage, now wants to help kids not face the troubles that he faced. “I’m still trying to see how I can change the world for the better,” he says, “and I’m tired of what I’ve had to go through. I don’t want other kids to go through that.”
“I’ve been helped by many. I was helpless, but someone came along and helped me. I want to give back now. I want to help others.”
You know who the lucky ones are in this story? Us. The ones who get to partner with Sammy to make a way for him to spend himself for a year. He doesn’t have money to give to the poor, just his time. And efforts. And he is ready to give.
This isn’t a small need, We need to raise $7000. If 500 watches are purchased, Sammy can go to Ecuador. And we only have a week.
But he’s worth it.
“Don’t do this for me,” Sammy says with strength in his voice, “do this for the people I will impact in the future.”
Yes, we are the lucky ones- the ones who get to know this young man and help him become the kind of adult that improves this planet.
Because he will.
We’re the lucky ones.
You can purchase watches to help Sammy here: http://hellosomebody.bigcartel.com/
Learn more about Sammy and his efforts here: http://sammyikua.com/fundraiser/
Or on Twitter: http://twitter.com/#!/sammyikua