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Monday, September 30, 2013


His shivers racked his rail thin body, his teeth violently chattering against one another, causing his head to pound and his jaw to ache. Henok curled his small body tighter to the body of his best friend, Abal, who slept closest to him, feeling the trembling from his friend’s body as well. He pulled at his tattered clothing trying, without success, to make them cover more of him. If he could just get warm then maybe he could sleep. Bodies lined either side of the street, and the concentrated smell of urine was strong. Henok knew that one of the younger boys sleeping near him must have peed, not wanting to wander from the safety of sleeping in a group. Even at nine years old, Henok would do the same and allow the morning sun to dry his wet pants. The humiliation of wet pants was better than the horrible things he knew could happen to him away from the group of boys he slept with.
Men shouted in the streets, many were drunk or high on chat. Their voices were loud and frightening. Sometimes the men wandered near the group of his friends and loomed over top of them, kicking them and rummaging through their belongings. Henok had grown wise, and he would slit the collar of his shirt and stuff anything small and precious to him in the folds of the collar. He wasn’t so lucky with shoes, and he had had more than one pair stolen off of his feet at night. Whenever the men came, Henok would close his eyes tightly and pray or count until they would stumble away. He curled his aching, dry, mud crusted feet in closer to his body, rocking a bit, squeezing his eyes shut and wishing for the morning sun to hurry and make its arrival. He heard a child crying out in fear, or hunger, or both. Henok remembered how he used to cry himself to sleep every night when he was first forced to the streets by his mother’s new husband. He missed his mama, and her smile, and her shiro and injera......
To read the rest head on over here, to our Mercy Branch inc. blog, where I wrote today.


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