Saturday, September 26, 2009

Mixed feelings

So as expected the last day of Ramadan was last Saturday September 25Th, and I had a big turn out at the soup kitchen. On Sunday morning, I went to Eid,( the big after Ramadan community prayer) with my daughter and spend the rest of the day visiting a couple of friends. It was interesting the number of Muslims that call Portland Maine home now. I counted close to a thousand two hundred...
Unfortunately for me that Saturday was not just the last day of Ramadan 09, it was also the last day for an 18 year, young man who to me represents what I have always believed ' most young people are not bad they just make bad choices' and with the right resources and support , they can turn their lives around'
I met Guy Kitoko when I was working for PROP'S (People Regional Opportunity Program) Peer Leader Program at Riverton Park, one of Portland Maine's so called 'not so good' neighborhoods' . The program is one of three 'youth resiliency project' that PROP provided to youth in low income neighborhoods who the system have tagged as 'At Risk Youth'
Guy(ghee) was one of many teen boys that I was very close to, I will go to their schools and make enquiries about their progress or otherwise, go to their homes and check in with their parents on how they were doing and of course they thought I was a 'pain' but we did had a kind of mutual respect. Our relationship have had its ups and downs in the course of the years that I was there. Guy was one of the kids that I find very interested and challenging because he was very reserved and quite.Any time there is a problem , he was the one that was hard for me to get any information out of, because he will not 'snitch'. The only information I can get out of him is about Him, if he knew or took part in whatever it was and its not much of a problem most of the time. Its either someone took the keys to the food closet whiles I was not looking to go and bring out some snack I was saving for another day, or something silly happened at school and I was trying to get to the bottom of it, it doesn't matter if the issue is small or big, Guy will not tell on anyone.
In June 2008 the program was closed after 25 years of service to young people, that did not stop the relationship we had with the youth we were serving. Below is a newspaper story on him.. Rest in Peace My friend..
http://www.pressherald.mainetoday.com/story.php?id=285031&ac=PHnws

my quote for the day is ;

'We are not here forever, Treat Each day,Each friendship,and Each person in your life like a gift from the Heavens, Share your Heart and your Passion with the world'.... pious ali