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(from an article by World Vision journalist James Addis)

Peter and Sue vividly remember their first encounter with the street kids of Mongolia. It was a freezing morning 15 degrees below zero. Two thinly dressed waifs emerged from a bare patch of ground on the edge of a park about 10am one morning. They scuttled off across the street to disappear behind some shops. The Bryans decided to retrace the youngsters’ steps and make a “house call”.

The Bryans climbed down a man-hole about two metres deep. They found themselves in a 4 x 2 metre inspection chamber. Squeezing around big hot pipes and dirty dusty concrete walls they came to a dark space underneath the pipes.

“There were six children down there including a couple of teenagers,” Sue recalls. “In the gloom were what I thought were a couple of bundles of rags piled on pieces of flattened cardboard in one corner. They turned out to be two sleeping children. Other older kids were sitting around smoking. They were suspicious and wary.

“We talked about a future drop-in centre but I got the feeling that they really did not believe what adults told them, as they had been let down so much in the past. While we were talking and squatting in the dust the two little guys we had seen leaving the hole came back triumphant with two round loaves of bread. They were a little frightened to see strange visitors in their home and sat above us on the pipes watching warily like little animals in a tree. Eventually the bread was handed round and with true Mongolian hospitality, we were the first to be offered a torn chunk of bread by a rather grubby hand.”

A few days later the Bryans returned to the inspection chamber bringing warm jackets, hot soup and bread. The children were surprised but happy to see them. They later became the first residents of the children’s centre the Bryans had come to establish.


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Daily Life | Preparing for the Future | Peter and Sue | First Encounter
Street Children's Stories | Where the Money Comes From