For Geoffrey

Dimples came home from school today with a project that required glue, so we searched about and found a bottle of Elmers.  Two years ago, Elmers and  Gorilla glue were the types I knew best.  Then I met my dear friend, Kathleen, whose heart is passionate for street children. Kathleen’s oldest son, Philip, is the brilliant guy who made the film Glue Boys.

This is from the Glue Boys website:

In Kitale, Kenya, among countless other towns in the developing world, many street children have found an escape from their emotional and physical pains by becoming accidental consumers. Orphaned, barefoot, and malnourished, they habitually spend the scarce money they earn from odd jobs and charity not on food or water, but on a more immediate fix – glue – incidentally the same solvent-based kind that the wider world uses to cement shoes together. With plastic bottles perched at their mouths, the children breathe in the glue’s neurotoxic fumes until they pass out or fall asleep forever.

Kathleen and her husband, Dan, founded Until Then, to raise awareness about the issues of street children.  Russ now leads Until Then’s water projects and I help out in small ways, like writing this post, which I hope you will read to the end (you’re almost there – it’s just a small click away – and I promise, I’m not asking for a penny).  

Most recently, Kathleen created a petition on asking the adhesives industry to add a nasal irritant to their products to prevent children from inhaling glue.  It is super easy to sign and could literally save countless lives.

Shortly after Russ returned from his last trip to Kenya, a boy named Geoffrey died as a result of sniffing glue.  Philip created this three minute film from Glue Boys footage in honor of Geoffrey. As Kathleen said,

We posted this video in memory of our friend Geoffrey who lived and died as a streetboy in Kitale, Kenya. He used glue most of his life and it contributed to his death at a very young age. Please sign the petition on asking the adhesives industry to add a nasal irritant to their products so it is not possible for kids to inhale glue. It’s too late for our friend Geoffrey, but there are over 100 million more kids like him living on the streets of our world. Please help.

These are real children. Their lives are as precious as those of my children who are sleeping safely in their beds tonight.

Please sign the petition. These children have no parents to protect them; we can do this one small thing to remember them and honor Geoffrey.


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Let me introduce myself. Russ and I are the parents of twelve children by birth and adoption, and sometimes more through foster care. I'm the creator of One Thankful Mom which has been as much of a gift to me as to my readers. In 2011 I became a TBRI® Pracitioner* and have lived and breathed connected parenting ever since. I'm deeply honored to be the co-author, together with the late Dr. Karyn Purvis, of The Connected Parent; it is her final written work. I love speaking at events for adoptive and foster parents. I'm also the co-founder of The Adoption Connection, a podcast and resource site for adoptive moms. I mentor and encourage adoptive moms so you can find courage and hope in your journeys of loving your children well.


  1. Sarah
    October 27, 2011

    Hi Lisa,
    Thank you for posting about this issue. It is near and dear to my heart. I worked in Nairobi for a year with children who we 'rescued' (don't like that word!) from the streets. The effects of glue are awful–especially in regards to the brain damage it causes. On the other hand, the reason so many use glue is because there is no escape from their hunger pangs. Glue takes away the stomachache of hunger. What are their options? There is no food available. The cost of glue vs. food is not even comparable. It is a dilemma. Until these kids have options for food and safe haven, I don't know that putting nasal irritants in glue is the answer.

    1. Dalene
      October 27, 2011

      Hi Sarah- I too work with street kids and understand your concern about the escape provided by glue huffing. But what I've also seen is that countless aid orgs won't work with kids who show up high or with glue. If we can help prevent the newly homeless from becoming victims of glue addiction, as well as lessen the options for accessibility of this glue, then I see it as enabling street kids to receive help that is out there for them. Change won't happen over night, but it's a change I can believe in.

  2. 9to20
    October 27, 2011

    I couldn't agree more with the above comment reply. I understand where you see the dilemma Sarah, but look at it this way. Say I have a friend who's addicted to cocaine because he doesn't want to deal with the deep grief of losing a loved one. My solution wouldn't be to allow him to "numb out" by continually using cocaine. My solution would be to eliminate the cocaine from his life and find him help to deal with the grief.

    Of course desperate times call for desperate measures but there would be more of a chance to plug these poor kids into programs if there wasn't glue involved. Job training, job creation, farming, well-digging, food programs, etc… you don't get an opportunity to move forward in life if you're too high all the time to function. So, so sad. You're story will not be forgotten Geoffrey!

    Thanks for posting this Lisa!


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