Two best friends adopted from an African orphanage are set to be college mates
By Victor Ochieng
While living in an orphanage in Africa, two boys became the best of friends. At some point, the two boys were adopted by different families and thought they would be apart for a long time. Interestingly, the boys were adopted by families both from Arizona and living just less than two miles from each other. Because of that, the boys met again.
Afonso Slater and Kelvin Lewis, who’re both 18 years of age, were living in an orphanage in Mozambique following the death of their parents who died of HIV/AIDS.
The boys were adopted eight years ago by families living in Gilbert, Arizona. At first, the two adopting families didn’t know each other quite well in spite of the fact that they’d adopted children from the same orphanage and were living not far apart.
Afonso and Kelvin have remained good friends through the years and are set to join the same college and become room-mates this fall, according to an AZ Central report.
The two boys met at a very young age since their mothers were friends. Sadly, they be-came orphans within the same year.
Kelvin lost his mother to AIDS when he was only four- years-old. Since the boy didn’t know his father then, he basically stayed with different relatives, including his grandmother and aunt and he spent most of his days sleeping on the street. Because her aunt also had her own children to take care of, she decided to take Kelvin to an orphanage.
Arriving at the orphanage around the same time, Kelvin and Afonso learned the rules of the orphanage together. According to one of the rules, children who were wetting their beds had to sleep on the lower bunks, reports AZ Central.
The current mayor of Gilbert, John Lewis, and his wife LaCinda, set on a path to adopt their eighth child. The couple had to travel to Mozambique eight times to face the legal system before they could finally adopt Kevin, completing the process after six years.
Greg Slater and Sharon, his wife, didn’t have any plans of adopting a child. They later had a change of mind during a trip to Mozambique, seeing them commence the process of adopting Afonso. This was after their guide informed them of children living in an orphanage that needed families, according to AZ Central.
“The minute he told me I got this overwhelming feeling I was supposed to adopt them,” Sharon said. “It haunted me the whole time I was there. I kept trying to push it out of my mind and it wouldn’t go away.”
The couple also went through a rigorous process since Mozambique’s legal system had reservations that adopted children might end up being victims of slave labor.
In January 2008, they finally succeeded in bringing Afonso to the United States. Six months after Afonso got to the U.S., Kelvin followed to the Lewis family.
The two families got to know of each other just lightly while undergoing the adoption process. They later organized a surprise get together for the two boys after they learned they were best friends.
“I was so happy to have him around. I was grateful, of course, but being put in this new family of people that looked different than me… It was hard to acclimate,” Kelvin said. “I felt like if we were together, everything would be okay.”
“To have someone from home
I could share this new life with was incredible,” Afonso added. “To have him living only two minutes away was something like fate.”
Both boys went to Gilbert High School and played in the school’s soccer team. Interestingly, both have accepted invitation to join Brigham Young University.
Kelvin wants to be a doctor back in Mozambique, while Afonso wants to earn a degree in international studies to help improve the adoption process between Mozambique and the U.S.