The nights are often penetratingly cold in the streets and without blankets or any form of shelter, the cold rain and damp ground can make a night seem excruciatingly long. These young boys huddle up on a piece of cardboard and cover themselves with a sack and a piece of plastic on top of their frail thin bodies. Any unfamiliar noise awakens them; the constant fear of attack, robbery or what might be worse: a threat of Sodomy alarmingly lurks at every night-fall! The boys live a semi-nomadic life, constantly haunted by thugs, watchmen and even the police; their entire existence consists of surviving through the starkest poverty, relentlessly forced to move from one place to the next, seeking shelter in abandoned buildings or empty half-roof shops in the market place in the night The street is all they have to call “home”.
This particular night is spent under the covering of a bridge and for once they are left alone from any unwanted intrusion. The noise of the city slowly dies down and except for the occasional moaning uttered during a bad dream, all you hear is dogs barking in a distance. The three ten – eleven year old boys lay close together keeping each other warm and comforted throughout the night.
Before long, dawn breaks and their day begin. Their clothes are damp and dirty, smothered with mud, ash and feces; the stench from each of them is enough to make your stomach churn but the hunger sets in and get’s the best of them; they hurry to a nearby junction where the traffic-jams consistently bring the cars to a slow stop. The boys spread out and wander from car to car begging for money. Hardly anyone gives them any; most people despise them and call them names or hurriedly close their windows and lock their doors at the mere sight of them. “It was so much easier to earn money this way a few years ago Now we are often forced to steal or starve or find scraps of food in the garbage dump
Their cruel unlikely existence often forces these children to disguise their hunger by sniffing glue or petrol; “cause it makes you forget …”! The signs of starvation are inherent; the boys’ bodies are frail, sickly and malnourished. Their eyes blank and distant and after a few drags on the glue-bottle their minds utterly intoxicated. They throw themselves down on the grass and fall asleep in the shade of a tree. My heart feels the burden of their sorrow as I watch them drown the memories of their traumatic pasts… Most of them have stories so dark they delivered them to the hands of the streets. Stories they never want to revisit but which they forever are unable to forget… The early evening is spent rummaging the large garbage piles on the nearby dump; relentlessly searching for something to fill their aching bellies with, before they surrender to yet another drunken stupor caused by glue. As the darkness of night approaches and the sun come down, the boys light a fire to stay warm by. Sitting there they voice their unheard dreams; dreams of a good life, of going to school, getting a job and a home – and in their hearts, the silent untold dream of being loved…. But for now their biggest worry is to find a safe place to sleep through yet another dangerous night! This was sent to us by Life4kids African children love to sing. They don’t just vocalize the words, they put their heart and soul into it.
Today I unexpectantly visited one of our homes in Busolo village As the children saw me coming they ran out of the building and started singing. The younger ones took me by the hand and brought me into their shack where they continued to sing with all their hearts. Then a sweet little 12 year old broke out into a beautiful solo with the rest of the children joining in at the chorus. It was heaven. A few months ago I was visiting the Hope Home nursery and primary School . The children wanted to perform for us and we all gathered together as they SANG and danced. They pulled me in to join in the dance and we all had a great laugh as I tried to stay in step. We support the school which is also an opharn children’s home. Unfortunately there is not a great amount of support for the opharns in Bugiri so come and join us to become a lifeline to these wonderful children.