From A Street life back to my home.
How Muhammad Bwerere was reunited with his parents
Muhammad Bwerere (Street name- Zubairi Mawerere) has been on the streets of Kampala for one year. He is now living a life of new hope as he lsft street life. As I was walking on one of Kampala streets in the late afternoon on 6th April 2017, I found this young boy. He was dirty and looked tired and hungry. He was opening one of the garbage bin placed at the corner of a small restaurant behind William street. He was probably looking for some leftovers that were thrown by restaurant attendant.
I was touched by how he was courageous enough at this time of the day to look for leftovers and I gestured him to come where I was standing. His response to my gesture would tell me how simple or hard he would be to me. He quickly came following me to where I was going to stand just to avoid some interruptions along the street.
Talking to this young street boy on the street brought some attention of some of the passersby asking what I was after this boy. Street kids are always a nuisance to the public and child sacrifice and trafficking has become a common story. May be they thought I was making a plan to take him somewhere in the guise of helping him. But that was not my concern at all. I went ahead to ask Zubaii as he was commonly known by his peers what happened that caused him to become a street boy at this age of 13. He told me that his father separated with his mother twelve years ago after producing two sons. Zubairi being the eldest and his younger brother who is 11 years old. The two remained with other 12 children produced by different mothers under the care of one step mom.
However, things were not going well in their home as their step mom would mistreat them and denying them food. His father was careless in taking them to school and they ended up grazing goats in the village. Zubairi states that he stopped in primary 3 and would like to continue his studies to become a lawyer. Asked why he wants to be a lawyer, Zubairi told me that in his village there are so many criminals and would like to get rid of that lawlessness in his village.
I asked him how he decided to leave his parents and brother s to come to Kampala, he said he was looking for their mom whom they miss and was told that he lives in the western part of Uganda and yet he lives very far in the eastern part of Uganda some 300 kilometers apart. He started collecting and selling scrap metals from his village to accumulate some money to go and look for his mom. He collected half of what he thought was what he needed and tried his luck by walking the distance he thought was worth the money needed. The money he had sufficed him to reach Kampala and not beyond. He got confused as to what to do next.
Stuck in Kampala for two days, he resorted to staying with his peers he found loitering on the streets. They advised him to start life afresh by using some drugs that would make survive the street conditions especially at night when it is cold. He wanted to try but he failed to comply. This made him to be always alert and sober all the time. He started his business of collecting plastic bottles and bags that are littered on the streets of Kampala. He sold them at 200 shillings a kilo ($0.057). A good day would find him collecting 30 kilograms earning $1.71. Enough to give him a simple breakfast, lunch and sometimes dinner.
Life on the streets has not been easy at all for Zubairi. However, he is not alone. His many friends have found life so hard and regrettable. In fact when I found him, probably he was asking his God to give him a way of going back home. He had saved some little money about $7 that he wanted to use when it amounts to $15 in order to buy himself clothes and then uses the balance as his journey fare to go back home. I asked him whether he was willing to go back home if I escorted him back to his parents. He said he will be so happy if someone was ready to take him back from the street life. I bought him some lunch and promised to come back and see what comes next.
His Last Day On The Streets.
When I came back home, I posted his photo on our Nakaseke Children’s Home face book page and some of our friends discussed about his future. One sponsor from America by the names of Tonya promised to give a hand and send him back home. She sent us $50 that helped the three of us Zubairi, me and the police officer who works in Child Protection Unit at the Central Police Station in Kampala. On 26th June woke up early in the morning to go and start the search for Zubairi whom I didn’t know where he sleeps. But I prayed to God that if He blesses me to find this young boy, I will thank him and serve him happily. I used the photo I had snapped him to start where I found him but I did not find him but they directed me where I could find him. I walked downtown with my photo asking whoever street boy I could find but I had the same response to his whereabouts.
I was lucky enough being led by spirit to find him sleeping at 12 noon. Looking tired, hungry and sick, I woke him up and asked him whether he knows me. His answer was yes. I asked him whether he was ready to go back home and he was quick to say yes with a smile on his face. I told him to follow me to the nearest restaurant to buy him food and drink, take him to have a shower and then start his shopping for some clothes and shoes. Then we went to the hair salon to cut his hair so he c an look smart.
Zubairi in the salon cutting his hair.
Muhammad ready to go back home from the street.
The journey back to Muhammad’s home took us 6 good hours and we safely arrived to his home where we were welcomed with jubilations and some of the family members were so surprised to again see the missing boy in their sight again. Because we had no where to sleep and it was close to night, the police officer recorded a statement from Muhammad’s step mom and we bid farewell to our Muhammad.
A Police officer taking a ststement from Muhammad’s step mother.
We missed to see his father but we made sure we shall follow him up to see how he is fairing, whether he is at school and how he is being treated at home. Kampala is full of street children who are struggling to go back and be reunited to their families but some of them lack support to do so.
Nakaseke Children’s Home is willing to do its dutyies n restoring back the lives of these young boys and girls on the streets. Please support us in this work.
Our main target is to take him back to school and make his dream of becoming a lawyer cometrue. Pray for him that he may not be tempted to again come back on the street.
Muhammad Bwerere reunited with his young brother.