What happens to a family when a child decides to live on the street? Some are worried, others just continue with their daily routines, and a third category is secretly glad that there is one person less to feed.But sometimes you hear a story you will remember for the rest of your life…
Yohana James Songa was born in Maisome, an island of fishermen in Lake Victoria. When he was just a baby, his mother left him with his father who was the main preacher of the island. Because there are no schools at Maisome, Yohana didn’t get any education. When Yohana was nine years old his father decided to send him to a nice school in Uganda. At schools in Uganda they speak English, so Yohana was send to the mainland to get some English lessons. He started living with a man who hit him often and hard, so Yohana started to run away from home. Every time, after a day or two he was found again and returned to his house. When Yohana’s father heard about this, he decided to bring Yohana back to Maisome.
On the island Yohana’s life wasn’t much better. There was no school, he had to do the housekeeping all day and even here he was beaten pretty often. One day, he stole a soda from a small shop. After he drank it all, he felt so guilty that he didn’t dare to go back home again. He decided to leave the island.
This is how Yohana entered the life of being a boy on the streets of Mwanza. After a few months on the street, the staff of the Back Home House took care of him, and decided to visit his father. But because the journey by boat is very dangerous, they never dared to make this journey. Yohana was transferred to Malimbe Family were he has lived for 2 years now.
This summer it was decided to pay a visit to his father after all. The journey lasted two days. During this time Yohana was quiet, but not more than usual. On the boat to Maisome they met a friend of Yohana’s family. She was very happy and astonished to see Yohana again. She said that everybody on the island believed Yohana had died several years ago.
On Maisome it became clear that this woman hadn’t exaggerated one bit. When Yohana didn’t return, all villagers went to look for him in the forest, but the only thing they found were the remains of a child’s body. The people thought that the father of Yohana sacrificed him to a witchdoctor in order to get the power he uses to bless and heal people.
Yohana’s father lived like this for almost three years. His town turned against him and all inhabitants believed he was a devil.
When Yohana returned alive and well, his father was very glad to see him again. The townspeople were also very happy to see him, but they were also ashamed about all the accusations.
Because there are still no schools at Maisome, Yohana will return to Malimbe in a few weeks to finish his primary school. His father is very grateful to Upendo Daima. Not only did they take care of his son, but they also helped to let the townspeople know that he’s just a nice guy, no devil.
As for Yohana… he already played happily with his brothers and sisters. From now on, during the holidays, he is very welcome to come and stay with his father and the rest of his town.
On account of the experiences of Milanga Aly,
By Ite van Aardenne, volunteer Upendo Daima, Mwanza