During our recent visit to our community school, Junior approaches us as we are sited, he kneels down to greet us and thanks us for the good work we have done trying to help the less fortunate. He requests that we hear him out and then goes ahead to tell us his story.
Galiwango Junior 13 years of age is an orphan. He did not get a chance to ever meet his father but was told he died, and that never bothered him because he had a mother who filled in the gap but this lasted for a while. His mother died when he was just ten years and in primary four. When asked whether he knows the cause of her death he shakes his head no, but says he heard people saying that she was pregnant and must have died of complications. She left for the hospital alive and was returned lifeless in a truck with wails following in suit.
So Junior is left behind to look after two of his younger siblings but how can he do that when his parents did not leave behind any property.
So Junior is left behind to look after two of his younger siblings but how can he do that when his parents did not leave behind any property. Luckily his aunties felt obligated to take care of Junior who now stays in Nakatovu a village in Kayunga District (where we work) and his siblings a 12 year old brother who lives with another aunt in Bulemezi and an 11 year old sister in Masaka.
Junior says he loves his aunt very much if anything it is her kindness that keeps him going. The aunt has six children of her own but that did not stop her from looking after her sister’s child. Currently Junior is in primary seven and in boarding school paying 300,000 Uganda shillings (about $100) for school fees. One would wonder why Junior is in a boarding school, a luxury seeing that the aunt can barely put food on the table for these children. The aunt knows this but also recognizes the need for Junior to stay in school and better concentrate since he is in the final year of elementary school and will need to get good grades to join high school.
As if he has not been through enough, Junior’s hands have been burnt by pesticides. His hands are covered with a scale-like infection that rides from his palms to his elbows. His hands, which are hard to notice since he hides them behind his back when talking to someone cause chills to run down one’s spine. The pesticides also caused skin colour inconsistencies in his face, parts of which are bleached. Asked how he came in contact with pesticides Junior says he had to work at a pineapple farm to top up on his school fees.
Asked how he came in contact with pesticides Junior says he had to work at a pineapple farm to top up on his school fees.
When working with pesticides one has to wear protective gear but this was not the case with Junior and for only 5,000 shillings (about $2) pay daily his health and life was jeopardized. This skin infection could develop into something worse, God forbid, if not treated but where is the money?
At school he lives on left-overs and hand outs from his friends, he fetches water for people and is paid 350 shillings per jerry can. Junior says he wants to be an engineer because it sounds exotic and is prestigious but what he really wants is to be able to payback his aunt’s kindness, provide her with all she could ever want.
How can we help Junior payback this favour?
Sponsor him, help him achieve his dream and make his life better.