What you need to know:
- All these scenes that have happened in the last couple of weeks keep flashing through my mind and making me wonder what these people’s stories are, especially if they are safe or are in situations that endanger their very lives
Are there things you have seen that refuse to leave your mind for a long time? They just keep popping up at random times and send a chill through your body or cause a wave of sadness to engulf you. I have some of these that have been replaying over and over in my head, making me feel so helpless.
One of these I saw recently when I took an early morning exercise walk. As I made my way in the cold that characterizes that time of day, on roads and through paths in the Namugongo and Kyaliwajjala area, I saw many children going to school. It was lovely to see them walking, or being ridden on a boda or driven in a car or taxi. Many seemed excited to meet up with friends and make their way to school. Others were half asleep especially those on the bodas or cars. A few naughty boys were eating the snacks that were most likely meant for their break. Seeing children going to school always makes me happy especially when I remember how they had to sit back home for nearly two years and miss out on so much.
After I had done most of the route and started making my way back home, I passed by a house and saw a young girl, of not more than eight years old mopping the verandah. The rag she was using looked too big for her to hold well and squeeze the water out of. But she was doing her best, going bit by bit, ensuring every inch was mopped. She wore a bright red dress, the kind you would expect to be worn to church on Sunday morning or to a party.
So many questions run through my mind. Why wasn’t she at school? Was it that her parents or guardians could not afford to send her? The hairstyle she had on her head though, a cute bob cut done with braids suggested if there was money to do that, surely they could be some money to buy a few class materials and send her to a UPE school. Or maybe not. What after all did I know of their struggles? Was she fine in that home? Was she safe? Was she the housemaid? As I walked the last kilometre to our house I kept thinking about her and have been since.
Just like I have of the young woman we found standing out in the cold, very early in the morning, last Saturday. It was visitation day for our daughter who studies in a school far in the western part of the country. The plan was to go and come back on the same day. That is such a killer journey by the way. By the time we were back home at 11pm and finally crawled into bed, it felt like our bodies had been put through a couple of hours in a washing machine, pummelled, squeezed and wrung out! How do truck drivers do this regularly?!
So anyway, that day, we were on the road by 5:15am. As we left our neighbourhood, we happened to see a young woman at that time standing in the middle of households in a matching vest and pair of short shorts. I did not see clearly but it looked like she did not have shoes or even slippers on. Her hair looked dishevelled. What was she doing out there alone staring into space? Was she waiting for someone? Had she been thrown out of a house or home or room? Or had she run out and was wondering what next steps to take? She did not even turn to look at the car as we passed. She just stood still and continued staring into space. What was going on?
All these scenes that have happened in the last couple of weeks keep flashing through my mind and making me wonder what these people’s stories are, especially if they are safe or are in situations that endanger their very lives. The best I can do right now is pray for them and hope that they will one day soon have brighter days.