In 2017 I met Jonathan, the son of a woman working as a housemaid. At the time of writing this he is 3-1/2 years old. He was my first introduction into how a child with very little can live in this country.
Now I know there are varying levels of household income and his situation does not represent that of most. Still, it was eye-opening to see his life compared to my own daughters situation in Canada.
He lived in a small single room with his mother on the homeowners property where she worked. He wore the same clothes every day I was with him, except for one evening when I found him in pajamas, or the times we was walking around naked outside. Life was and is so different yet him and the other kids I met seemed to have the same level of happiness as any other child.
Months passed by and when I returned he had moved. Luckily a nearby shop owner knew of the boy and directly me to where he was staying. I was saddened to discover his mother had to leave Entebbe and stay in Kampala for work, leaving Jonathan behind with relatives. His home went from a small room to an even smaller room – a tiny structure erected for security guards to find shelter as they guarded a plot of land had become a “home”.
He remembered me well. I was glad. He was still wearing the same old shirt I saw him in months earlier. That afternoon I bought him a new outfit an ice cream cone. This was possibly the first time anyone has bought him an ice cream cone, he seemed immediately confused as to how to eat it and placed it into a cup.
This boy clearly needs help, as do many others. I haven’t gotten into all the hardships he has to face. I have been looking for an organization who may offer him assistance with school fees or anything else. It troubles me that the aid organizations I find only seem to want to help the poorest, most diseased or totally homeless. Their intentions are good but I fear it leaves an entire group of children like Jonathan unassisted. Kids like him who have a family and some basic income but still need futher help. My search will continue.