There is too much blood being spilled on the land. The rituals are not performed as they should be. The government approaches us and our children with violence – they do not know our lives. The insecurity is finishing the animals and the young men. Perhaps Akuju [supreme creator] has left us for now to finish ourselves.
4:00 am comes early, but by this time, the street child is well into his or her day. These children wake and walk (barefoot usually) the three to four kilometers from Masese village to Jinja town. The children are divided into groups, or teams (the same type that our children were once a part of), each expected to complete a task for the day. This might be searching through the garbage bins for food, begging local business owners for left-overs, or collecting firewood and charcoal or scrap metal to sell. These children are also expected by their parents or “care-givers” to return with money (the reason we see so many begging on the streets).
At around 9:00 pm, the day is done, and the children return home and hand in their day’s collection. If they are very lucky, they will get a small meal before bed, then wake up to start the whole thing over again. If the child was unsuccessful in collecting food and money for the day, they will be beaten and sent to bed hungry. Some children do not even have a family to return to; classed as ‘full-time’ they are runaways and occupy the streets twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. These children must face not only starvation and illness, but also the brutal batons of the local “police” and ill-meaning civilians who feel they deserve to be beaten.