Growing Pains

An Alien To The Status Quo

On days that seem to go on and on, I cannot imagine sweating over a charcoal stove trying to cook supper, when I finally get back home.
I usually just go to my rolex* guy at the roadside and supper is set.
Yesterday was such a day. So in the evening I just trudged to the roadside to look for supper.
As I stood aside watching the rolex guy work his magic, I noticed that the next stall was occupied by a young boy, about twelve, thirteen years old. I realized he was helping the stall owner. My curiosity pickled, I decided to have a conversation with the boy.
It went something like this:

Me: What is your name?

Him: Patrick.

Me: it’s a bit late for you to be here, shouldn’t you be at home, doing homework or something?

(He laughs and shakes his head.)

Me: Well….

Patrick: I have to work. I have siblings to feed.

Me: how about your parents?

(He scoffs)
Patrick: those useless beings that keep on giving birth like they are a factory! Do you know we are ten, ten children!
(He shakes his head in disbelief)
Apparently they’ve never heard of family planning.

Me: What do your parents do? Where do they work?

Patrick: my father drinks the money my mother makes selling tomatoes. And I being the eldest have to feed my siblings.

Me: how much do you earn from working here?

(He laughs and shakes his head)
Patrick: Enough to feed my sisters and brothers.

Me: Do you go to school?

Patrick: well I do…at the UPE school. But sometimes the money for the requirements is hard to come by. So I don’t go.

Me: so what do you want to be when you grow up.

(He smiles a beautiful smile.)
Patrick: Well realistically speaking I may not go very far with school. So I’ve started saving for my very own rolex stall. And then after..I want to be better than Maradona. I play football too, you know. I will play for Barcelona.

I looked at the optimism and innocence of this boy. Life had dealt him a pretty crappy hand but he was making the most of it. And with his determination, I can totally see him with his own rolex stall one day.
In that short conversation, he showed that he would not end up like his father. And I’m very sure that optimism will take him places…..

The above conversation was entirely in Luganda
*rolex, Ugandan delicacy of an egg rolled in a chappati…typing that just made me hungry for one….

Yours Truly

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