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MBUYU MONDAY - Who are we? Derrick's Story

I was born in a small village, and in a family full of challenges . First my dad had a number of wives and he would mistreat his wives .

At a very young age I would start to see my mom being beat up every day and night, but she stayed strong just to raise us .

We lived a simple life really until our mom realized that the beatings are too much and she made the decision to leave our fathers home . My mom had six children and I was the only boy.

My four elder sisters where not staying with us.

So it was me and our youngest sister in this home.

My life changed forever when my mom left the house and moved to the city with my young sister leaving me behind with my father.

Just a few days after my mom left the house, a new wife was brought in by my father.

She was harsh and rude and she would beat me up all the time and would give me very heavy work . She would make me work in the garden and stopped me from going to school .

The hardest thing of all was that

at times she would not give me any food for days and at the age of seven (7) I would often go to bed without food.

After a while I tried to to talk to my dad about what my step mom made me go through, but sadly all he did was beat me up more.

So time came and I got fed up of this kind of life .

I thought if I could find my mom life would be a bit better.

Being a kid and with childish thinking I thought the city was just as small as my village was.

And I thought I would easily find my mom.

So I had to find any possible means of getting to Kampala.

I chose to go and work on other people’s farms for money so that I could pay for a taxi van to the city. At my young age (8) I had to do heavy work just to get enough money to help me get to Kampala (the capital city) .

Time came and I saved the money needed for the trip and early in the morning I jumped into a taxi to Kampala .

To my surprise when I reached Kampala things where not the way I expected them to be!

The city was just too big!

And whoever I asked about my mom had no idea where my mom was .

So I was really stuck in a big place with big talk buildings and no way of finding my mom or getting home.

I did not have anywhere to start from .

That is where I met another boy like me who was called opio .

I did not realize that I was about to enter a new life .

The life where I was to sleep out in the cold and had to look for what to eat all by my self .

Opio was a homeless, just like the boy I was about to become .

He found me crying and he asked what was the problem and I told him that I was looking for my mom .

He looked at me and told me that I could not find her as the city was much too big .

He asked to follow him which I did and he took me to a place called Kivulu .

Kivulu was a slum where a number of homeless kids used to stay .

There was a big open place where some homeless people used to sleep .

My first night challenging was so cold and I had to sleep on a hard ground with no bedding to make me warm .

I started learning how the others survived and each day I had to collect metals for recycling (scrap) for some money to buy food and if I was not able collect enough scrap for food that meant that I was to would go to dump or garbage sites to look for any dumped food and I would eat that .

I faced a number of challenges but the biggest one was that the other people in the community looked at streets boys and girls as a curse and would not like us .

I saw many of my friends who lived on streets beat up by mobs and loose their little sweet short lives . I saw girls raped and many of my friends were exposed to drugs like marijuana . At a very young age .

I was on the street from age 8-11 years. 3 years living as a street boy.

At the end of the second year I was lucky to Meet a tourist from Sweden who doing an exchange at the University in Uganda.

We got to know each other and became friends and one day she asked me if I wanted to go back to school - which was what I really wanted and she chose to take me to school and she became a family to me .

So after 3 years on the street I found a way off the street.

Me and my sponsor on my first day back at school

I know we can't change our past but we can start where we are for a brighter future .

And that's why I chose to do. Make a brighter future and work hard.

Years later when I joined high schools I really wanted to help my other brothers and sisters (friends) back in the slums and street and I tried to save all the money that I was given for upkeeps at school and I would use it to help the other street

I started a feeding project where I would buy food for the kids with my saved money and then share a word of encouragement with them - so they too could believe that their life could also change one day.

As I did this time came and I saw the need rising and I was not able meet all of them with my little saved money .

At that time I was starting a course at university and I was not able raise the money my more .

My heart was just on fire and I still really wanted to help .

So I turned my eyes to look for any NGO that is working with street kids or in slums .

So I posted A message on a public group on facebook and shared a bit of my story and here Leah responded to me.

In fact many NGOs responded to wanting volunteers but it was clear God was sending me to the Mbuyu foundation .

I joined the team in the early 2018. As a general volunteer and now currently working as a sports coach in the SPORTS FOR LIFE program .

me today at the mbuyu sports for life program

I really thank God for the love I get from the Team.

It is no longer a team but a family to me .

For the time I have been with the team, I have learned that if you join hands we conquer more together.

The Mbuyu Foundation is passionate about helping the kids in the slums and on the streets and I believe we will do even more in the future to help street children have a new beginning.

You may be wondering about my mum - well when I was 14 my sponsor was returning to her home.

So she helped me return to my village for some time where I was able to reconnect with an auntie who then was able to reach my mother.

The reunion between my mother and little sister was the best! And now I'm helping my little sister to get an education!

I now see them regularly and am helping my younger sister to get an education.

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