Success Story: Godfrey Byokatunda
This is my story…
I am from the Bafumbira tribe on
In 2013 mum told me my father was dead…. this was the 6th time to see her in my life. So I asked her to show me where I belong. There are 8 siblings on the side of my mum. Mum said my father & my grandfather are not easy people –when you were born they didn’t give you any help so be careful. I asked her to go find them with me, but she didn’t agree. My mother stayed in Kamwokya.
I went alone, to go in a place where I have not one I know. I got a ticket and spent a day on the way in the bus. I reached there at
There is a story that cannibals dig big holes in their houses, they put a mat over the hole covering spears that stick up. They put a light chair on top of the mat and when it rains the people rush in for cover and they sit in the chair –they become dinner!
That place is too cold.
When it was morning they gave me a room -first I searched the room, then I closed it, but it was not allowed. I got
They told me he was not a good father, he left me behind and couldn’t care about me. My mother told me he died of Aids, but then my sister told me no he got
I was so amazed I couldn’t believe in everything. I have family friends, relatives and sisters and grandparents –even those ones that I had met in the city said ‘we didn’t know anything about you’.
I was with my mum (foster) until 13yrs –she caned me
I was working too much. I go to
I was in school, it was 2005 –Primary 4 and they contacted my real mother for money –she said I have no money, but they demanded payment of 2 terms. I was in the classroom and they were making role call for completed payment of school fees, so they told me
I went in the house of the family and searched for money because I knew them well and I knew they would hide money in the dust or under the mat. I found they had transferred the money to another place. Then I found a suitcase with a lock –how come these people have a lock. Then I knew there was money. I looked for keys and found nothing so I got scissor to the teeth of the zip and I found coins and some papers in a box. I got fear because if they found me they could take me to the police. You know that cow it was crying as if someone was coming.
As soon as I heard the cow I ran from the house and I was not sure where my mum went. I went outside to see but no one was coming. I got the money and paper, so I collected everything from the box -100,000shillings ($40) -it could even buy land. I was in fear I was shaking, but I didn’t know the garden where my mum was digging. So I put saliva on my palm and where the wind took it is the way I would go. The friends of my mum were there so I was passing in the bush. I passed in the town but even the neighbors were there so I had to hide. I saw a car and ran to it. I had to break the box because it was like wood, then the coins were really heavy and I packed the coins and papers into the box, so I waited for a taxi to take me to the city.
I took a cake, a
We arrived and I was wondering; so many cars, tall buildings and many people and I thought I am going to collect money. I said to the taxi man I was getting money. He said where are you going to collect money, where do you think you can get money from in this city? He laughed, but I thought if you don’t want then you don’t have to tell me. The taxi man said separate your money so if they take it you still have some, but I forgot.
I bought 4
Then I had to see how the city looks or to get a place to stay, but the problem I used to face was, the park was full of advertising posters so I had trouble to find the right place to keep my money –(money is usually hidden buried in the ground or a safe place). Then I went out of the park to Mapera House to see how it looks and when I came back to the park it was a big problem …it was
Then I went to Arua Park and someone told me if you work for me then you can get shelter and accommodation. I was not sure of what she was telling me. She said ‘In the midnight work for me here selling black tea’. Then I agreed and started working and getting something for eating. I had nothing for clothes and I was so dirty. The woman said get some clothes I can’t work with someone in such dirty clothes. But I was too hungry so the 5000/= I had to use it for eating then I had no money for clothes. I went to her and said give me something for eating, she gave me at first then there was a man who said you come and get a shower. I washed and remained with underwear until my clothes are dry.\
As I was on the street standing my neighbor found me there near Centenary Park. He told me we are going back to Kisoro and
by Godfrey Byokatunda
Update from ChanCes…
Jo & Steve began supporting Shalom Charity Foundation in 2007; Shalom was to take over a rundown and failing KIN (Kids In Need). This is when we first heard of Godfrey, but it has taken 8 years for us to gain trust where he wanted to tell us his story. On meeting Godfrey for the first time in 2010 we found a very tough, resistant young man but there was something about him that touched our hearts.
Apparently we should have been afraid of this street kid, with his bold attitude and ‘I don’t need you; you’re just another Muzungu (white)’ approach. What we were to learn is many small on the ground organisations fail due to mismanagement and the real victims naturally are the children. The children have no voice, but more importantly no choice but to take whatever support they can get from whoever is offering. These same children are often taught to ‘put on a show’ for the Muzungu visitor, a show when the muzungu is around to prove the organisation is fully functioning and happy.
The children receive food, shelter and rewards for such a display. They are threatened with the choice to play the game or stay on the streets. What we saw in Godfrey was survival at it’s most basic but we didn’t know it at the time. He had seen the likes of us before, the whites come in, help for a bit then it fails so they leave. But we were different, we had promised these boys we would not abandon them –we knew at the time this was a huge commitment and did not realise the journey we were about to take. Shalom had it’s work cut out and what KIN had left behind was a rundown, dysfunctional home for 22 boys. On seeing the state of the orphanage in the slums of Kampala in 2010, we committed to extra monthly funding and some capital input to bring the place up to scratch. Trusting things were moving on well and not aware of the charade we had witnessed we planned our second visit for 2012. We were devastated to find Shalom had not changed.
Two years on things still looked in the same terrible state. We knew something was very wrong. So planning surprise visits in the July was to prove Shalom Charity Foundation was also failing due to mismanagement. We were so disheartened, and reached out to others to take the boys out of this situation. ChanCes Charity began around this time because now we were like the guardians and we needed to take responsibility. We had committed to 22 boys we would help them find a way out of poverty through our involvement. Not only did we have to prove we were honorable to our word but now we had a strong emotional bond and were determined to show them hope, honesty and above all love. After all that is what we had offered them back in 2010.
Godfrey is now in Senior 2 at boarding school and hopes to be a journalist one day.
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