Imagine, a child of 6 or 4 years old, and he doesn't know his name....just because nobody ever calls him by his name!!! Is that not terribly sad??
In June we got three brothers via the Police and the community officer, from a neighbouring district. Two twin brothers from probably 6 years old and one younger brother of maybe 4 years old. They don't know their own names...... The story is sad.. Both parents left, they separated and left the boys behind in a small dark little house, without anything, no mattress, no sheet, no plate or anything like that. Every day someone, mostly the grandmother, brought some food to them, but there was no care, no love and no parenting. They were no allowed to play with other children, because everybody thought they were HIV+ and they were infested with jiggers (a kind of flea that comes into your skin and grows there). A community worker got alarmed and notified the authorities.
They had to be treated, the jiggers had be removed and that was a painful process!! Days later we still got out small living jiggers and they were started on antibiotics. After days of pulling out the jiggers, they started to play and talk.....We tried to use their names, but when you called one, you got at least two of them responding... In Uganda, at least here in the Teso region, twins have always the same second name: when they are boys, the first born is called Opio and the second born Ocen or Odongo. Then the baby who is born after the twin is called Okello. And if they are girls, the O will be an A, like Apio, Acen, Adongo and Akello. We know now that they are called Opio Silver, Odongo David and Okello Kedi. But it took a long time till they responded on their name. And when you ask one of the twins (they look very alike) if he is Opio, then he says yes, while he is Odongo.
They are not easy to handle, they have no discipline, they break the toys, they make a mess when they eat, they throw their clothes everywhere on the floor and they can't share toys. We do understand, knowing where they come from., but we do have to teach them the proper way. They fight and they can cry very loud to get attention, but we do see a change in them!! We also felt that they should go to nursery school. After talking with the teachers, we brought first the youngest boy Okello Kedi to school.. he liked it and told his brothers about it..... Then we felt that it was time for the twins as well to go to school. We told the teachers to tell us when it would be too much for them, but they do well and they are blending into the group, which is so good for them!!
In the meantime, our social workers have been visiting the grandmother and the other relatives. We have tested the three boys for HIV and they came out negative!!! They have no HIV!!! But that didn't help, the relatives were very certain, they could not take care of the three boys and the parents are lost.. They asked us to find a family for them, the authorities also came to the conclusion that it would be the best for the boys, to go to another family. And we found the family who want to take all three of them!! The paperwork is still going on, but there is a hope for Silver, David and Kedi.
In the meantime they are going to school, learning how to play, to share and to listen, because that is still very difficult for them.
My prayer for them is that they will know who they are, that they will know their name and that they will know that there is a Father Who knows their name!!!