Sunday, September 18, 2011

If you don't want to feel depressed

...stop reading...

Okay, storytime. This afternoon we dropped off Daisy (mego) at the fields. She is going to live in the fields for the next week harvesting beans from dusk to dawn. It really sucks. Meanwhile Santo (wego) is on a bus to kampala for the week and chilling in a hotel. The problem I have with all of this is that Daisy works her ass off all the time and never complains; meanwhile Santo (who works in a cozy office and doesn't do manual labor) comes home and sits on his chair and acts like he did years of manual labor. He cannot get up to make dinner, clean dishes, or even his own hands. It is kind of absurd. He is a good guy but the dynamics here are so far from what I am comfortable with.

So here is the depressing part...

Since both my host parents are gone, it is just Samuel, Robbin, and me in the house. I have been really curious of how much Samuel likes it here, but have felt that he is censored when Daisy is around. I probably never should have asked, because now I cannot imagine not doing anything... but here is his story in full.

Samuel's dad was a Ugandan soldier who was killed by the LRA. Samuel's mother left him with her sister when she went to Kampala for a weekend. She left feeling ill with Malaria and some other sicknesses. Samuel's mother (Santo's sister) was never heard from again. To this day they do not know if she is alive.

Samuel moved from house to house for a year. One house he stayed at he did not eat for an entire week. He went to school, came back, slept. By the time Santo took Samuel in, he looked as if he were going to die.

I have always been curious why Samuel looks so thin while Robin, Santo, and Daisy are decently filled out. I have also felt this weird tension between Samuel and the rest of the family. While Robin is constantly playing, Samuel is constantly working and doing whatever Daisy or Santo says. Daisy and Santo both say they took him in as one of their own, but it just doesn't seem that way.

With both of them gone, Samuel really opened up. Daisy "cains" (hits) Samuel all the time. If Samuel gets home late, if he does a chore too slow, if he says he doesn't want to do a chore, she will beat the hell out of him. She also constantly reminds him that he is not her son and she has no responsibility for him. She gives Robin money everyday to take to school to buy treats, but never gives Samuel any. Currently, Samuel's schooling is being paid for by an organization here in Gulu that helps out orphans. The organization is closing this year and Samuel is screwed for next year. I am going to work something out with Santo so he does not end up not going to school. I asked Samuel if he was angry... he said he does not get angry because anger is what took his family. Instead he says he likes to just think that one day he will be free from all of this. He also mentioned he is happy because I am here. When I am here Daisy feeds him lunch and dinner and does not beat him. When I am here Daisy is good to him (The reason he is so skinny is because he is not fed very often). This is why he needs to go to school somewhere. He needs to get out of this house where his talents and potential are being wasted and beaten out of him. He needs a life where someone will hug him and love him and treat him as their own. If I wasn't so young, I would love nothing more than to do this. You can just tell he is something special and deserves so much more than this.

Some other depressing things I just thought of... Samuel has three outfits and Daisy won't buy him more... Robin has 10. Robin has 2 backpacks, Samuel has none and Daisy won't give him one. Samuel works for little pay when he is not working at home to pay for his books... Robin has never worked in the house or outside of it.

With that said... Daisy is not a bad woman. I have no excuse for how she treats Samuel, but I cannot judge her for it. Look at her life... She is working under the hot sun, dusk to dawn, living in a hut for a week to pick beans Santo planted. She is constantly serving Santo and the rest of the family. Her life is not hers to live.

Santo is also not a bad guy. This is just how it is. Men make money, women work at home, that's life. Samuel tells me Santo's heart is so good, he is just not pratical and has too many children (I found out Daisy is his second wife, his first wife died). I am not sure how many kids Santo has, but I think it might be near 15 or more....

So this is my story of everyone else's story. Basically I want to take Samuel back right now. This all sucks a lot that he is suffering so much and all I can do is try to email some people about a scholorship...


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  2. Hi Annie! I know it seems like you are doing nothing, but I know a lot of people are reading this blog and falling in love with Samuel. You have introduced us to him, painted a picture of his life, and forced us to care for the person behind the name. If that is not doing something, I don't know what is. Keep writing and keep sharing these stories. It's the only way these things will change.