Now completely aware, she saw it, eyes locked on the scene. Just in front of a brick-lined clay hut, a boy – as unfledged as he is – snatched a small round object out of younger child’s hand. The little one, no more than 5 years of age, instantly starts to cry. ‘Are they brothers perhaps?’ She can’t tell for sure.
The tiny object disappears quickly in the older boys mouth, before he confidently struts away. It doesn’t take too long before the younger boy regains his smile. Catching his gaze on the ground in front of him, is an old, rusty metal hoop. The kind of piece which is usually part of a larger barrel.
This is a story between her and the young boy. A random encounter, made only possible by the usual stand still traffic in that area. Adding to the scene is the swelling distress amongst all onboard, who are stuck on a congested road in the province of Entebbe.
She belongs to an airline crew, who is travelling via small coach on their way to the airport. After witnessing the scene between the boys, she began to remember her own childhood, when she was an innocent girl. Naive to what the world’s lessons still had to offer her. What a lighthearted time it was! A time, many years ago.
Meanwhile, the boy lifts up the hoop and with a thin wooden stick, he tries to drive it forward. With a quick hit on the upper bend, the hoop starts to trundle. However, the boy’s first attempt ends suddenly when the hoop falls over after two rotations. He tries a second time. His attention is focused on that simple metal thing. The little artist doesn’t notice that he is being observed.
She – the spectator – doesn’t realise that it requires practise and skill in order to keep rolling the hoop upright. I mean, ‘she’, a white woman coming from a far away and well developed country.
The boy and her, undeniably exist in a different kind of world. Separated through a dusty windowpane of the coach.
How is that possible? Are we not all just the same passengers on this earth?
Dudgeon and discordance peaks among the crew. Comments such as “I can’t believe this!”, or “In which time are we living?!” go around. A young lady shouts out: “They should rather invest in some roads!”.
‘She’ becomes thoughtful, feels embarrassed…worried.
‘I’d know some areas where you should rather invest in yourself!’, is the only thing she is able think of that juncture.
A few attempts later, the boy finally gaining confidence with the metal ring. The hoop trundling upright as if it’s the simplest thing on earth. To master the so-called ‘turnpike’ will take more time and patience. It is indeed another level of dexterity and coordination.
But she won’t see that. As in that moment, the traffic jam dissolves and the coach continues on its journey towards the airport.
Uganda – #Inspireme
Uganda is a landlocked country in East Africa. Children (under age 18) make up more than half of Uganda’s population.
Read more (in german)
Babyboom in Uganda – Jugend ohne Zukunft
(Deutschlandradio Kultur, Beitrag vom 22.07.2015)
DU und ICH – miteinander für Uganda
(Website “Du und ich – miteinander für Uganda e.V., 2016)