BY ANNAH MARY TUSIIME
COVID-19 has been a huge challenge for many people in Uganda, creating fear and anxiety amongst the young and old alike.
Children have been out of school since March and social distancing has left them feeling isolated and even bored. They are looking for something to do – just like Mark and Peter were one day…
It started as a beautiful Tuesday morning. Two cousins, Mark and Peter, were playing outside their house in Kampala when suddenly Mark, the younger one, suggested that they walk to their maternal grandmother’s house for a visit.
Peter seemed to like the suggestion and did not hesitate; the two boys strolled from home without the knowledge of the adults in their care, and set off for a long but unclear journey.
Before long, it was dark and the boys were stranded on the road. Luckily, a motorist driving by noticed something was wrong with the children. Firstly, it was after 8pm, which is past curfew time as imposed by the government of Uganda. Even worse, there was no adult accompanying the boys.
The motorist was concerned seeing two little boys stranded on the road and in the dark. He picked them up and drove them to a nearby police station.
Meanwhile back at home, their family and the entire neighbourhood had gone into a panic, searching for the boys with no success. After hours of searching, rumours began to circulate that the boys had been kidnapped and probably sacrificed for rituals.
It was a sombre mood. The family was worried that they would never see the boys again. Believing they were dead, the family went ahead to arrange for a vigil.
At the police station, the two boys were handed over to the Child and Family Protection Unit where they were probed for answers in order to work out where they were coming from and where they were possibly headed.
Both Mark and Peter gave clues and, at that point, the police got in touch with Viva’s partner network, CRANE, to seek support in tracing the family of the two boys.
Peter gave a more detailed description of their home and, with his help, CRANE, working alongside police officers, were able to find and reunite the boys with their family.
It was a delightful, heart-warming moment when the boys and their father reunited; his emotions changed from disbelief to excitement and tears of happiness, and he hugged them tightly.
CRANE would like to thank all its partner networks working tirelessly to ensure children are kept safe, so that they are able to thrive and be fulfilled, according to God’s plan for them.
CRANE, Viva’s partner network, catalyses nearly 200 churches and organisations in Kampala to work together to change the lives of almost 100,000 children. The network has three main focus areas: safe spaces, families and education.
Viva changes more children’s lives more effectively because we work together: Real collective action brings about holistic change for children on a larger scale than any one organisation could achieve on their own.