WHEN IS ENOUGH ENOUGH???
Mathias has seen more than most children or people would experience in a lifetime. Death has been all around him and he often looks bewildered when you ask about his parents, his aunts, uncles or guardian. That this boy can still smile is nothing short of a miracle. Put yourself in his place:
He lost his father to cancer in 2003. Not long after that the mother died of an unknown sickness (suspected AIDS). Matthew was taken by his grandmother who died of cervical cancer in 2013. After the death of his grandmother he was taken by another guardian, whose husband died in an accident in 1999. She is currently from tuberculosis and pneumonia (suspected HIV/AIDS) and is being treated on a weekly basis. Many times she forgoes the treatment through lack of finance.
In Uganda survival means life continues. There is no time to stop and evaluate death or suffering and its impact upon a person. To do that might simply mean the burdens are too heavy and giving up is never an option because starvation is always at the door. Grief counseling for most people here is not heard of. After the death of someone there is much crying at the funeral, which is arranged by the family, and after two days of crying life goes on. Unfortunately the children are always on the outer circle and attention for them is negligible and that explains why so many children often have a vacant stare. Grief is internalized. It is only after a caring adult takes time to sit with a child like Matthew that tears can flow. Educational progress is often hindered by unresolved grief.
Mathias is the youngest of four siblings. He has two sisters and one brother, who were taken by other relatives to a distant village and are not in school. So another setback in his life is that he doesn´t have his brother or sisters to relate to leaving him lonely and living in absolute squalor in a one roomed house with a sickly guardian. To relieve his suffering one solution would be to put him into boarding school. And when this was discussed with the guardian she was so happy because it seems she knows her time is short. At least one child of the family should benefit from an education. We are hopeful that someone will respond to this child´s needs.