I imagine every parent has big dreams for their kids, what they will be when they grow up, who they will marry, what kind of house they will live in, what kind of person they will be...
Even though I have been a parent to some of these boys for only a few months, I still have big dreams for them. I know they are amazing kids. I see how smart they are, how clever, how resourceful, how kind and compassionate. I see them being doctors and lawyers. I see them doing great things for their country.
But they don't.
I have always said that as long as they grow up into good, godly men that honor their wife and children I will be happy. And that is completely and totally true. However, I still dream and see the potential.
But they don't.
This weekend, reality kind of hit me full force. I wasn't prepared for it and it broke my heart. At the beginning of the school term, I pushed one boy to enroll even though he told me he didn't think he could handle it. I assured him he could, encouraged him , and told him how smart I knew he was. I pushed because as long as I have known him, he has wanted to be in school. So much of his childhood was robbed from him and I didn't want school to be also. I knew then, just like I still believe that he is smart and clever and he would excel in school. But he has given up.
I couldn't convince him of what I saw in him. He wouldn't believe that it would get easier. He instead got down on his knees and begged me not to make him go back and to forgive him for disappointing me. He said he was too old. He was bigger than everyone at school, even the teachers. He even informed me that now he was growing a beard. He told me he felt like he was wasting time, he should be working. He told me he was at an age where he should be working not studying in primary 3. He assured me he would be fine in life even though he can't read or write. He said many people are just fine and they don't speak English.
And with that, my dreams for him died.
If he was 10 years old, maybe I could make him go to school. But he's at least 16, and he says 18. He has been running his life for the last I don't know how long. I can't make him do anything. All I can do is suggest and hope he listens.
This time he won't.
Because of the injustice and unfairness of his life, now even his education has been robbed from him. He isn't the only one. There are others in the house that won't ever have stepped foot in the classroom. Never, not once. Education isn't a right in Uganda, it is a privilege. And for too many, a privilege they will never have.
It isn't fair. He shouldn't have to give up on his education. But that is the reality of life in Uganda. Doesn't matter how much you love school, and he really did, sometimes it doesn't even matter how well you perform at school, education isn't a right. And many kids, now including some of mine, lose that chance everyday.
If I am this heartbroken over it, imagine how he feels....