He lived at the bead house with Julius and Jacob. He was a lot younger(11 or 12) so he wasn't part of the program really. He helped make beads sometimes, but really the guy that managed the program(uncle) found him on the street and felt like he should bring him home. So Tom stayed around but there was no money to go to school.
Right away, I noticed how bright Tom was. When I would go there to teach them, he paid a lot of attention and usually got the right answer. He was eager to learn. He was also very polite and well mannered. He did what he was told and rarely got in trouble. I saw so much potential in him. At the time, I still thought that I was only going to stay in Uganda for a year. I didn't have extra money, but I felt like if I could only help one boy, he was a good candidate.
So I made a deal. I agreed to pay school fees if the uncle would take care of everything else. We agreed he would continue to live with him, he would make sure he got to school each day, help with homework, and take care of all of the school supplies if I provided everything else.
Tom went to school and tested for which grade he would be placed in. He could have been placed in fourth grade but he felt he would do better if he started in third. He was so happy to be in school and worked so hard. Each term, he was in the top 4, sometimes even first. He scored almost perfect 100s every time. If he wasn't first, he was so sad.
Tom lost both of his parents. He was staying with an uncle before he came to the streets. I don't know why he came to the streets but I don't think he was there long before he was taken to the bead house. Last Fall/early winter, Tom decided that he wanted to go back to his village for a visit. We of course happily let him go. Turns out, his uncle was really happy to see him again and wanted him to live there again. He couldn't provide school fees for Tom but he could provide everything else. So we all agreed it would be best for Tom to stay with his family and I just continue helping with school fees.
Tom started primary 7 this year. He skipped a few grades and it has been a little bit difficult for him. He wanted to stay in class with his friends from the village. He is still working really hard though and does his best. Next year he will start secondary school. I am hoping that he performs well enough on his exam to get into one of the best secondary schools. He is a really smart kid and has a bright future ahead of him. At one point, he said he wanted to be a missionary or a pastor. I don't know if that has changed, but what ever he chooses I know he will be great!
|helping to make beads|