Edith and Patrick’s mother now serving 25 years in prison for murder of a 2 months old baby in a ritual sacrifice a crime she says she never committed but insists it was her husband who killed the baby in their shrine where they jointly practiced witchcraft.
At the time of her arrest, Kafuko was the only one at the scene because her husband had fled and has not been sighted ever since. Upon the arrest of Edith and Patrick’s mother, the people in the community pounced on their home, destroyed their homestead including the shrine and wanted to lynch Patrick and Edith to pay for the life of the dead child. In a highly heated scuffle, it took the intervention of police who rescued these children from an enraged crowd, and handed them to their grandmother who hurriedly took them away to another village, and thus saved them from being killed.
We can say that the imprisonment of Edith and Patrick’ mother led to the genesis of their distress. Even though they lived with their grandmother, Edith and Patrick never got good care, they survived on just one meal a day and some days didn’t have any good meals, they would go look for wild fruits, and wild ants to survive.
At their grandmother’ home, they stayed in a family of ten members who were all living under one room , they had no mattress, no bedsheets, they had to depend on their grandmothers dress to cover themselves at night , and if they urinated on it, they would be beaten in the morning . They had no toilet in that home. They actually had dropped out of school, their grandmother was weak, sick and it was Edith who was taking care of the grandmother as well as her brother Patrick.
“We would wake up so early around 5am and walk to the garden to dig, Patrick would sometimes cry but I had nothing to do as well because our grandmother would scold us if we delayed her” Edith reveals with big tears in her eyes. At the time we found them, they would cook and wash clothes. Edith says that their grandmother would tell them to collect water from a well a mile a way and sometimes they would do that when they were hungry and if they failed to do so, she would flog them, a story she tells with rather a sullen face.
When you speak to Edith, her memory about is so fresh as if it happened yesterday altogether it looks quite clear that she has no idea why she was convicted.
Edith is a social jolly and life-filled child. “I would like to become a mother so i can be in position to cook for my little brother, fetch water for him and tell him stories because I love him so much and I also miss the food cooked by my mother,” says Edith.
She is a good listener; she likes singing and loves to listen to gospel songs during chapel time at school. She reveals that her favorite colors are red, green and yellow; she has an undying love for rice and meat which she says with a smitten look.
“I am happy and comfortable to at Wells of Hope junior school because I am in position to make friends.” Edith says.
They have 3 meals a day at Wells of Hope Junior school and her health has greatly improved. Edith and Patrick stay at school during school breaks.
Patrick, is laid back but quite welcoming. He is a respectful child, social and loves coloring in class. Firstly he reveals that he misses his mother and father because he has taken long without seeing them but has no idea where they both are. Red and yellow are his favorite colors just like his sister. His general health has improved as compared to how we first met him. He told us that his favorite dish is chicken and rice and would eat a full chicken if someone offered it; he says this with a warm smile on his face. He loves to play football and wants to have his own ball. He is a good listener too as revealed by his teacher Annet.
The Prison Welfare officers said that Before Edith and Patrick’ mother found out that Wells of Hope had taken the responsibility of her helpless and feeble children, she would lose her mind and make loud screams in the prison. But ever since she got to know that Wells of Hope is looking after her children, she has revived and is happy.
Edith and Patrick’s mother says that their father had dedicated them to the “gods” and he never wanted them to go to school at all. Their mother is sure he would be extremely vexed to learn that the children are in school because he was mentoring them to be witch doctors like him. He actually taught Edith how to smoke a pipe (known as mindi in Luganda our local dialect).
While other children go for holidays since their home is so unsafe and no family member is willing to collect them to go home.
The day they were brought to Wells of Hope, their grandmother said she had been relieved of a heavy burden because she cannot look after them.
We believe that even though Wells of Hope serves as a home to Patrick and Edith, they can better be raised in a home with foster parents who can offer them love. They could still be at Wells of Hope during school time, but during holidays, they need a home they can go to and may be their foster parents could visit and check on them at Wells of Hope during school time.
Of the 128 children under our care, we have 49 children in same situation like Edith and Patrick who need foster parents . We are praying and seeking to find donor organizations or individuals that can fund us to facilitate these children to be fostered in Uganda, with possibility of being adopted .
And pray, because as we approach the long Christmas break, these children would require homes to go to, some remain at Wells of Hope and some are forced to go back but ,it really hard indescribable situation for them, and there is a risk that they may never come back or if they came back they come back in a rather worse situation that they were in before and we have to do more work to help them. In 2014 , a child was returned dead.
Please pray for these children , and specifically pray for Edith and Patrick and also opportunity exists for Edith and Patrick to be sponsored,its USD35 a month. Or if you can help in anyway,feel free to let me know.
God bless you.
Wells of Hope
P.O.Box 6315, Kampala,Uganda
Coordinator- International Coalition for Children with incarcerated Parents!
Email : firstname.lastname@example.org