Sunday, September 16, 2007

Ekesaa Goes Home

We know him as our beloved and incredibly kind Emmanuel, or Ema for short. About 18 years ago though, (he doesn't know his true age) he was called Ekesaa. He doesn’t remember Kenya, where he was born, nor does he remember his father or two older brothers, but he very much wants to find them. His Tanzanian mother left Kenya with baby Ekesaa and took him to live in Moshi, Tanzania, renaming him Emmanuel. Ema's mother told him very little about his family, but did say that he should go look for them one day.

When Ema was about ten years old, angry and hungry, he stowed away on a bus going to Dar es Salaam. When he got caught, a kind woman paid his fare. He told her he had relatives in the city which he didn’t. He lived on the street for years in several different shelters. Once he made it home to Moshi where he found his mother “waiting for him”. She told him that she wanted to see him before she died and she died shortly after. He went back to Dar es Salaam. In 2003 he started school in Bagamoyo. He passed the national examinations to start secondary school in 2005, but the shelter where he was living could not afford to send him. At that time The Baobab Home took him, along with the guys who had become brothers to him, as part of our family.

Last December when we sent Ema back to Moshi for the holiday we encouraged him to get all the information he could about his family. He was told his father’s name ( Richard Juma Wasweta)and the names of his brothers(Unyango and Samson).

Caito and Ema left yesterday for Kenya by bus to begin the search for Ema's father and brothers. They didn't have many facts other than names. They know that Ema’s father fought for Tanzania during the war with Uganda during the Idi Amin years. Caito called this morning from Nairobi to say that they already determined what tribe Ema belongs to based on the name Wasweta. The tribe is from the town Buseto just outside of Busia on the border of Uganda. They were told that the tribe is well organized and even has a registry. Finding them at all will take luck, but getting the tribal connection is half the battle. All three alive after 18 years in the wake of HIV/AIDS and massive flooding is a lot to hope for, but we are all hopeful anyway.

We are so grateful to Jill and Alan Townsend of the U.K. and Shane Hofeldt and his coworkers in Maine, USA. Together they are paying for bus fare, food, printing costs for flyers and notice cards, hotel costs and any “tips” to people who help along the way. Thank you for making this possible!!

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