A Day in the Life of a Boy in a Hard Place

Story and photos by Emmanuel Mwangala, Kenya Intern

Have you ever wondered what a day in the life of a child living in a hard place is like? This photo essay illustrates a day in the life of Randu, a sponsored boy in Kenya.

When he’s not in school, Randu helps his father with fishing.

“I dream of becoming a police officer in future because I admire their dedication in serving us, and in maintaining law and order in our community,” says Randu, 16.

He says he was inspired in the fourth grade by one of his neighbors who was a police officer.

“One day at the Hope Center, my Child Champion asked us what we wanted to become when we grow up,” Randu says. “I, just like most kids my age, did not know what our dreams were.

“So our Champion asked us to think about a person or a job that we admired, and he gave us examples. So after giving it a thought, I knew I wanted to become a police officer.”

Randu was registered into the OneChild sponsorship program at Upendo Hope Center 12 years ago. He, together with his nine siblings and their parents, live in Jilore, a remote village in Malindi, Kenya. He is currently in high school.

Randu helps weed the family garden.

His father, John, is a plumber and struggles to earn an income because there are very few plumbing jobs in the village. Sometimes he doesn’t have work for months.

Randu helps around the house by sweeping and cleaning.

To feed his family, John goes fishing in a nearby river, and then Randu’s mother goes around the village selling part of the day’s catch while some fish is left to serve as a meal at home.

When Randu and his father catch fish, the family consumes them and any extra are sold in the village.

John earns the equivalent of $3 a day selling fish. That money is used to purchase vegetables and maize flour, which is needed to prepare ugali to serve with the fish. Ugali is a dense porridge-like meal.

Despite the low income earned by his family, Randu comfortably attends school because his Hope Center helps provide for school supplies and Child Champions also give his family a food basket for food relief whenever they visit him at home.

Randu spends time with his siblings when he is home.

On weekends, when Randu is not in school, he helps his parents take care of their small garden after he attends the program at the center. He also joins his father in his canoe to go fishing across the river.

After working in the garden, Randu heads home.

“I enjoy fishing the most because this means that we get to have a protein (fish) on our diet during dinner,” Randu says. “It is far much better than having porridge only.

“I also enjoy seeing my siblings enjoy their meals. On days that we have fish, there’s always a lot of giggles and laughter, and we treasure that.”

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