By Alex Taremwa
Christmas worldwide is celebrated in symbolism of the Birth of Jesus Christ. His life made impact on the entire world as selfless, loving, caring and spiritual divine being who preached love for one another as oneself and the peaceful coexistence of people.
As the case always is, Christmas is one of those days when families get together, have splendid meals, pray and drive around for shopping, have luxury in natural parks and make merry but there’s a cross-section of the people to whom this day makes no meaning at all.
Mbarara for example is a city with a population of 457,800 people as per the 2010 population report. At least ¾ of this number travelled to the country to be with their families. However still notable on the streets were the same unprivileged beggars, malnourished street children and homeless men and women who didn’t get to feel a pinch of this annual day.
As a matter of fact, one of the street children with whom I interrupted, after taking him for a better meal recalled that the last time he had Christmas was 6 years ago before the demise of both his parents. Wycliffe is now 12 and knows no home than Machanising Street where has lived ever since.
For the first time since 2007, Wycliffe’s relatives in Rwentuha, part of the greater Bushenyi have never come to at least see him, or buy him a good meal.
“I see some of them in town; they completely ignore me like they have never seen me,” he told me.
After my encounter with Wycliffe, I bought a few gifts, packed them in a duffle bag and together with my friend; we visited Divine Babies Home on the mighty hills of Booma. It was Christmas and since it’s a foundation based on faith, prayers had been held at the place earlier in the day.
However from lunch time until 5pm, Children were kept in their shelters and forced to sleep. As we made our way through the gate, one of the caretakers who I later learnt from children that her name was Phionah; was forcing children back into the shelter to sleep before he fellow reminded her that it was already 5pm.
“Go play from the other side of the gate,” she yelled at them.
From the age of 3 months to 6 years, abandoned, abused, and tortured children all wearing divine oriented necklaces had had a meal of their life time and our gifts we going to be dessert. Since the babies home has a no external adoption policy, it’s less likely that any of these children will ever celebrate Christmas with any family other than here.
Alternative to swinging around is Entertainment. Those who are old enough to resonate whatever the TV is airing can go and pay their respective attentions as the rest cry, fight and make their way to meet whoever pleases to visit them with open hearts.
The persona of Jesus Christ would appreciate it if this day was devoted not only to our respective families but to making this it have symbolic significance to those that don’t have the chances.
It took love, compassion and humanity for me to devote time to realizing how other people celebrate this day in order to find the meaning of Christmas. For the first time in 22 years, at least I’m sure that this Christmas, I made more than myself happy.