This is Daddy, 15 Years Old
As part of our visit to Sierra Leone we spoke to many children in the hope of finding out more about the lives of orphans in Freetown. We asked the usual questions about their favourite subjects, their hobbies and what they want to be when they grow up. The answers were typical of any child, ‘we love football’, ‘we want to be doctors’ and ‘we like to play with our friends’.
We met Daddy Mammy Coker. He is 15 years old and a perfect student in his school. He wants to be a lawyer when he grows up and his main interest is of course football.
In our experience it is sometimes difficult eliciting different responses when we ask children the typical questions however when we asked Daddy ‘why’ his responses had an eloquence we couldn’t have scripted ourselves.
‘I want to be a lawyer because my older brother is a lawyer and my father wanted me to be one before he died’.
This wasn’t an off the cuff response.
‘I go to school from midday until 6pm.’ surely then you must enjoy your leisure time after school.
‘I have to do my chores when I get home; sweeping, washing, cleaning. Then I must study for 4 hours’.
Now, thanks to sponsorship from Orphans in Need, all of this has changed…
Who makes you study for those extra hours, your mother?
‘No, I make myself do it. Nelson Mandela said ‘Education is the most powerful weapon we can use to change the world’’.
We had to ask him to repeat the quote so that we could write down the exact wording.
As he attended the afternoon session of schooling, I assumed he had his mornings for some free time.
‘No, in the mornings I help my mother as she is at work so I have to do some of the chores and get my clothes ready before I go to school. My only free time is during the weekend when I can play football and sometimes play PlayStation.
’ We always hope that the children we work with will grow up to be successful individuals who will give back to their communities. I asked him what he would do for his community.
‘I want to work for an organisation like yours that helps people. The food parcel you gave to my mother yesterday will help us a lot and make things easy for us’. We ended the conversation by asking him how we would eat an orange as we were clearly struggling. Apparently, it just needs some more peeling.