Jafaris story

I come from Singida. My tribe is Mang’ati. We were living in the forrest and my father owned a lot of cows. One day he went out with his relatives who killed him and took away all the cows. At that time I was about six years old. My mother went away and left me in the jungle because she could not afford it to stay with me, because she was too poor. After three days the Nyiramba people found me and took me to their home where I grew up. One day a man came, who asked the people I was living with to go with him to help him in looking after his cattle because his children were schooling. I went with him but the life there was very hard. Later a Nyaturu neighbour sent his kid to call me at his place. I went there and he also offered me a job of looking after his cattle, I accepted and life there was good and I was fed well.

The first person from whom I ran away came with other people to take me back by force.  They left me with one person, when they went to buy food. I cheated him as if I was playing the ball and escaped from them. I spent two days on the way to a certain teacher. They came and caught me and they tied my hands. The next day they took me back and handed me to Mang’ati people who took me back to the jungle. I had to look after their cattle. It was difficult for me to eat their food since I was not used to it (flesh meat, blood and tree roots). I stayed with them for four months. They wanted my ears be holed and front teeth removed. I pretended to be sick to avoid that. One day there was the market day and therefore they went to the market. I decided to run away from them. I spent three days on the way and the fourth day I came back to the teacher’s place. One person came and convinced me to go with him to Dar es Salaam to work. I accepted it.

We were going to Singida town where we took the bus to Dar es Salaam. We arrived at 6.00 pm evening. Because I was tired of the long journey I decided to take a rest on chair at the bus station. The sleep took me away when I woke up in the morning of the day which followed I could not find the person I came with.

I decided to go somewhere. I reached up to a place called Mwembechai. I saw a school with an open gate. I went in and one teacher, who noticed me, asked why I was not going into a class like other students. I asked her to show me the office of the head teacher.

I told the head teacher everything and he said the only help they would offer is to send me the police station, Usalama post. I stayed there for about a month. One policeman whose origin is also from Singida, assisted me to find a job of making chips with a  Chagga woman. One day I sent the food to people, who were building a house, they asked me if I was still going to school. I told them the whole story. They gave me direction to ITV (Independent Television) and told me that I could get help there. I went to ITV where I was directed to come to this centre, the Friends of Don Bosco. It was the 06.11.2005.

Jafri Mtinangi