This is a story about a boy called Adroa*.
Adroa is an only child and was raised by his father. Adroa had a difficult relationship with his father growing up as every time he tried asking about his mother, his father was tough and would warn him seriously never to talk or ask about her. This made Adroa feel that he was denied his right of staying with his mother. Whenever he heard friends talk about their family life he felt very bad.
One time at school the pupils were asked in class to explain about their relationships with family members at home. This was the most difficult part in Adroa’s life and it caused more pain to him because his fellow classmates used it as a point of hurting him. Adroa hated school and also life at home as he couldn’t share it with his father because he believed he would not understand him.
Falling on hard times
When Adroa was 7, life became more challenging when his dad was involved in a terrible car accident in 2015: the bones in his legs were broken and he couldn’t walk anymore. They started living with his grandmother at her home because his father couldn’t afford to take care of them. They could only afford one meal a day which was posho (a semi-hard cornmeal porridge) with beans, or sometimes only porridge. Adroa grew thin, pale and no longer washed his clothes or bathed well due to lack of soap. He started behaving badly and had nothing to occupy him. Adroa said “it’s like suffering had become part of me”.
Adroa’s friends at home and school started isolating him – they never wanted to play with him anymore. Teachers became concerned with his dirtiness and also his un-healthy appearance. They would call his father to discuss his well-being but this was useless because nothing was to be changed since his family was stuck in poverty. Adroa said “I hated myself every second, minute, hour and each day that could go by”. At the age of 7 he was so young to face all those challenges and to be going through all those hardships.
Looking to the streets
Over time Adroa became connected to a group of children who introduced him to the life of street. He started dodging school in favour of going to town to look for scrap metal to sell and get some money to buy something to eat.
When he had a small misunderstanding with his grandmother he ran away from home and started staying on the street. While on the street, he joined a group of boys who were using drugs and also could use him to steal people’s things. Whenever Adroa stole he would feel bad but he felt this was the only way to survive and also fit in with the group for protection, since he was young and this group of boys were known for bullying others on the street.
A spiralling addiction
Adroa became addicted to drugs, especially marijuana and mafuta (aeroplane fuel). Adroa grew thinner as he rarely felt hungry when using drugs and he was taken to police cells several times as part of police roundups. Several people talked to him about going back home but he was not interested.
He became ill but no one was taking care of him. His friends chased him out of their group and he was totally abandoned with nowhere to go.
An approach from S.A.L.V.E.
As he was lying helplessly on the street some staff members from S.A.L.V.E. approached him. Adroa was scared to talk to them because several times they had approached him before but never wanted to talk to them. The S.A.L.V.E. team took him to hospital and he was medically attended to.
The team told Adroa about the drug rehabilitation program at S.A.L.V.E. and how he could be helped because according to the doctor’s assessments he had started losing his sight because of the drugs he was using, he was coughing blood, had difficulties in breathing and also his hands shook quite a lot. Adroa accepted and was taken to the drug rehab centre. So far he has spent 4 months there now and is seeing a great improvement.
Finding his family
While in the program, he has visited his father and found that his grandmother had died and his dad was the only one at home.
During the visit he spoke to his dad about his mother alongside the social worker. His father explained that when Adroa’s mother was pregnant she separated with him because of the culture differences and her parents didn’t agree with their marriage. But when Adroa was 8 months old, she abandoned him in the night at his father’s door before his father had even woken up. Ever since that time, Adroa’s dad never heard from her and also had no contact details of her and the relatives because she was from Kenya
Adroa’s dad had tears in his eyes when he said he felt so bad and ashamed because of his inability to take good care of Adroa as his only child.
Adroa asked for forgiveness from his father because he realised how hard it has been for him and he promised to do his best with S.A.L.V.E.’s support in the rehab to recover well.
As it takes patience to grow to be a good person, Adroa says he realises how hard it has been for his father this long and he was wrong to judge him.
Adroa is grateful to S.A.L.V.E. for its support towards his health, helping him to recover from addiction and also most importantly to reunite him with his father again: “My father is my hero”.
*names of children are changed in line with our child protection policy