1. Acholi Boy



I asked a little boy why his face was so solemn
Crying he said he was tired of living and he was missing home
I had a second question but he rushed off when he had his name called “Opio”
The next day when he saw me at the local spot
He asked if he could perform for me, I agreed
Behind the curtain I watched him prepare to give me a show
He had charcoal and ash for Acholi face paint
He told me his poem was about a lizard that had forgotten its totem
As he sang of a tribe that had no anthem except love
Touched we quickly became friends and I asked him about his relatives
He said they were long gone and there was no reviving them
Hungry but his stomach looked swollen malnourished on the streets of Kampala
He was among the forgotten children
He had the face of hope but whose future had been stolen
His stories were sunrays of nostalgia and November winds of melancholy
The little lion had hunger for a bowl of soup
He wished for a warm bed
Dreaming of what the many fortunate consider mundane
I told him come here my dear, believe in heavens lil’ brother and let love steer
A stranger in his own country they called him the little boy from nowhere
Performing beyond his bed time in a place where tired workers were served local beer
Gifted with words I called him Ngugi, Okot P’bitek, young Chinua
Yet he was starring in his own novel of growing up abandoned and poor
In a world that was not pure, and even when I told him it was going to be alright
He wasn’t sure