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(Markus Wiencke)
Die folgende Biographie wird im englischen Original-Text präsentiert, denn dieser
gibt am besten die Einfachheit und Selbstverständlichkeit wieder, mit der auch
schwierige und gefährliche Lebenssituationen geschildert werden. Bei den Namen 
handelt es sich um Pseudonyme.
My name is Sengondo. I was born in 1978 in Bukoba, Kagera region, Tanzania.
My tribe is called "Haya”. In 1982 my father chased our mother
away, and then we remained lonely till our father found another woman
just as our step-mother. Our step-mother was very angry, and she beated
me and my brother who is called Mamud because both of us were very
junior. In 1983 our father didn't like to see our step-mother because she
had punished us, our father chased out the step-mother. I had three sisters
and three brothers, I was the last boy.
The picture of my home
In 1984 the village had low of food, so that citizens of Bukoba district went
far to fetch some food every day. But Sengondo and Mamud couldn't go
anywhere, only waiting to be given the meal. Therefore we didn't go anywhere,
but only at domestic environments with our grandmother. Our father
and sisters came after getting something for the meal of the whole
family, but sometimes the situation was very hard, sometimes they didn't
want me to be hungry. But sometimes, when the situation was so bad, I
used to be patient till they could bring me some food after two days and
more. But in 1985 the condition was so nice, and it was the harvest term.
All people over there were so glad to pick so many crops. In 1987 our father
decided to fetch our mother, he sent the letter to my mother, then soon
my mother came back home, and all of us we were so glad to see our
mother again. But soon suddenly our mother got sick, then our father was
planning to send her to the hospital, he was gathering some money in order
to pay at the medical centre, then at the end of the week she was dead.
Strangely, I didn't know what was going on, then I started to cry. In fact I
was very sad to see that my mother had died. Then after that disaster, my
sister left home with me to the village where she had got the husband.
My father was going to fetch some food far away
In 1988 they brought me back to start the primary school at the home village
school. Then I started in January, I met so many children, just know
that no school pupils were allowed to come to school without shoes and not
the same uniforms, but we could go to school without the same uniform.
All the people over there were very poor although there were some who
were very rich men. There were also educated people over there. When I
was in standard two my grandmother (the mother of my father) died. She
was my friend, especially on telling stories of the past. She loved all of us,
and she was taking care of our farm. Suddenly in 1990 my sister died in
town because she was working as a house-girl. She had been contaminated
with the HIV. Then after a few months another sister died by HIV and
AIDS, the one who was married in the village. Because of these disasters
our father was very sad, he didn't like to stay at home, but he was going to
drink the local beer called "rubisi”.
Father sent me to school
But soon our father got sick. My brothers were far away from our home,
but they sent some money to bring our father to the hospital. Our father was
there about four months, but he couldn't be healed, then he decided to go to
another hospital, but somehow he came back home then, and in 1992 he
died, too. All of my brothers came back after this disaster to get the heritage
of the farm of our father. Soon they left home, and they went back to
town because the big one, he was a driver, and the second one was an artist.
The driver was driving the long vehicle in Musoma town. And that one
who was an artist, he was living in Bukoba town. My brothers were not
considering about me, they didn't send me clothes, or tried to pay me the
school-fees. Therefore I moved from home to another grandmother who
was the mother of our mother. I was living there, and she sold some coffee
and paid me the school fees. Then she bought me some clothes, too.
Picking coffee in Bukoba
When I was in standard three, my brother Mamud, who remained at home,
got a sponsoring from the Church because he was clever. The pastor sent
him to start the secondary school. Our farm was so dirty of weed because
there was nobody to take care of that; and nobody to look after our house.
My brother went to stay there in the secondary school, which is a boarding
school. The encouragement from the Church came to our village to help
orphans. A mum called Sarah from Europe gave us some clothes, soaps,
exercise books and paid fees. In fact, all of the people over there, they were
so glad to get that aid for orphans because there were so many orphans in
Bukoba, Kagera Region, and I was one of them. So I was able to continue
until standard seven when the headmaster started to punish me because
1994 is the year in which I had no one to pay my school fees. At my school
when the pupils could not pay the school fees, then he or she could be punished.
Therefore our headmaster punished me because I didn't pay the
school fees.
The punishment from my teacher
Therefore I wasn't able to continue to study, but I decided to go far to a
beach. Of course, it was far from home because I used to walk from 9:00
am up to 6:45 p.m. I met some children who were living by stealing some
fish, and then they sold it to get some money. They were smoking and
drinking, they told me insultingly that I wasn't allowed to be with them.
And some of them after four days they loved me because they saw that I
was a talker because I told them some past stories which I had been told
from grandmother. After one week the fisherman took me and sent me to
his home tonight. He gave me some food, and then he told me to take care
and to be aware of thieves and to look after his farm. He told me that he
could pay me 300 shillings per month as salary.
There I was going to stay
I was living there about two months, then I saw that it was a hard work for
me to take care of the farm every day. So I left from there, and I went to a
beach with big wind every morning and evening. Then I met some people
from my home village who came to fetch some fish, they wondered to see
me. I promised to come back home, but I was lying to them because they
wanted to take me back to my home. But they told my brother that they had
seen me, and then my brother came to fetch me after one month later. He
found me very sick because of malaria, and I was living in one hospitable
family there. In that family they were very tired to continue with taking
care of me. Then they decided to throw me away, but they lied to me that
they would send me to the district manager. But they left me on the way,
and they said goodbye to me. Wonderful, I saw my brother coming, and
soon they left. I told them that, "This is my brother!” Soon they came back
to me to see why I called them again. And they saw someone whose face
was just like my face, and directly they knew that he was my brother. From
that time they took me back to their home, and they continued to give me
some food although I wasn't able to eat well. They gave me some milk,
some water and sometimes local medicines. The owner of the house commanded
his children to send me to hospital, and they sent me there. And the
doctor told them that I had the big malaria. Then he asked them to bring me
every day in order that the doctor could give me injections. After that
promise to the doctor every morning they brought me into the hospital, a
doctor pierced one injection per day till seven times. Then the condition in
me was becoming better. We (me and my brother) said thank you to all
who were helping us, and soon we said goodbye, then we left from the
beach far back home, we walked about one day (twelve hours from morning
to evening).
I went to play the music in some clubs on the beach
My grandmother was happy to see me again. She gave me local herbs from
the thorn-bush in the home valley. I was recovering slowly, slowly, then I
went to school again, in standard seven, and soon we did the national examination.
Then after finishing the national examination the headmaster
told our class to gather some money for arranging the graduation, but myself
I had no money to join. The teacher told all of us that "will not be allowed
anybody who does not contribute the money to enter the graduation
festival of finishing primary school.” From that day on I was very sad because
I had no money to contribute. When the day was there, I came to try
to enter, but the teacher on duty didn't allow me to enter. I was not happy
all days in the term of finishing the primary school. Sometimes I was considering
about my parents and my sisters, and sometimes they were visible
in my dreams, and when I woke up and didn't see anything I used to cry so
much without knowing where I could see them again. I asked my grandmother
for some money to buy clothes and she refused, she told me to find
out where I could get a job.
I was not allowed to enter the graduation of standard seven because I had no money
In fact the job was so hard to get, but I met some boys who were planning
to go to Mwanza, and they told me to join them, so that we could leave
together. But these youths were deceived by someone who was a driver
from Mwanza town. The driver was telling them that Mwanza is nice and
rich, so that it is better all to go to stay there, but it was untrue. Myself, I
thought at that time that Mwanza is a rich place. Therefore I just decided to
join the other boys who were planning to go there. I went to tell my grand86
mother about that case, and then my grandmother refused first, but after
two days she accepted to give me some money for paying the bus and boat.
I was very happy to receive the fare, and so I went to ask my friends who
were also planning to travel. But suddenly those homes were not very poor
and had their parents, and their parents didn't allow them to go.
My grandmother gave me the money for the journey
But myself I left from my home to the road to wait for the bus, but the bus
didn't come quickly. Then I found the terrible pick-up, its kind was the old
fashion which is called "Land-Rover 109”. It was carrying a lot of banana
and passengers, a driver and two conductors. I asked them, "Where are you
going?” They answered, "To Bukoba town.” I told them to take me in their
Land-Rover, and they asked me to pay the fare which was about 1500 shillings.
I paid, and just about four hours from home to Bukoba town I saw
the Bukoba town again because once I had went to visit my brother, who
was working in the middle of the market as a painter. In this trip I didn't
pass to my brother because I thought that maybe he would prohibit me to
go to Mwanza, and otherways he could command me to turn back home
instead of Mwanza. I went to take the boat-ticket at the evening. It was
about 4 100 shillings for one person in the third class. Before to enter the
boat a passenger had to pay 300 shillings for the tax, that was a law from
the management. Myself, I didn't have money to pay that tax, so I told one
worker to give me the chance where I could pass to enter the boat because
all the money was finished. The cargo house was open, and that man tried
to ask me some questions just to know me very well, but I deceived him
that I have kinsfolk in Mwanza. The man believed me, and he took me to
pass another way in the cargo house to the boat.
On my journey to Mwanza someone helped me
Then I saw that the ship was still empty, but only workers were on it, and
they were working on the deck. The man showed me the place to sit, and I
sat in a safe place, and soon I saw other passengers who came to sit, and
they came all after me because I was the first passenger to enter the boat.
On Tuesday I arrived in Mwanza, where I didn't know anything. It was so
hard to know where I could go, and soon I walked out of the boat and saw
so many roads, but I decided to follow one way, and I didn't meet anyone
who I knew. Then I went to another road, and I saw a man, he called me
and he asked my name, and where I was coming from. I told him everything
about my background, then he told one boy to send me to his house
because he had a big family, a wife with four children, and one daughter.
The wife of that man laughed when she saw me and asked her brother –
that one who brought me from the town to the place where the house was –
"Where are you coming from with that boy?”. Her brother answered, "That
is a street child, and maybe he can steal your things. I don't know why your
husband allowed him to come here.” The wife started to abuse me, and then
she sent me to the district ambassador, and then the ambassador assigned in
his list of citizens of his place. From that day on I knew myself as a newcomer
of Mwanza. There I was washing children, but I was not allowed to
sleep inside, just in the kitchen with their dog. After a few days the dog was
my friend because we were sleeping together in the kitchen. After one
month they allowed me to sleep inside, but without mattress because in the
kitchen they had also one girl who was an orphan, she became a friend of
mine and the dog, too. They forced her to do overworks, and they forced
me to fetch water by carrying big things of water, and sometimes it was so
hard for me to do overworks. One day I was talking with my friend, and
that woman came and hit me because I used to rest instead of working. I
had nobody to tell more about my life and needs except that girl who was a
slave and an orphan like me, and tonight we slept together without sheets.
Then I was sick of malaria, but the woman wanted that I worked, even
when I was sick I should work. They didn't give me medicine, but the man
bought some tablets after one week when I was very sick. But soon the
woman left with my friend the orphan girl to her home. They left me with
one daughter, two young boys, a dog, a cat and the owner of the house. In
fact, all days I thought that he was a very good man, but after a few days
when his wife was not there he was forcing me to work and to clean
everywhere without anything to be paid and never gave me some clothes,
never he wanted to see that I talked with friends or played. He forced me to
clean the excrements of the cat under the bed after two days, and in some
chambers I couldn't clean. He went to see every day and forced me to clean
even tonight. Then he found a strong stick to hit me.
Coming to Mwanza town
From that time I went myself away wherever in town to find out where I
could stay. And I was thinking about my home and my grandmother, and I
had to cry a lot. I was thinking about my parents, and I was in a big darkness,
and I didn't believe to have a future. I went near the ferry from time
to time, opposite Mwanza port, and I met many children and youths on the
street – nowhere to sleep, but they smoked everytime and abused each
other. I saw one woman. She was selling bananas from the boat, when she
saw me she asked, "Where are you coming from?” I told her that I was
coming from Bukoba. She took me to the guard, and she gave some money
to the guard, especially for me to buy some food tonight. And she told the
guard to give me the place on the bananas till the next day. Then the next
day that woman came to see me, and she sent me to the fisherman's house
where it was low and poor because she had some business there, to sell
bananas. She gave me the job of selling ripe bananas. There was one
woman who was the sister of her husband, she didn't like me to stay there.
The environment of there was dirty, and so many flies and moskitos were
there, therefore I got malaria. But my supervisor, that mother who was
employing me to sell ripe bananas, was very good, she bought medicine for
me and enough clothes, and she bought me a stock of different food. My
body and everything on me changed like the perfect child who has father
and mother. That was in 1995. One day that woman who was living with
me lied to my supervisor that, "Sengondo is drinking the local beer.” But
she was deceiving my supervisor. She became angry with me that I was
drinking the local beer. And she expelled me. I had nowhere to go, but she
gave me some money as a salary. Though the salary was not high, it was
just 5000 per month, and I used to work there about one month only. I
thought that the money could enable me to rent a room, but it was not
enough money to rent a room. I deserted from that place to another place
opposite Mwanza south port. I met a woman, and she asked me where I
came from, and I answered that I came from Bukoba. Then I told her that I
wanted to rent a room. She told me that, "Hey, you are still young, can you
rent a room? How much money do you have?” I answered, "Five thousand
shillings.” She told me that, "Five thousands shillings are not enough to
rent a room, but I can employ you to sell some milk in town, and I can pay
you the money.” I answered, "Yes, thank you.” It was a hard job to carry
ten bottles on my head, and I walked into town. And I told people to buy
them, one hundred shillings each, but, strangely, some people were buying
some and some remained and some bottles basted and perished, and the
woman didn't pay me any money. I left from there to another place and
found a woman who was asking children to be employed by her. She saw
me, and she asked me to work for her, and I approved, I sold nuts and ba91
nanas. She was drinking beer every day, and soon she told me that I was
not doing anything therefore she expelled me.
I slept on the place of bananas, and I saw many street children in the night
I went to the market to sleep there though the guard was terrifying me so
that I feared that place, but I slept there. One day I met other employed
boys. They told me about how to get employed like them, and I asked
them, "Where?” So they went with me to somebody who was employing
children to sell eggs, and he employed me and gave me some eggs to sell. I
went to sell, but sometimes I met angry boys, and they fought me, and all
eggs were perished when I came back to my employer. He also fought me,
and I had nothing to do, and he didn't give me the oppurtunity to talk together
with him. And he didn´t ask me well to know why I lost the eggs,
but he was fighting me. Then I left there, and I went to sleep outside opposite
the kiosk of a rich man tonight. I wanted to sleep inside, but inside
there were many small sharp-pointed things that nobody slept in, so that I
slept outside. Tonight I saw cats which were singing their good song, but
their song was just a noise to me therefore I threw some stones to stop
them. But they didn't stop to shout, I woke up and followed them angrily,
and I saw all of them running away. Strangefully, I heard a voice from the
kiosk, "Why can't you sleep tonight? I tell you now to go away far from
here!” I left, and I was afraid because of the voice. I went to slep outside
the market building, but I didn't sleep till morning. Then I went into the
market, and I saw that somebody called me. And he showed me the way to
a bar. I arrived there, and I asked for a job, but one woman sent me to her
room, and she got some money to make a capital, and she showed me her
daughter and told me that I had to take care of everything – cooking, cleaning
and fetching water. I did whatever she wanted, but she didn't have
enough food, for me was only tea in the morning with some rice. I was not
able to stay without eating, therefore I left, and I became a street boy.
I was employed by the angry boy, and he didn't pay me
One day in the market somebody told me about my brother, and he gave
me a letter. When I read the letter, I knew that my brother needed me. I
decided to go to his house though I didn't know it. I asked some people,
and they showed me the right road which I followed. In the afternoon I saw
many houses, and I was very tired and asked some people to give me a
place to sleep, but they all refused. And I asked them, "Please, do you
know Said?” They answered "No.” I went to ask at the chairman's home,
and I got there and asked him. He answered, "No.”, too. I was thinking that
maybe the chairman could give me a place to sleep, but he didn't, and he
chased me out. I saw a rich building and heard some people talking in my
language Kihaya so that I understood that they could help me. And they
gave me a place to sleep, but suddenly the owner of the house told me to
get off! I wondered to see my tribe people chase me out. I slept outside
until morning, and then I started my journey again. I had my letter which I
got sent from my brother, therefore I was using a map to the place where
my brother was working. Many people were working there, and they had to
be paid and my brother, too, because they were making some buildings for
a school. My brother saw me, and I was dirty, and he asked me, "Why are
you dirty?” I told him about all of the situation I was in. He went with me
to his room, and he had a wife. In the beginning his wife was talking with
me well, but soon after a few weeks she changed and was a liar to my
brother. She lied that I stole some sauce from the pot, and it was not true.
Then my brother believed his wife, and he beated me as a punishment for
stealing some sauce. I didn't enjoy that situation, but because he was my
brother I was patient. Then he found some money, and he opened a kiosk to
sell some things. His wife was coming to sell in the afternoon, and I was
going to make the home-care, and sometimes she pretended that she was
sick although she was not sick. She had to do some necessary works like
washing clothes and cooking, and I was doing whatever they told me to do
although some jobs were overwork, but I did it. Although I was working
hard, my brother didn't stop to beat me, sometimes without any special
reason, and he beated me often. When his wife went to the kiosk, she was
taking some money, and she bought things which were not necessary, often
she was doing so, and the capital was finished. My brother didn't buy me
any kind of clothes, I remained with my clothes which I had only, and I had
no clothes to change, every day they were the same. One day I went to find
the local works on the street, I was collecting sand, especially for builders
and constructors. They were paying us some money for that work. I came
back home in the evening at seven p.m. I saw my brother's wife sick, and
she didn't tell me anything, I asked her, "How are you?” She didn't answer,
and she was very angry. When my brother came, she lied that she had told
me to do some work and that I had refused. I wondered about these words,
and my brother told me to get out into the night, and he shouted to me insultingly.
My brother received me, and soon he expelled me
Then I went to sleep in unfinished houses every day. I had my friend called
Philipo. This Philipo, he was taking me to his home, and he told his mother
to arrange enough food for all of us, and I was a beloved friend there.
Sometimes we went to collect weed on their farm. I was helping with some
jobs there, but I was not allowed to sleep there, and every night I was going
to sleep in the unfinished houses. But I got friends, and I talked with them
about their homes. I got some money from the local works (in Tanzania we
call them "vibarua”), and I bought some exercise books, and I started to
make some stories about the hard life of children.
Collecting sand for sale
And then I made some books about, "Aids avoid and beware!” Then I
made some drawings on stories, people were interested in seeing my drawings,
adult people, too.
One man, who was working in a bank, he knew that I was drawing, and he
was very interested, and he told his son to call me. When I came, he asked
me about the meaning of the pictures, and he asked about my background.
Then he told me to go to the news office of a radio programme. I went
there, and they saw my drawings and some stories, and they were very
interested in my stories about life on the street and in my background. They
promised to help me, but they told me that their supervisor was travelling
far away and that he couldn't come soon. Therefore they couldn't take me
into their programme without asking their boss. They told me to ask in a
project for street children. I went there, and I saw some black and white
people, they asked me, and I showed them all of my drawings, and one of
them called me and asked about my biography and I told her. Then she
became sad when she knew about my background, she told me to come
again after a few months. I used to come often, and one day in 1997 they
told me to go to another centre. In the centre I saw many children, boys and
girls, and bigger ones came and tried to beat me, but they abused me only
and didn't fight me.
After some months a worker of the centre told me to go to another project.
I went there, and I saw somebody called Nuru, and I saw some girls, and
soon Maria came, and she knew me quickly because she knew all the faces
of street children and because she had already been told by Mr. John that I
would come that day. She said to me, "Hey Sengondo, habari gani?” And I
answered, "Habari nzuri tu!” (It means: "How are you?” And: "Fine.”) She
asked me to draw one picture and I made one, she laughed and she was
happy. Then she told me to join Nuru and to make some cards with other
street children. Nuru was not very happy to hear that I should teach like
him. He told me that I was not as good in drawing as him, but he deceived
me just that I would not come again. I didn't believe him. After one week
Nuru sold my cards and gave me 300 TS. Although that was very few
money, I was very happy to sell my cards because that amount is just for
one card. So I sold just one card. But I was very happy to sell my card.
Then after one week later I sold cards for 14 000 TS, and Nuru brought that
money to me, it was the first time to receive much money like that.
Teaching street children
I was very happy to receive that money, then I went to find my friend
Philipo, who was helping me, and we went to buy some sodas. Then I went
to buy new clothes. My brother saw me on the street, and he knew that I
had new clothes, and he was not happy. Then I went to his room, and I
bought some fish, and I gave him 500 TS, and he was happy. He told me to
bring him some money every day for food. But after a few days my money
was finished, and he didn't allow me to eat at his room when I had no
money for the meal contribution. I went to the office, and I made many
cards, and I got the money for renting a room. When my brother saw that I
was growing up myself, he was not happy. One day in the office somebody
came, I didn't know him, but his picture was in the office, and I remembered
that Nuru had told me once about that boy called Majaliwa. He was
integrated, but his home, his parents were poor, therefore he was not able to
stay there. So he came back to Mwanza. He was in the project before me. I
saw him, and he didn't know me. He wondered that I was good in drawing,
so he asked Nuru about me, and Nuru told him all about me. After some
time I asked him for his name, and he told me everything. I invited him to
my room because he was sleeping on the street. Therefore he was happy to
sleep inside. Though my room was very small and short and Majaliwa was
a tall boy, he was happy to sleep in my room. I had no mattress and no
sheets. I had a small pot and a big one, but I had no kitchen. I found three
stones, and I made my kitchen by using these stones, and I was cooking
with firewood and dry leaves. We were cooking ugali, and our friends
came to join us from their homes, I was a friend of everyone.
Culture group with street children
One day our life was hard, we had no meal, and Majaliwa decided to go
back to the streets in town. He went, but policemen caught him. But he had
been allowed to leave soon, and he came back to me. After that day he
didn't go again into town to sleep.

(vgl. Markus Wiencke: Strassenkinder in Tansania, Weissensee Verlag, Berlin 2009)

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