I am currently living in Ghana, Africa. I meet a lot of sick children as well as poor people. But there was one particular person who really changed my perseption of life. His name was Rionate. Rionate was just 12 years of age when I met him. Before I met him, I never actually cared about the life outside the city. I never thought there were children living like him in poverty without anyone to care for. When he shared his life with me, I knew I had to do something for the world.
During my first visit to Ghana in 2005, I was with a group to study about other cultures. But what I actually saw was totally unbelievable. That very first day of the trip, we went to the Ghana hospital where we saw many children crying suffering from malaria, high fever and other chronic diseases. I couldnít bear seeing them, almost lifeless, babies who were so weak to even cry or move and even worse, they couldnít even hold their heads up. There was where I met Rionate. He was standing outside the hospital with tears welled up in his eyes.
I decided to ask him what was the matter. He told me that his sister recently died of turberculosis. I tried to calm him down and ask him where his parents were. I was told he had no parents and his sister was the only family he had. At that moment, my heart just melted. I soon became fast friends with him and he decided to show me where he worked. The next day, I was brought to a huge rubbish dump in a slum. You could see a lot of young boys there, raiding the slum, searching for ďgoodsĒ that could be sold.
Rionate showed me how he collected wires which were then burnt to make copper and that will be sold to someone who needs it. This explains why he had burns on his hands and face. I could tell they only earn around 2.00 dollars per day or less. He told me that this was how he struggled for his sister, Ramaija and himself. Rionate told me he liked playing football (his favourite football team is Chelsea). After work, he always looked forward to a bath. He described it as his most relaxing moments.
Now, I had to see where Rionate lived so after the job was done, we walked to his house. Did I metion the fact, he didnít have any footwear on? I instantly realised that his house was not nearby. It was extremely exhausting and the sun was scorching. Rionate has bruises under his feet, yet he continued walking like it never bothered him. The house was approximately 3 miles from the slum. I was constantly wondering, ď how can he stand it?Ē
When we reached his house, I was stunned by how small it was. It was basically a small room with no dividers, even for the toilet. Then I saw a bucket, which was the bath he always looked forward to after working hard everyday. I asked Rionate what was it that he wants most and his reply was education. Myself, a spoiled child born in a middle class family who usually complained about having to study and read all the time, and here I am taking to this boy who just wants knowledge, education and to learn like other kids. He said he wanted to become a teacher but he was aware that might never come true.
I decided at that very moment that I had to help Rionate and the many other children like him. I used my own salary to put Rionate in school and I organised several campaigns to evoke awareness in the society about these children who need help. I devoted my life to helping these kids and became a humanist ever since.