This first appeared on the Compassion International Blog on January 5, 2016.
“I remember the day my mother brought me to Addis. I was very excited to see my father. I played with him for a while, and my mother took me to my aunt’s house, where there were a lot of children to play with. I was happy. However, my excitement quickly diminished when my mother came to say goodbye. I was confused. I stood up to go back with her, but she told me that I would be staying with my aunt from then on. She cried so much when she said goodbye and left. For a long time, I always believed she would come back for me. But she never did.”
That was the day Sameson lost his mother.
Separated from his siblings and his parents, Sameson began life with his aunt and her family in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. However, the fact that the family was already struggling to survive meant that Sameson was considered just another mouth to feed, and he became an unwanted burden. The family didn’t hesitate to show him that he was unwelcomed in the house.
According to Sameson, the family had one untold rule: everybody worked for survival and there was no age limit. Hence, he was assigned a chore like the rest of the children in the house, even though he was the smallest of them all. At the age when he was supposed to be cared for and able to play with his mates his own age, Sameson went to the field with a lot of cattle and sheep to herd.
“Those times still torment me. I prefer not to remember them. I was almost five years old, and I spent the whole day tending to the cattle and the sheep alone. I didn’t know how to tend to them, and sometimes they would go astray to another field, and I used to cry a lot not knowing what to do to bring them back. Sometimes they would get stolen, and I would get punished for it. The rainy season was the worst time, since I had no shelter. Because I didn’t know my way back home too well, many days I grabbed the tail of a cattle and followed them home. I had no friends and no one to talk to while I spent my days in the field.”
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