Uche says you have to grow something inside them. You have to grow something inside them so that when they think about doing “wrong” the thing will help them to think differently. This is what he told me when i asked him if he thinks we can change anything for these yutes who come to the ISL. I believe him. What we have done to the children is wrong. What we have done is so wrong. They came into a life that we made and they suffer as children into adulthood to then make more children and this cycle will never change. Children will always come, and make more children.
Two boys came to hang out at the ISL yesterday. Sunday evening. They came while i was playing a game of draughts with Uche. Uche called one them to come sing his songs for us. He started singing and he had some funny lyrics. You know how cute it is for kids to be singing showing their talent from early it gives a nice feeling about the possibility of talent, creativity and youths in Jamaica. But one of the songs was about having a girlfriend, the more I listened to him singing I had questions about his life, his world, what he sang about. Where did he live?how come he sounded so adult, or so grown. I asked him two questions based on what he was singing.
His response made me cry for the rest of the evening into this morning. I am not crying now but i know that what we have done to the children is wrong. They don’t have the thing inside and they are not children. We haven’t given them a chance. We haven’t thought about them. They came on earth but they haven’t come from our hearts. The “we” is not just their parents. The “we” is us all of us. The us that create their reality. The “us” that ignore them. What we have done to the children in Jamaica is wrong.
The boy sang about murdering any man who sexually violated his sister or mother. He would murder them with a Winchester. I asked him if he knew how to murder someone and what a Winchester was. He explained that the Winchester was a gun like a ” one pop”. Uche told me they could be made with old windshield wipers. He told me he knew how to murder someone and in explaining he showed me what he would do. He would walk up the person and seem friendly and say something like ” wah gwaan chargie, lend me u lighta mek mi light me spliff”. He would then would then go into his pocket pretending to take out a spliff and instead take out a knife quickly and just cut his throat with it. He also showed me another way to murder someone.
He sang a song about a girl or getting some girl. I asked him if he had a girlfriend. He said “mi have too much girl” mi get gal everyweh”. I asked him if they knew each other and he said no. he said sometimes he has a girlfriend but her friend likes him so he has to make her friend his girlfriend as well. I asked him why he wants to be with his girlfriend’s friend and he said, ” if them want me i can’t refuse them, you mad mi haffi deal wid all a dem, you don’t know what can happen when mi get big suppose one weh mi deh wid a gimme bun?” I dont remember what he mentioned but he started talking about one girl who he wanted to “deh wid”. his friend told him she is good to do things with because she “clean” she doesn’t do oral sex. I asked him what he meant by doing things and he told me have sex with them. The other boy who was there shouted to me that he can “have sex good”. i asked him how he knew. He said when he does it to the girls they cry. He said they cry because he is doing it good. He said one day a girl came to his house and he did it with her in the bathroom and she ran out of the shower crying. she just cried. he smiled as he was telling me.
Everyday i learn that this is not the problem of the poor. These boys are not problematic because they come from the inner city. This is something that all of us have created a condition in which humans decay. Adults and children hurting themselves and each other.
Would you cry? How does this make you feel? What are you thinking about? Do you agree with Uche? Can you see how we create the conditions in which humans decay? Do you understand why we need to grow the thing inside them?
Di Institute for Social Leadership( ISL) was started in December 2013. After one year we decided to ask Uche Onobe his thoughts on the space and to share with us what the space means to him.