(ANS – Luanda) – At the end of the month of June dedicated to Africa’s children, we report the words of youngster from Angola, Dinho. With a difficult background his life changed when he arrived at the “Community Childrens Centre” (CCC) in the “Saint Joseph of Nazareth” parish on the outskirts of Luanda.
I’m called Dinho, but my real name is Adam. I am 14. I was born in the “Buena Fe” district on the outskirts of Luanda. As a child I didn’t know my father. Her had another woman and was in the war. My mother, Eva, had gone with another man who was my step-father. I suffered a lot at the time because they were always quarrelling and they punished. When the war finished, 10 years ago, I met my real father, Noè. I was 4 and I used to leave the house secretly to go and see him but every time that happened my mother used to beat me.
I went to school for a bit but them, fed up with the blows and the quarrels at home one day I left home for the “Primero de Mayo” street, in the centre of Luanda, and there I made friends with other boys. I slept out of doors under cardboard sheets in the rain and cold; I was dressed in dirty clothes and I began to sniff petrol and smoke marijuana. To be able to eat and clothe myself I joined a group of older boys who made me and others of my age beg for them and if we didn’t get enough we were punished. Often at night the police woke us up and made us clean the station and wash the cars and other vehicles. They beat us too.
In the end I got fed up of living on the street and I met Don Bosco through his Sons. A Salesian priest and some volunteers used to come every week, play with us and show us films about Jesus and the life of Don Bosco. They gave us advice and encouraged us to leave the streets and go to the day and night centre in the Lixeira district. Having had enough, I went with Paiziño, a friend of mine on the streets to the Don Bosco centre. They welcomed us with kindness and I began the literacy course and started to do sports and enjoyed the capoeira and walks on the beach. Now, Lucrecia, our cook, is also our mother; and our teachers are like brothers . They correct us but they don’t punish us.
I’ve also made it up with my mother. I’ve learned to pray and I like the songs that Fr Roberto teaches us, there are about 20 of us, companions. When we’ve spent some time here and behaved ourselves we will go to a family house, where we have to make a bigger effort. From there, our dream is to go to Kalakala, where we can learn a trade and make our living in the future. Several times I’ve been back to the streets for the drugs. Then I’ve been sorry and come back and they’ve welcomed me under some condition. Now I don’t want to turn back.
I’ve a good friend called Eliseo, and I get on very well with him. I like to pray and every day I ask Jesus and the Madonna to help me not to go back on the streets and on drugs, and I ask the same for my friends who I try to help. In the future I’d like to be a joiner. I thank Don Bosco and all my teachers for all the good they have done for me.