Sierra Leone - Osman, the child who wanted to abandon the streets: "It is Don Bosco who changes lives"

08 February 2018

(ANS - Freetown) – Good news doesn't often come from Sierra Leone, a country wounded by war, disease and poverty. But what happened to Osman is good, interesting, almost a premonition of what Sierra Leone can become in the not too distant future.

Osman did not know how old he was, nor did he remember the last time he had learned something at school. He said he did not have a family and lived on the street, until they talked to him about the NGO and Salesian center "Don Bosco Fambul". They told him that in a few days a bus would arrive to take care of children like him, that it would stop at various points in the capital, in Freetown, and that he could play there and even get something to eat. But Osman was still not satisfied; he wanted a definitive change in his life.

For a long time he attended Don Bosco Fambul, especially at night. Standing at the door, he talked to the people at the entrance. It was his way of feeling safe. He always asked: "What do I have to do to become one of Fambul?"

The educators began to ask him why he insisted so much and he replied that those kids like him, some of whom he had met on the streets, were different now; they were happy and behaved well when they met him.

One day he approached a Salesian and, in the middle of the conversation, told him: "Look, I already understand: it is not Fambul that changes boys; it is Don Bosco, because he has already changed me too, and I am still outside."

Such was his insistence and his good disposition that, little by little, he was allowed to play, then to get some food; later, they allowed him to wash, gave him clean clothes and, at the end, he also attended lessons, even if he did not understand everything that was said in the classroom.

Without realizing it, he ended up becoming one of Fambul, distinguishing himself for the joy, the service and the commitment to put himself on par with his companions.

At the moment, his challenge is to find out more about his family, to track them down and help them. "If they have not lost the hope of seeing me again, we will be very happy, given the desire I have to find them," says Osman today.

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