Ghana - Shata, the street child the Salesians taught to laugh

15 September 2017

(ANS - Sunyani) - Shata is a street child who was abandoned at birth by his parents when they realized he was disabled. Shata does not speak English, but understands the local language and can make himself understood. He has a head deformity and leg problems, but he runs and jumps like any child. He was found and taken from the streets of Sunyani by Father "Uba", as the Salesian Ubaldino Andrade is called by hundreds of young people.

This year Fr Andrade started a new phase in the life of the Don Bosco Boys Home, the Salesian work of which he is Director, a home for the street children of Sunyani. "Every child," says Fr Andrade, "is like a book in which the cover is already attractive, and every chapter engages me more and more as I get to learn more about their lives and they tell me about their joys and sorrows, their plans, their hopes and their dreams."

Since they have known each other, Shata is much loved for his generosity. "More than once I've seen him share what he has with his mates, and when he returns from school, he changes his clothes and cleans everything he finds without anyone asking him to," the Salesian says.

"Shata," adds the religious, "has a treasure: it is a small broken mirror, no bigger than the palm of his hand and he cares for it as if it were the most precious thing in the world. To myself, I had proposed to make him laugh and I have succeeded, not without great effort."

A few weeks ago, Fr Andrade accompanied Shata to the town where he had been abandoned initially to locate the boy's mother and obtain some documents that would show his age. To the Salesian's surprise, "many people recognized him and were themselves surprised, perhaps because they considered him dead. Shata recognized them and greeted them."

But the real surprise was to find out that they did not call him Shata, but with many other names including, shamefully, "Ebola" from the time was dirty, sick and abandoned on the streets.

"Even without being professionals, and although sometimes we do not know what to do, to kids like Shata we are offering the best possible medicine for their lives: love," concludes Fr Andrade.


ANS - “Agenzia iNfo Salesiana” is a on-line almost daily publication, the communication agency of the Salesian Congregation enrolled in the Press Register of the Tibunal of Rome as n 153/2007.

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