An overwhelming story of how poverty, alcohol and other drugs, crime put young lives on the line, and about how to get back on the feet…

Today I want to share with you one of the stories I so often come across in my work to prevent and reduce the harm of alcohol and other drugs:

“Case Study of Matovu Abdul

Abdul is a 17 year old paternal male orphan who was involved in drugs and substance abuse after being trafficked from ttula to kazoo in kawempe by his uncle promising his grandmother and Abdul to enjoy good standards of living including paying him money for school fees.

When he reached kazoo, his uncle paid him money for school fees up to primary seven and refused to pay extra money for him to join secondary school. Abdul started engaging in doing domestic work like cooking food, washing clothes, cleaning compound, washing utensils. He said that he enjoyed doing the house work activities at home because he saw that it was the only way he could pay his uncle for paying him school fees from primary four where he had dropped out up to primary seven. When he reached the age of 17 years, his uncle took him to the market where he was working as a business man, off loading the goods from the truck and take them to the market for sell. Abdul said that however much the work was tiresome; he enjoyed working with his uncle because he could pay him 5000 Ugandan shillings a day.

When time goes on, his uncle started being rude, overworking him to the extent that he refused to pay him the 5000 shillings he used to pay before. The situation started being worse on his side, his chest started paining him because he used to carry heavy sacks of mattoke, bags of charcoal, bags of sweet and Irish potatoes.

In the poor condition he was working in, he got friends who used to buy him lunch and also give him some pocket money. Abdul always wondered why his friends worked without getting tired. One day he asked one of his friend of why they were stronger than him despite their younger age, and at first they refused to tell him and when they became closer to each other, they told him that they use drugs like marijuana, khat, kuber, petrol, thinner and alcohol like waragi to gain power and work without getting tired, another friend said that he is naturally powerful but he uses drugs to forget his problems and also fit in the group.

He imagined the entire problem he was going through, living without a father, being abandoned by his mother, then got inspired and started using drugs. He said “I will no longer live without drugs because, it relaxes my mind”. When his uncle noticed that Abdul was using drugs, he chased him out of home. He went and started staying with his friend in the room of 7 people near the place of work, his three friends used to do the same job he used to do with his uncle, the two used to pick pocket, other used to stay home doing nothing.

He joined the 2 friends who used to do pick pocketing the reason being, he never wanted to go back to the place of work and see his uncle again. What he will never forget in life is when the community burnt his friend being caught in stealing and this made him to leave the place in fear of being also caught in the same act.

He left the village and went to Mulago where he started staying with a friend whom he was studying with in primary school. This friend was a former beneficiary of UYDEL and when he heard the story of Abdul, he directed him to Masooli rehabilitation centre.

Abdul also said that he used to have sex with different girls and sometimes he could afford to buy condoms and when he is drunk, he didn’t know whether he used to have protected sex or not. He had never tested and what hurts him so much is when an old woman of 40 years forced to have sex with him in exchange for money, he said “I had to do it in order to survive”.”

                                                                                                                 Compiled by

                                                                                                         Nakasolya Edith

                                                                                                            Social worker