Sa mataong lungsod ng Nairobi, malayo sa mga tahanang mapagmahal, may mga batang walang matuluyan. Sila ang mga batang kalye. Lahat sila ay lalaki at tanggap nila kung ano man ang hatid ng araw sa kanilang buhay. Pagkagising sa umaga, nililigpit nila ang banig pagkatapos matulog sa malamig na bangketa. Sinisindihan nila ang basura para mabawasan ang ginaw. Kasama nila sa Magozwe, ang pinakabata.
In the busy city of Nairobi, far away from a caring life at home, lived a group of homeless boys. They welcomed each day just as it came.
On one morning, the boys were packing their mats after sleeping on cold pavements. To chase away the cold they lit a fire with rubbish.
Among the group of boys was Magozwe. He was the youngest.
Limang taon pa lang si Magozwe nang mamatay ang kanyang mga magulang. Tumira siya sa kanyang tiyo na walang pakialam sa kanya. Hindi niya pinapakain ng mabuti si Magozwe at binibigyan niya ito ng mahihirap na trabaho.
When Magozwe’s parents died, he was only five years old. He went to live with his uncle. This man did not care about the child. He did not give Magozwe enough food. He made the boy do a lot of hard work.
Bugbog ang inaabot ni Magozwe kung siya ay nagtatanong o nagrereklamo. Bugbog uli ang inabot niya nung banggitin niya ang tungkol sa pag-aaral, “Hindi ka matututo kasi tanga ka.” Lumayas si Magozwe pagkatapos ng tatlong taong paghihirap at siya ay sumama sa mga batang kalye.
If Magozwe complained or questioned, his uncle beat him. When Magozwe asked if he could go to school, his uncle beat him and said, “You’re too stupid to learn anything.”
After three years of this treatment Magozwe ran away from his uncle. He started living on the street.
Mahirap ang buhay at lahat sila nagkukumahog makahanap lang ng makakain. Minsan hinuhuli sila ng pulis, minsan naman ay nabubugbog. Walang nag-aalaga sa kanila pag sila’y nagkakasakit. Umaasa lang sila sa maliit na kita sa pagpapalimos at pangangalakal. Lalo silang naghihirap pag nanghahamon ng away ang ibang grupo ng batang kalye, makuha lang ang gustong teritoryo.
Street life was difficult and most of the boys struggled daily just to get food. Sometimes they were arrested, sometimes they were beaten. When they were sick, there was no one to help.
The group depended on the little money they got from begging, and from selling plastics and other recycling.
Life was even more difficult because of fights with rival groups who wanted control of parts of the city.
Isang araw, nakakita si Magozwe ng gula-gulanit na libro sa basura. Nilinis niya ang libro at nilagay iyon sa kanyang sako. Araw-araw, tinitingnan lang niya ang mga larawan sa libro sapagka’t hindi siya marunong magbasa.
One day while Magozwe was looking through the dustbins, he found an old tattered storybook. He cleaned the dirt from it and put it in his sack.
Every day after that he would take out the book and look at the pictures. He did not know how to read the words.
Kinuwento ng mga larawan ang buhay ng isang batang lalaki na naging piloto at pinangarap ni Magozwe maging piloto. Minsan, iniisip niya na siya ang bata sa libro.
The pictures told the story of a boy who grew up to be a pilot.
Magozwe would daydream of being a pilot. Sometimes, he imagined that he was the boy in the story.
Isang malamig na araw, nakatayo si Magozwe sa kalye namamalimos nang lumapit sa kanya ang isang mama. “Magandang umaga. Ako si Tomas. Malapit lang dito ang pinagtatrabahuhan ko at namimigay kami ng libreng pagkain.” Tinuro niya ang dilaw na bahay na may asul na bubong. “Sana makadaan ka doon.” Tiningnan lang ni Magozwe ang mama at ang bahay. “Titingnan ko,” sabi niya sabay talikod.
It was cold and Magozwe was standing on the road begging. A man walked up to him. “Hello, I’m Thomas. I work near here, at a place where you can get something to eat,” said the man.
He pointed to a yellow house with a blue roof. “I hope you will go there to get some food?” he asked.
Magozwe looked at the man, and then at the house. “Maybe,” he said, and walked away.
Unti-unting nasanay ang mga batang kalye kay Tomas. Mahilig makipagkuwentuhan si Tomas sa kanila. Gusto niyang marinig ang istorya ng kanilang buhay. Pasensiyoso, seryoso at magalang–ganun si Tomas. Nagsimulang pumunta ang ibang bata sa dilaw at asul na bahay tuwing oras ng tanghalian.
Over the months that followed, the homeless boys got used to seeing Thomas around. He liked to talk to people, especially people living on the streets.
Thomas listened to the stories of people’s lives. He was serious and patient, never rude or disrespectful. Some of the boys started going to the yellow and blue house to get food at midday.
Isang araw, nakaupo si Magozwe sa bangketa habang nakatingin sa kanyang libro. Tumabi si Tomas, “Ano ang kuwento ng libro?” tanong niya. “Tungkol sa isang bata na naging piloto,” sagot ni Magozwe. “Anong pangalan niya?” tanong ni Tomas. “Hindi ko alam, e. Hindi ako marunong magbasa,” sabi ni Magozwe.
Magozwe was sitting on the pavement looking at his picture book when Thomas sat down next to him.
“What is the story about?” asked Thomas.
“It’s about a boy who becomes a pilot,” replied Magozwe.
“What’s the boy’s name?” asked Thomas.
“I don’t know, I can’t read,” said Magozwe quietly.
Sinabi ni Magozwe ang kuwento ng kanyang buhay kay Tomas. Kinuwento niya ang tiyo at kung bakit siya naglayas. Tahimik lang na nakinig si Tomas sa lahat ng sinasabi ni Magozwe. Naging madalas ang kuwentuhan nila. Isang araw, nag-usap sila habang kumakain sa loob ng bahay na dilaw at asul.
When they met, Magozwe began to tell his own story to Thomas. It was the story of his uncle and why he ran away.
Thomas didn’t talk a lot, and he didn’t tell Magozwe what to do, but he always listened carefully.
Sometimes they would talk while they ate at the house with the blue roof.
Sa ika-sampung kaarawan ni Magozwe, binigyan siya ni Tomas ng bagong libro. Ito rin ay puno ng larawan at ang kuwento ay tungkol sa isang batang taga-nayon na naging tanyag na manlalaro ng soccer. Madalas pinapabasa ni Magozwe kay Tomas ang libro kaya sabi ni Tomas, “Panahon na para matuto kang magbasa. Kailangan mo na pumasok sa eskuwela. Ano sa palagay mo?” Dinagdag ni Tomas na may mga bahay na tumatanggap at nagpapa-aral sa mga batang kalye.
Around Magozwe’s tenth birthday, Thomas gave him a new storybook. It was a story about a village boy who grew up to be a famous soccer player.
Thomas read that story to Magozwe many times, until one day he said, “I think it’s time you went to school and learned to read. What do you think?” Thomas explained that he knew of a place where children could stay, and go to school.
Nag-isip si Magozwe nang matagal. Paano kung tama ang sabi ni tiyo? Paano kung totoo ngang bobo siya? Paano kung mabugbog siya uli? Natakot si Magozwe. “Mas ok na siguro ako dito sa kalye,” sabi niya sa sarili.
Magozwe thought about this new place, and about going to school. What if his uncle was right and he was too stupid to learn anything?
What if they beat him at this new place? He was afraid. “Maybe it is better to stay living on the street,” he thought.
Nabanggit niya kay Tomas ang kanyang mga takot. Tinulungan siya ni Tomas na magtiwala uli at umasa na magiging maayos ang lahat.
He shared his fears with Thomas. Over time the man reassured the boy that life could be better at the new place.
Isang araw, lumipat na nga si Magozwe sabay ng dalawang batang lalaki sa isang bahay na berde ang bubong. Sampu lahat ang mga batang alaga ni Tita Cissy at asawa nito. Meron din silang tatlong aso, isang pusa at isang matandang kambing.
And so Magozwe moved into a room in a house with a green roof. He shared the room with two other boys.
Altogether there were ten children living at that house. Along with Auntie Cissy and her husband, three dogs, a cat, and an old goat.
Nagsimulang mag-aral si Magozwe at sa una medyo nahirapan siya. Naisipan niya minsan na sumuko. Pero naaalala niya ang piloto at ang soccer player sa libro at nabubuhayan siya uli ng loob.
Magozwe started school and it was difficult. He had a lot to catch up. Sometimes he wanted to give up.
But he thought about the pilot and the soccer player in the storybooks. Like them, he did not give up.
Isang araw, nakaupo si Magozwe sa harap ng bahay nagbabasa ng libro. Dumating si Tomas, “Ano ang kuwento ng libro?” “Tungkol sa isang bata na naging titser,” sagot ni Magozwe.
“Ano’ng pangalan ng bata?” tanong ni Tomas. “Magozwe,” sagot ni Magozwe na may ngiti.
Magozwe was sitting in the yard at the house with the green roof, reading a storybook from school. Thomas came up and sat next to him.
“What is the story about?” asked Thomas.
“It’s about a boy who becomes a teacher,” replied Magozwe.
“What’s the boy’s name?” asked Thomas.
“His name is Magozwe,” said Magozwe with a smile.