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.
Kwenye jiji la Nairobi lenye pilikapilika nyingi, mbali na malezi ya nyumbani, paliishi kikundi cha wavulana wasiokuwa na makwao. Waliipokea kila siku ijayo kama ilivyo. Siku moja asubuhi, walikuwa wanakusanya virago vyao baada ya kulala kwenye baridi kando ya barabara. Ili kuondoa baridi, walikoka moto kwa kutumia takataka. Miongoni mwa kikundi hicho cha wavulana alikuwepo Magozwe. Alikuwa ni mdogo kuliko wote.
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.
Wakati wazazi wa Magozwe walipofariki, alikuwa na miaka mitano tu. Alienda kuishi na mjomba wake. Mjomba hakumjali Magozwe. Hakumpa chakula cha kutosha. Alimfanyisha kazi nyingi nzito.
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.
Magozwe alipolalamika au kuuliza, mjomba wake alimpiga. Magozwe alipouliza kama ataweza kwenda shule, mjomba wake alimpiga na kumwambia, “Wewe ni mjinga, hutaweza kujifunza chochote.” Baada ya miaka mitatu ya kunyanyaswa, Magozwe alitoroka kwa mjomba wake. Akaanza kuishi mtaani.
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.
Maisha ya mtaani yalikuwa magumu na wavulana wengi walipambana kila siku ili wapate chakula tu. Mara nyingine walikamatwa, mara nyingine walipigwa. Walipougua, kulikuwa hakuna mtu wa kuwasaidia. Kikundi kilitegemea hela ndogo ndogo walizopata kwa kuomba omba, na kwa kuuza plastiki na vitu kuukuu. Maisha yalikuwa magumu zaidi hasa kwa sababu ya vita dhidi ya vikundi pinzani vilivyotaka kudhibiti baadhi ya maeneo ya jiji.
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.
Siku moja Magozwe alipokuwa anachakura kwenye mapipa ya takataka, alikuta kitabu cha hadithi kilichokuwa kimechakaa. Aliondoa uchafu kwenye kitabu na kukiweka ndani ya mfuko wake. Kila siku baada ya hapo, alikitoa kitabu na kuangalia picha. Hakujua kusoma maandishi.
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.
Kulikuwa na baridi na Magozwe alikuwa amesimama barabarani akiomba omba. Mtu alimkaribia. “Hujambo? Naitwa Thomas. Nafanya kazi karibu na hapa, mahali unapoweza kupata kitu cha kula,” mtu yule alisema. Alionyesha nyumba ya njano yenye paa la buluu. “Natumaini utaenda pale kupata chakula kidogo?” Thomas aliuliza. Magozwe alimwangalia yule mtu, kisha akaiangalia ile nyumba. “Labda,” akasema, halafu akaondoka.
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.
Miezi iliyofuata, wavulana wale wa mtaani walizoea kumwona Thomas hapa na pale. Alipenda kuzungumza na watu, hasa walioishi mitaani. Thomas alisikiliza simulizi za maisha ya watu. Alikuwa makini na mwenye subira, na hakuwa na kiburi wala dharau. Baadhi ya wavulana walianza kwenda kwenye ile nyumba ya njano na buluu ili kupata chakula cha mchana.
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.
Magozwe alikuwa amekaa kando ya barabara akiangalia kitabu chake cha picha Thomas alipokaa pembeni mwake. “Hadithi hiyo inahusu nini?” Thomas akauliza. “Inahusu mvulana aliyekuja kuwa rubani,” Magozwe akajibu. “Jina lake ni nani?” Thomas akauliza. “Sijui, siwezi kusoma,” Magozwe akasema kwa sauti ya chini.
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.
Walipokutana, Magozwe alianza kumsimulia Thomas maisha yake. Alimwelezea kuhusu mjomba wake na sababu zilizomfanya atoroke. Thomas hakuongea sana, wala hakumwambia Magozwe nini cha kufanya, bali alisikiliza kwa makini kila mara. Wakati mwingine waliongea wakiwa wanakula kwenye ile nyumba yenye paa la buluu.
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.
Mnamo mwaka wa kumi wa kuzaliwa kwa Magozwe, Thomas alimzawadia kitabu kipya cha hadithi. Ilikuwa ni hadithi inayohusu mvulana wa kijijini aliyekuja kuwa mcheza mpira maarufu. Thomas alimsomea Magozwe hadithi hiyo mara nyingi, mpaka siku moja akasema, “Nafikiri wakati umewadia wa kwenda shule kujifunza kusoma. Unaonaje?” Thomas alieleza kwamba anajua sehemu ambayo watoto wanaweza kuishi na kwenda shule.
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.
Magozwe alifikiria kuhusu sehemu hii mpya, na kuhusu kwenda shule. Itakuwaje kama mjomba wake alikuwa sahihi kwamba alikuwa mjinga kiasi cha kutoweza kujifunza chochote? Itakuwaje kama watampiga sehemu hii mpya? Aliogopa. “Labda ni heri kuendelea kuishi mtaani,” aliwaza.
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.
Kwa hiyo Magozwe alihamia kwenye chumba katika nyumba yenye paa la kijani. Alikaa chumba kimoja na wavulana wengine wawili. Kwa ujumla kulikuwa na watoto kumi walioishi kwenye nyumba ile. Waliishi pamoja na Shangazi Cissy na mume wake, mbwa watatu, paka mmoja, na mbuzi aliyezeeka.
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.
Magozwe alianza shule na ilikuwa ngumu. Alikuwa na mengi ya kujifunza. Mara nyingine alitaka kukata tamaa. Lakini aliwaza kuhusu rubani na mcheza mpira kwenye vitabu vya hadithi. Kama wao, hakukata tamaa.
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.
Magozwe alikuwa amekaa uani kwenye nyumba yenye paa la kijani, akisoma kitabu cha hadithi cha shule. Thomas alikuja na kukaa kando yake. “Hadithi inahusu nini?” Thomas akauliza. “Inahusu mvulana aliyekuja kuwa mwalimu,” Magozwe akajibu. “Jina lake ni nani?” akauliza Thomas. “Jina lake ni Magozwe,” Magozwe akasema kwa tabasamu.