About three years ago a young girl found herself stuck at “M” after being pulled off the streets. Three years and a few months later, she found herself pregnant. No one is sure if she arrived this way or if it happened after she came, but as these things go, she wound up with a hungry new baby nine months later. She was fourteen at the time -still knee deep in her own childhood- and she escaped some twelve days later leaving Anna behind. Workers at the prison fed Anna milk, presumably from a cow, and somehow the child survived.
So that’s Anna’s legacy. She was born into a children’s prison and when I asked about her, the man in charge said “She’s a good kid. Never makes a fuss”. He grunted with tacit resolve and added “She’s her mother’s replacement”. I understood what he meant. Anna’s value, her identity, is measured by the government dollars she brings in. That used to be her mother’s job, now it’s hers.
Anna is a joyful little thing with a fun loving smile. She’s fast friends with Museveni, another favorite of mine. They play and laugh together all day, running around like they lived on the world’s greatest playground. It’s for kids like Anna and Museveni that we’re doing what we’re doing.
God bless sweet Anna and her mother, still only a child herself.