By Nathan Eyagu
It's always of love and hopes for every child to grow up with the company of both parents no matter the life situation but to William Etolu aged 20, it's a different story as he is meant to travel daily from Serere district to Soroti city to beg money that he uses to support himself, save for school and also help his grandparents.
With a number of disabled persons mushrooming slowly in Soroti City, begging from the public, with a number of reasons behind their actions, without anyone to speak out for them, life keeps becoming unpredictable.
This website's reporter took time to investigate the life story of William Etolu, living with a disability and is frequently seen around Centenary Bank Soroti walkway, moving using his kneels to get shade as the hot sunshine continues to shine, the story of Etolu is worth telling.
After slowly following Etolu Upto his home village in Orupe village in Kateta parish, Serere district, we had an interaction with him and the people taking care of him while at home.
According to Joyce Apolot (Etolus' grandma) who is around the age of 70, after their daughter had a safe delivery, she wasn't able to reveal the identity of the father of Etolu saying that he fled took after realizing that the kid was disabled, immediately their grandchild made the age of two (2), she also left to another district where she got married from and got four children but later also left that area for unknown destination leaving behind Etolu under the care of his grandparents for a number of years now.
" He later got assisted by different people who offered wheelchairs and one politician who took him to his school, I was shocked after two years, Etolu said that he couldn't manage to be in boarding as the living conditions there were not favorable and was shy as other kids would laugh at him always", she narrated.
Etolu later joined the nearby government aided should from primary five till seven where he scored twenty-two aggregates and wasn't able to continue with school as his older parents could not do much for him.
Because of frustration and desire to have basic needs for himself, William decided to start moving out of the home to Soroti City to start begging with the help of his uncle who is a boda-boda around Soroti City.
Etolu comes to Soroti city every morning from 07:00 am till 02:00 pm when the sun gets hot and is taken back to the home village by his uncle who is a boda-boda rider where he has to pay transport dues worth UGX 20,000 a good day or UGX 10,000-12,000 in other fair days.
Daniel Osiodi, a Boda-boda man also the uncle to William explained that the life his nephew goes through as a disabled person isn't easy as many may imagine.
"When he needs to ease himself while we are already in town, he has to hold himself till the time we come back as there aren't suitable areas of convenience that he can use looking at his situation, even at home he is assisted by the young kids, at times he goes even two days without bathing when the young ones are not close by" he narrated.
He also added that his nephew pays him according to what he has collected.
" I call upon well-wishers and even government to help him in whatever way they can",
According to Etolu William, with the little money that he has managed to collect, he has been able to get himself a mattress, a goat, one chicken that later died due to fowl pox, and other needs too.
" I dream of becoming a doctor, my mum was assisted in the labor ward by the most iconic doctor in the Teso sub-region, Wilson Etolu whom I also look up to, I am begging to save money so that I can also go back for further studies, that way I won't be coming here again", he narrated with teary eyes.
He further explained that he is a total orphan who doesn't know where his parents are and is grateful to his parents who have been next to him for all those years.
"It's not my own wanting to beg, but because of the situation, I have no choice, the sunshine can tend to be so hot, and at times some drunk people can bully me looking at my condition, I can't do anything if they are any well-wisher outside that, I call upon your support, I am in a dire state, I can't even practice agriculture like others, I use my kneels for moving to nearby areas then a tricycle for distant areas in the village that also recently got me issues after I got involved in an accident",
What the leaders say
Ocanit John William representing persons living with disability in the parish that Etolu comes from explained that persons living with disability go through alot and are at times rendered useless.
"We have a number of disabled persons over here in this parish who need help and I call upon different government entities and well-wishers to come over and help", he added.
Meanwhile, Stephen Olebe the Soroti district councilor representing people with disabilities who once raised concern about Etolu William while at a function in the city said," I have been seeing Etolu begging In town, he begs in a period of time when others are in school and got shocked to learn that his parents denied him because of his condition, I call upon different stakeholders to come to his rescue as he dreams of becoming a doctor, let's join hands and see how to assist this young man get back to school",