The Boy Who Never Smiled: Jonnathan's Story

08/05/14

It was Christmas when 5-year-old Jonnathan and his two brothers disappeared. Their mother had taken them to her family home in another village for the holiday. But when the time came for the children to return to COTN's school, they were nowhere to be found. 

Jonnathan lived right down the road from COTN's school, so staff members went to his little hut to investigate. They found it empty.
 
 
Jonnathan and his brothers were in COTN's Village Partnership Program in Uganda, so the staff already knew their mother had been very ill for years—and that she probably didn't have long to live. They knew the boys had few relatives and fewer resources. 
 
On more than one occasion they had found Jonnathan's older brother, Aldo, sneaking through the trash at COTN's Children's Homes. He was looking for soap and scraps of food to feed his mother and brothers, too embarrassed to ask the staff for help. They would send him home with soap and beans for his family, but they couldn't do much else. 
 
It was through neighbors that our staff finally figured out what had happened: Jonnathan's mother had died over the Christmas holiday. Her family wasn't able to care for the boys, but they didn't have the money to send them home. Besides, even if the boys did return, they would have no one to care for them. 
 
When Jonnathan's mother died, he and his brothers had no one to care for them
Jonnathan's mother had been severely ill for his whole life. When she died, he and his brothers had no one to care for them. 
 
When COTN staff visited the boys at their mother's familial home, they knew something had to be done. Jonnathan and his brothers were working all day on their family's farm. They weren't attending school, and clearly weren't getting enough to eat. 
 
Thankfully, the staff was able to arrange for Jonnathan and his brothers to come live in COTN's full-care Children's Homes. When they arrived at the homes, the boys were deeply traumatized and grief-stricken. It took months of counseling and care for Jonnathan's little face to form a smile again; for his little brother Emmanuel to pick up toys and play like a child again. 
 
   It took months of counseling for Jonnathan and Emmy to smile againJonnathan smiles
It took months of counseling for Jonnathan (in collared shirt) and his little brother Emmanuel to overcome their grief and smile again. 
 
Today, Jonnathan has settled into his new home and family at the Children's Homes. The eight-year-old says he would like to be the president of Uganda when he grows up. 
 
Aldo, Jonnathan, and Emmanuel found a new home with their house mother Mama Sara
Aldo, Jonnathan, and Emmanuel found a new home with their house mother Mama Sarah and their COTN brothers and sisters. 
 
Thank you for sharing this story! Jonnathan is now fully sponsored. If you wanted to sponsor him, please sponsor one of his new "brothers" or "sisters" at our Uganda Children's Homes.