A Day in the Life of Lutalo Keila

My name is Lutalo Keita and I am ten years old. I live with my mother, father, older sister and two younger brothers. We live in a one room mud hut with a straw roof in a village in northern Uganda.

I wake up to the sound of my mother stacking wood in the fire pit at dawn and go outside to help her to get breakfast started. My father has already left for the market with some produce and to look for odd jobs to earn some money for today. After we eat breakfast my younger brothers leave to go to school for the day. My older sister, Nasiche, and I no longer go to school; instead, we head out to get water for the day.

It is a long, hot walk through the wilderness to get the water, nearly three kilometres. The water is from a stream that looks more like a mud pit as there is algae growing and bugs swarming around it. We fill up our jerry cans with the murky water and head home. We find our mother working in the fields, she joins us and we have what is left from breakfast for lunch. Nasiche and I head back to collect more water while our mother cleans the house and prepares dinner for when our father arrives home. With another long three kilometre trip to collect the dark, sludge-like water, we trek the three kilometres back home.

It’s nearing evening when we get home and my father is just approaching from the other direction. My younger brothers are home from school and already changed out of their school uniforms, helping my mother to finish preparing dinner. We all sit together in our hut and eat dinner which consists of matoke (boiled & mashed green bananas) and some yam. My little brothers head off to bed with my mother, my sister cleans up, and my father and I collect sticks and brush to use as firewood for tomorrow. After it is dark I also join my brothers and silently say my prayers before drifting off to sleep.