Moise Gakuba

Moise-Gakuba Profile Photo


Nickname: “The General”
Age: Unknown
Time spent at FidesCo: 3 years

A Quest for a Mother

Moise grew up with his father in the town of Gisenyi on the border with the Democratic Republic of the Congo. His father got re-married to a woman who treated Moise horribly, physically and mentally abusing him, and not accepting him as her own. Because of this, Moise left home in search of his real mother, not even knowing her name. All he knew was that the woman who gave birth to him lived in Kigali, the Rwandan capital.

En route to Kigali by foot, Moise was picked up by a pastor, who took him to his home.After one week at the pastor’s home, the pastor asked Moise for the name of his father. The pastor contacted Moise’s father. He gave him clothes and shoes, and then sent him home. Upon arriving, his stepmother continued to verbally abuse him, reprimanding him for escaping. Moise became angry that he didn’t know his real mother. He escaped again, this time making sure to avoid the pastor.

Moise lived on the streets for 7 months. He moved from place to place, all alone. Eventually, some older street kids took Moise in and accepted him as one of them. They told him where to sleep and how to “get by.” He was the smallest of the group, and on one particular expedition, they had him steal for them. He broke the glass of a house door, and stuck his body through the grates of the door. He arrived in the house, exhausted, and rather than stealing anything, he went to a table in the corner to sleep, using the keyboard of a computer as his pillow. He fell asleep to the sounds of his friends outside calling him a bastard, demanding that he come out.

In the morning, the owner of the house found him on his table, surprised. He determined that Moise was not a thief and took him to the police to find his family. But there, Moise wouldn’t speak. He told the owner that he wanted to find his mom. He stole a cell phone from the owner’s house and went back on the streets. The owner called Moise in order to retrieve the cell phone. He said that if Moise brought back the phone, he would try and help him find his mother. He paid for a taxi to bring him back. But, the taxi driver took him to the police. When he arrived at the police station, one of the police officers told the driver to take him home. The driver became terribly angry, and found the chief of the police station. The officer told him to leave the child with him, and he put Moise with the other prisoners.

The policeman gave Moise food and he ate it. The police brought a car to put people inside and took them to the Brigade District. He told Moise that he could continue living there. One of the police officers told him that they were trying to find his parents. There were two other kids there in the same situation. Apparently, they were all sleeping with policemen and advised Moise to leave. They took him to the other side of the market and left him there.

A woman selling eggs took him home. He told her that he had come all the way from Gisenyi, and that he wanted to find his mother. She did not listen, so he escaped andwent back onto the streets. In order to get food, he had to steal. Some nights he went to bed without a meal. He would sleep under bridges. Other kids used to call him “Kazung”, because he had lighter skin than the others.

One of the kids he met was sniffing glue, and Moise joined, but the police found them doing that together. He was taken back to the police station, and this time he was afraid for his life. He tried to escape, covering his face, but the police found him and took him to the transit center. There, it was a daily struggle to survive. Mites ate away at him. But, Moise was considered the chief of the other kids, which is how he got the nickname “The General.”

Moise spent nine months there. FidesCo came and wrote down the names of the children. They told them that they would spend one more week there. They promised they would take him, but they didn’t come. After one month, they did.

After two years at FidesCo, the staff took him back to his father and stepmother. They tortured him, beat him, and subjected him to child labor. They told the neighbors that he was a thief, and Moise was ashamed. On his own, Moise decided to go back to FidesCo.

He walked from Gisenyi to Kigali. He would eat and steal from the markets along the way. At night, he would have to cover his knees with his t-shirt to survive the cold. Everyone asked him where he was coming from, and he started lying, saying Kigali. Other kids took him there and he was brought back to Kigali.

Amazingly, one day the other street kids found Moise’s real mother and brought him to her.He was shocked at her response. She stood back, selfish, shocked, and said, “I have a new husband, not your father. You can’t stay here. Go back to FidesCo”.

Moise was taken yet again to his father in Gisenyi. This time, his father said that he didn’t have income to take him in. Moise went back to FidesCo.

When we ask Moise about his future, he tells us that he either wants to “become president or a priest.” As president, he would help poor people build houses. He would “listen to the people and the orphans.”

In Moise’s words…
“I really just want people to know me as a good person. I want to change myself, and then I might be able to go back to school.”

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