Sunday Vision-Ronald Arinaitwe, a 14-year-old S1 student at Kennedy Secondary School in Kansanga, has been reunited with his family, thanks to a story published in Sunday Vision on September 9, 2012.
In an interview, Arinaitwe's father, Patrick Kaboyo, could not hide his excitement and appreciation as he recounted what he has gone through to be reunited with his first born. "Had it not been for Sunday Vision, I might never have seen my son again," said Kaboyo, who works with Handicap International an NGO based in Muyenga.
Kaboyo said some people, who had read the story and seen the photo, called him from Entebbe informing him they had seen Arinaitwe loitering in town.
He said the disappearance of his son almost threatened his marriage after his wife suspected that he had used him for child sacrifice.
"My wife thought I had a hand in his disappearance. And with all the stories about child sacrifice in the media, she thought I had sold him to a witchdoctor. I tried to explain to her, but she could not believe my story."
Arinaitwe left his younger brother in a small shop the family was running in Kansanga on August 17, and went to buy milk and eggs, but never returned.
"On the day he went missing, I left home early for work and left him and his young brother preparing to go to the shop," says Kaboyo.
According to Akandwanaho, the younger brother, Arinaitwe left the shop and told him he was going to buy eggs and milk at the depot.
"At around 6:00pm, I received a call from his younger brother informing me that my son had left the shop and had not returned. I dashed home and sat, in wait."
When it got to 10:00pm and his son had not returned, Kaboyo started making calls to relatives and friends, but nobody had seen Arinaitwe.
The next day, he reported the matter to the Police at Kabalagala, case number SD/80/17/8/2012, but was shocked at the reception he was accorded.
"At the station they told me not to worry because my son was a big person and would turn himself in. They told me to go home and give it four days."
When he went back to the station, he was given a letter that referred him to Kampala Central Police Station (CPS) for help. At CPS, he was sent to the Police headquarters and later referred to the Children's Protection Unit. "They kept on tossing me from one office to another."
The father never gave up although the process was painstakingly slow. The family also suffered as fraudsters capitalised on their misfortune.
He still remembers an incident in which somebody called from Kibaale, saying their son was in a critical condition and that he wanted money for fuel, so that they could transfer him to Mulago hospital. He almost transferred the money had it not been for his boss' intervention.
Sigh of relief
When the father received a call from the concerned Entebbe residents, he immediately sought permission from his boss, who not only facilitated it, but allowed him to travel to search for his son.
On that day, Entebbe Police Station had carried out a swoop and arrested several street children and among those arrested was Arinaitwe.
"When he reached the station, he opted to change the name to Kamoga, but because you published his photo people had clearly identified him," says Kaboyo.
When the father went to the Police, the officers told him they could not trace his son's whereabouts, because some of the street children had escaped that night, his son inclusive.
Unknown to him, his son had been taken to Kampiringisa, a home for the destitute. "When I went back to the street, I met some of the children who had escaped from the Police station and they told me my son had stayed at the station."
After three weeks of searching, Kaboyo decided to go to Kampiringisa and see which children had been brought in from Entebbe. To his relief, his son was among them.
Arinaitwe maintains he was afraid his father was going to punish him severely after he lost a phone. Arinaitwe has since gone back to school and is now a student of Kiboga Academy.
"Thank you Sunday Vision," Kaboyo concludes.
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