The audience at Ekisakaate, an annual cultural training camp organized by Buganda Queen Sylvia Nagginda was thrown in shock after one of the students wished death upon her father.
Trainers, mentors, and counsellors at the camp had asked the children to write letters expressing what they were experiencing in their homes. They were instructed to freely share without including their names or revealing the identities of their parents.
However, the letters depicted the worst thoughts and feelings children have about their parents. Children wished for their parent’s death, complained about their alcoholism, and faulted their parents for always comparing them with others. In one of the letters read by a counselor Andrew Adrian Mukiibi, a student said she was tired of her father’s actions which included mistreating them and their mother. The girl said that her father treats them like animals and makes them question whether he is their biological father.
“You scold us, ridicule us, and make us feel that you are not our father. You have mistreated our mother for ages and it is our step sisters and brothers you treasure as children. I cannot feel sorry if you died today. I wish you died yesterday,” the letter read.
Another student said she has been living in the wild ever since her mother died three years ago. She added that her father is always busy and has no time for her. In another letter read by counsellor Saul Walugembe, a boy child blamed his father for always acting with too much anger over small things even without proof that the children have committed the wrongs he accuses them of.
“Daddy we love you but we are tired of being beaten for things we have not done. You beat my young brother and alleged that we destroyed a TV screen yet we had not touched it. It hurts that you do not trust us and you do not listen to us,” the boy said.
Another girl wondered why her father had never shown her her real mother and added that although she is not mistreated by the stepmother, she has a void triggered by the absence of her biological mother in her life.
“…I am not complaining about my stepmum because she is good to me. But I feel pained that you don’t bother showing me my true mother….I wait for the day you’ll be ready to show me, my mother,” the girl said.
Three students said they were tired of parents scolding them because of the loans they get to take care of them while another appreciated her father for marrying a stepmother who understands her better than her biological mother.
“Daddy I love you so much and I like the fact that you love us so much. I like the way you check on us in our bedroom even when you come back late in the night. I speak to students and they lack their father’s love which you give us in abundance. However, Daddy, stop taking too much alcohol which blacks you out,” another student said.
Students also complained about not being appreciated by their parents in their capacities but kept comparing them to others. Others said parents keep complaining about mistakes from past years even when they change.
“I participate in sports activities and I win medals but you don’t get excited as you did when my sister won a plastic plate. I feel my achievements are never recognized yet I need your encouragement,” one of the boys wrote.
A girl said she survived being raped by a teacher at school and hated the school until she completed her O-level exams last year. She said she was hurt that her parents could not observe her challenges and comfort her.
Students also said the parents are overprotective that even at 17 years they deny them a chance to socialize with their peers or make decisions on their own. They equally complained about the insufficient pocket money given to them by their parents yet they have a lot of needs they would like to solve.
“Daddy, why don’t you pay for the work I do in the company? You made me a director in the company but you don’t pay me a salary like others. Pay me at least 200,000 shillings every month and I will also be earning. Stop telling me you are preparing me for the future,” the boy said.
The counsellors urged parents not to be annoyed by the children’s letters but to just reflect on the issues and create a conducive environment for their children.