When Hatibu was a little thing he always used to climb the trees. At the age of 7 he broke his arm because he fell off one of them. Pride always goes before the fall. A disdained wisdom by all curious children. So just imagine a small Hatibu, reaching for the lowermost branch. Grabbing its brown bark. Lifting up his wispy body. And finally sitting there, wondering if he should take the risk and continue climbing up to the top or better be careful and return to the ground.

His mum is laughing while sharing this memory. It was an avocado tree. He was addicted to these fruits. “We are lucky he prefers dancing now.”, she grins.

And with that she touches a heart-wish of her son. He either wants to become the best national dancer or the president. “In my future I want to work for the government.”, he explains. High aims. All of them.

His way through school has already been a challenge itself. He moved from many schools to others because of school fees. They used to admonish him and at least, all this moving made him repeat one year.

“The problem we face at home is feeding him. If we were able to afford food for him regularly and he could go to school, I believe he can have good marks.”

And the expectations from both sides concerning his future are clear: “We want him to become a great man and a role model for other people. We want him to be responsible, maybe the president? And if this doesn’t work out, he should become a soldier and work for his country.”, his father says. “From my parents I expect to help me finishing my studies to be able to help them in future as well.”, adds Hatibu.

His parents, for many reasons, are his role models. Why? Because he admires their characters and way of taking life.

And they are sure: “Hatibu needs someone who is always with him for personal guidance and advice.” For he spends most of his free time at the Children’s Centre, they see this responsibility overtaken by Root Foundation.

“When Hatibu joined Root Foundation I knew it and I started worrying, because I didn’t know where my son is going every day. I was observing Root Foundation, because in that time Hatibu used to study the Quran and when going there his time of studying was shrinking. So I observed and wanted to know what they’re doing and when seeing that it was something great I was fine with it.”

Hatibu joined Root Foundation in 2013. He was in P6. Theophile, one of the children leaders, asked him to come there. Since then, Hati – the way he is called by the other children – is a consistent member of the Modern Dance Group.

“And whenever I am not at Root Foundation or at school, I join rehearsals of a modern dance group in the sector.”, he tells us.

His dad again rises to speak: “In general, he is a clever guy. For example, he is very good in his Quran studies and he won several competitions.

Also, we are proud for he is neither drinking alcohol nor smoking or taking any drugs. In our situation, it is easy to get lost on these paths.

Another thing I know about him is that he has a mind of one’s own. Sometimes you are telling him something but instead of doing it he gives you another option and acts as if his way of doing things is the better one. We don’t like this cheeky side of him. But when talking to him about respecting parents and not raising his voice against us, he regrets and agrees.”, they laugh.

“It makes me proud to have my family around me, caring for each other. I of course wish to be wealthier, I wish my dad had a job, I wish to be able to change more about the way we are living.

But I know, everything takes its time.”

So just imagine a grown Hatibu, reaching for the topmost branch. Grabbing its brown bark. Lifting up his wispy body. And finally sitting there, wondering if he should take the risk and try to touch the sky or better be careful and return to the ground.

Unreasonableness? Maybe. Courage? Probably. Perhaps, it’s both of them.

Imagine this Hatibu.

Straightening up.

Because one thing is for sure:

Those who want to touch the sky can’t stay at the ground.