By Steven Candia
Fred Okuyo, the 15-year-old boy who decided to ride a bicycle from Rhino Camp in West Nile to Kampala, a distance of over 580km, fleeing harsh life wants to become pilot in future.
And his dream seems to be crystalizing after Mike Mukula, the Soroti Municipality MP who is a retired flight captain himself, offered to return him to school and foot the entire bill.
Okuyo’s dream of becoming a pilot came to the fore during a meeting with Mukula in his office in the city centre. Touched by the story of the boy that ran in Saturday Vision Mukula pushed for a meeting with Okuyo and his uncle Bileni Drapari Jackson, a businessman.
In the meeting, the visibly excited Mukula, an old boy of St. Josephs College Ombaci, chatted with Okuyo and asked him about his ordeal of riding through unknown territory -- considering the teenage boy did not know where Kampala was when he set off to ride out of home in Arua -- as well as is aspirations.
“I want to be a pilot,” Okuyo who hails from a village near the Arua Airfield said to the excitement of the MP who then showed him pictures of him as a pilot off his iPad. The boy was excited.
Mukula said he was willing to pay the boy's school fees up to whatever level he may reach but threw the challenge back to Okuyo.
Okuyo lost steam in Luwero after riding a distance of 500km, and boarded a taxi that brought him to Kampala. PHOTO/Richard Sanya
Soroti Municipality MP Capt. Mike Mukula has come out to offer support the boy
When he arrived in Kampala, people were keen on listening to his adventure. PHOTOs/Richard Sanya
“All I want from you is commitment of studying,” he told the boy.
The legislator also offered to buy a brand new bicycle for Okuyo’s father, Levy Emazu so that Okuyo can retain the pink bicycle he used to accomplish his heroic feat.
“You will keep that bicycle as a souvenir,” he said as Okuyo chuckled.
In taking up Okuyo, Mukula proposed that he either stays with him or is placed in a boarding school as he stays with his uncle Drapari during the schoolbreak.
As such Mukula, who says he is educating another 148 such children, mainly from Teso sub-region, has pushed for a meeting with Okuyo’s father on Thursday.
“After that meeting I will officially take over,” he said, and hailed Saturday Vision for publishing and highlighting the boy’s story.
New Vision has taken up Okuyo’s issues as one of its Corporate Social Responsibilities (CRS) and will coordinate all the initiatives. All those willing to support Okuyo should send their contacts to firstname.lastname@example.org
“I will communicate with his father to see that he travels here for the meeting,” Drapari, Okuyo's uncle, pledged.
The boy, who claimed he was fed up of digging, rode from Rhino Camp, 64km east of Arua town, and had to come face to face with potential danger as he cycled through harsh territory, like Murchinson national Park.
Presently he is staying with his uncle in Mpererwe, Wakiso district.
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Arua bicycle boy wants to be a pilot