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Murulla's Story
July 2002
Age: 10 years

It looks like Murulla is having lots of fun scrambling across the rubble searching for bricks.

But it isn't really a game. Each unmarked brick he finds will earn him enough money to buy a piece of bread - but it can take all day to find a useable brick.

Why does he need to find food? Why isn't the 10-year-old boy at school?

"There was fighting in our village, and I ran away with my parents and brothers and sisters. The soldiers were shooting at people, burning houses. We left the village and walked till we reached a big town on the lake.

"Then my brother decided to come to Goma to find work, and to take me with him. He found work in Sake, (a town 30kms from Goma) and he told me to keep going into town."

Murulla walked around the streets, but did not know what to do.

"I didn't know where to sleep or how to get food. Then I met a night watchman and he said I could sleep on the floor where he stays near the gate of a business. If he has food, he shares it with me, but mostly I go out each day to find work to get food."

Like thousands of children in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Murulla got separated from his family during the war. But Murulla has been lucky. He was recently safely returned to his parents, who are trying to rebuild their lives after the war.

Although he has been reunited with his family, Murulla continues his search for bricks, to make money to buy food for himself and his family.