Donté, USA

Donté was a jurymember from 2001 to 2003 and he is now an Honorary Adult Friend. Now he is an Honorary Adult Friend of the WCP.

These are excerpts from the story about Donté when he was a jury member:

When Donté was four, he lived with his mother in Dayton in Ohio, a state in the USA. He almost never saw his father. Suddenly one day, Donté’s mom disappeared.

’She’s gone away,’ was all his grandmother Mary said.
Now that his mother is gone, Donté goes to live with his grandmother. He loves her, and he’s happy living with her. She doesn’t just take care of Donté, but some other children as well. They live with her because their parents have died or disappeared, or are on drugs and can’t take care of their children themselves.
Donté’s grandmother Mary does everything for him. She spoils him, and sometimes Donté takes advantage of it.
’Can’t I have a new sweater?’ he says, and starts to cry. ’I miss my mom so!’
’Sure you can have a new sweater,’ grandmother tells him and takes him by the hand. They go to the shopping mall together.
Donté’s uncle Marlon and Marlon’s wife Pamela live next door to grandmother. Uncle Marlon is like an extra dad for Donté, who really misses his own dad.

Where’s mom?

Donté often thinks about his mother. He misses her so it hurts. Worst of all is when he gets postcards from her. ’Where is she, then?’ he asks his grandmother again and again.
’I told you. She had a hard time of it and she had to go away,’ grandmother answers. She starts talking about other things instead, about the weather or what they’ll have for supper.
But one day, Donté has had enough. He’s got to know. He confronts grandmother in the kitchen and says firmly:
’Please, grandma! You’ve got to tell me! Where’s mom?’
And at last she tells him:
’Your mother committed a crime and she’s in prison.’
Donté feels relieved even though he finds out that his mother was a cocaine addict and robbed a petrol station. At least he knows where she is! He wants to visit her in prison, and he and his grandmother go there. He gets to meet his mother for 45 minutes. They talk about one thing and another. In the visiting room, Donté takes note of everything in the room: the table, the chairs, the guard, the walls. He’ll remember every detail for the rest of his life.
"I’m going to do my job and become the second person in our family to go to college. I’m going to begin at the same school where my idol, Martin Luther King, went. He was a great speaker who fought for equal rights for black people. I want to save people and change the way they think, just like he did. That’s what drives me, what makes me work so hard!" Donté

Text ©: Gunilla Hamne
Photo ©: Paul Blomgren, Anders Jahrner and Ewa Stackelberg


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