MEMEIORS OF A BASTARD IN SEARCH OF MY IDENTITY, KAVIRI ALI

Walking down the journey of my life, absolutely no road I took in the past seemed to lead me anywhere. I would speak to myself, communicate and freely share ideas, yet I was Uncertain of what lay ahead of or even around me due to the fact that my perspective was narrow. However, having been fortunate enough to get a hold of a golden opportunity to undergo a leadership mentoring camp conducted by FOWODE, has shown me where and how to find and set my goals. In fact, at the moment I may not have much to show off but I have attained what money cannot buy in this world and that’s the knowledge I have attained through forum for women in Democracy (FOWODE)’s mentoring camp for alternative and transformative leadership. I regard it as the best thing that has ever occurred to me in my entire life. Therefore I count myself very lucky because the training camp is one of the greatest experiences that a descendant of Abraham would shed tears if luck was not on his/ her side to associate with it.

 My dear Readers, much as I sound confident this wasn’t the case before I enrolled for this mentoring camp. I must admit that I was a victim of misplaced emotions and always agonized of what my future held for me. Even when I start to put my memories on paper, the agonies of growing up are still felt inside of me though I off loaded during the emotional intelligence session by Janat Kayondo who administered to us and advised us not always dwell so much on the past but rather use it as a stepping stone on to the future. she instructed everyone to reflect upon their  past to me I found so disturbing that I ended up shading tears due the fact that I had gone though a lot and I could not comprehend.

 As I wrote my essay together with the application letter to join the competition I thought I know something and convinced myself that with what I was made of I would obviously achieve. In fact I went ahead to share the good news about the training opportunity with my friends but instead rubbished my claims because according to how things are run in this country, it’s difficult to earn yourself an opportunity especially in the news papers as one has to belong to a wealthy family or being so close to those in charge. However I had to gather my strength as I put my essay and application forward.

Even before that I felt empty inside, neglected and I had generally lost hope in this world. As Marcus Mosiah Garvey put it, it’s through education that we become prepared for our duties and Responsibilities in life” but to me,  Education has always been a priority even when school fees proved so hard to find and so looking for a job also different story to tell. However, the training camp by FOWODE was a chance to taste the fruits of education for the first time after a lot of hard work.

 

Days went by weeks passed and I had no feedback, but I had to dance to the tunes of it all. However, it was one cool Thursday afternoon when I received a rare call that did not only shock me but also changed my entire life completely. I regard it rare because it read 039……….and by this time, my phone had a low battery. The moment I answered the call, the phone blacked out. I rushed to the nearby public payphone with my 200 shillings I had left with me that I used to call back. Little did I know that this was a landline number as I begged the lady who had called to kindly call me back but instead she insisted that I remind her of my telephone number because she had very many numbers with her. I hung up even before I could finish a conversation as my call was short lived due to insufficient credit on my account. I told myself this was an important number and I had to do something to find out where it came from. I borrowed a friend’s phone to which I loaded credit to call back. The lady told me how I was short listed for FOWODE interviews on Monday morning.

 

It was in mid June 2009 when I received this call because I had given up on waiting. In fact I had forgotten all about the FOWODE application I submitted in way back in February. Honestly I could not believe my ears as I rejoiced and wept tears of joy in disbelief. At this point in time I had won the first round of the revolution I told myself and I begun to live again.

 

My name is Kaviri Ali though it was not my real name which I gave myself thinking it was. I was born in Mbale but after my mother and Dad Separated; Mother took me and my siblings to Pallisa district.  I therefore grew up in Pallisa district, Buminza village, Kibuku Sub County at my maternal place of birth. She is called Litta Irene a daughter to the late Litta Gideon Wansamba. I was raised by my grandmother called Jessica Kubingi Litta who mentored and nurtured me. She was a loving woman who wanted the best for me and ensured that i went to school regardless of luck of school fees. In fact, its because of her strictness that shaped my character, her mentoring, nurturing, training and values too. To me she was like a mother since mother lived in the city and always showed up during Christmas seasons where she could surprise me with gifts, cloths and books.

 

Farming was the major economic activity at home where i helped out grandma in the garden, fetched water, fetched fire wood and grazed animals. Even before I could go to school, i had to visit the gardens first and i could be punished if not. I grew up in a Christian family though I was from a staunch Muslim back ground. Every Sunday I went to church which became a contentious issue in the neighborhood especially by the Muslim community. Since everyone at home was a Christian, i also ended up converted to Christianity. They said horrible things about the Moslem faith that scared me and this prompted me never to associate myself with it until later on when I became born again which saved me from the confusion.

 

I had my elementary education at kobolwa primary school which lay miles away from home and the only way to reach there was by on foot and upon reaching, strokes a waited me for having come late. Thanks to the N.R.M government that came up with the U.P.E policy that because I did not have to pay for school fees except a few things like books, pens, uniform, and other wise I would be not in position to tell my memories. At school, though every pupil was expected to be in full proper school uniform to me, I defied it instead due to the fact that I wore anything that I came across. I live to remember when my grandfather before he passed away in 2001, bought a school uniform and because he was oblivious of my size, it did not fit me. He gave money to Uncle Godfrey who also taught in the same school I went to, to buy me a school uniform. This was a time when National exams were approaching and every pupil was expected to be in a full proper school uniform. However, uncle bought a cheap pair of shorts which had a rubber string belt in the waist. My colleagues at school laughed at me to the extent that I almost stopped coming to school. I recall one chilly morning when I had gone for a short call in the school urinals but even before I could urinate, I realized that my shorts had fallen on the ground. The rubber string had loosen and broken but little did I know that it was made of a rubber string in the waist. It grew larger that I used grass to bind it together which attracted the attention of pupils and made fun out of me at school.

Putting on shoes to me was berely a myth and I must confess that I grew up in destitution that I was vulnerable to peer pressure. However am thankful to God that this did not happen and grandma had always told me never to associate myself with juvenile delinquents. I grew up with other children who belonged to that family. They were treated like princes and princesses due to the fact they belonged to the Basikwe clan unlike me who never knew what the name of my clan sounded like. It‘s against the above back that i did all kinds of work without complaining a mid lots of insults. In fact i was always threatened to be returned to my paternal grounds if i misbehaved. To me, I grew up knowing that i had no right over anything in that family because I was a bastard who should have been taken back where i belonged.

 

After successful completion of primary school, there was growing concern over my future education. There was no money actually for secondary education which prompted me to look for all means of continuing with my education I cherished so much amid hardships. Besides, I had always wanted to go in search of my father and this was an opportunity for me to explore. In addition, there are pertinent issues that made me to pond over what to do in order find my father. I was called all sorts of names, Bastards, curses, a disgrace to the family by the community which made living a hell on earth. Much as grandma loved me dearly, encouraged me to go to school, looked after me whenever I was sick, also never liked the fact that I was growing up in her husband’s home. Her fear or worry was that when I grow into a man, we would start demanding for dowry, land to build which discomforted her and always reminded me whenever I troubled her that she would be prompted to take me back to my paternal grounds because she was getting fade up.

 

Perhaps she would have taken me soon than I expected but she had no idea where that place was except a slight idea that the place was in Busesa, Igange district. In addition, grandma knew very well that my paternal family were very poor people and living conditions there were horrible and miserable and it’s for that reason therefore that mother had taken me to Pallisa because they were well off. As for mother had to complete her teaching course because all that had happen when she was still in school.

 

Frankly, I hated the fact that I belonged in Busesa but not in Pallisa and this lowered my self esteem and confidence especially the horrible things they said about Busesa the place I belonged to. Besides, I was afraid of what people would say when they spotted me being loaded on a vehicle to Busesa. There was a day when a close friend of mine asked me where my paternal family belonged. Boastfully i replied that come on, you meant where I come from? Are you making fun out of me? How come you didn’t know where I came from all this while? She said “I meant where your paternal grounds (ancestral) not your maternal” I felt as if insulted, small but it was the truth because I had always lied about my background and I was a frail of finding out the truth about my ancestral home.

 

One morning, I decided to go to Pallisa town, which also lay miles away from our village in search of my father’s brother called uncle Gasitwa who lived in Pallisa town. I knew there just because some one had directed me to his place, I managed to convince grandma to allow me go in that once I get there, I will take grandma there too. She protested for a short while but cooled and later on allowed me to go in search of my father. She did not give me transport allowance because she didn’t have the money that I had to bare foot to Pallisa from Buminza a journey estimated to be about 25miles. It took me almost a day to reach there and I arrived in the evening at around 6:00pm. I was welcomed by his wife who got excited upon seeing me. She did not believe it as she kept on wondering how I managed to get there. She even felt sorry when I told her how I had traveled on foot. uncle Gasitwa welcomed me too when he reign home from work. He was a successful business man who had a lot to show off, the money, nice house, a beautiful wife who happened to be barren. The house looked like those abandoned by the Asians in the 1970s during the economic war declared by president Adi Amin. It was a nice house all in all with every thing worth looking at. The fact that my father had taken long without paying them a visit, this had angered them judging from the look on their faces as they talked about him. Gasitwa had always supported me with books at school although he wasn’t interested in claiming responsibility over me. I thought to myself that since he had no child, he would perhaps take me as his own which did not happen. He did not give me school fees either except the transport fees that amounted to 5000 shillings only which is the very money I used to board a taxi that took Iganga direction. With a brief conversation I had with them, I learnt of my uncle called Adi who followed my father. He lived in Iganga district a place famously known as Nakavule just opposite the hospital. They had narrated the place which I convinced myself I would locate irrespective of what crossed my way. Instead of going back to Buminza, I decided to go to Iganga. I made it clear to the taxi operators that they drop me at the Iganga hospital.

 

No soon had I started looking and searching for the place than a man directed me straight to the place I was looking for. I could not believe it but there I was already gazing at their premises. When I think of this risk venture I put myself into, I break down due to the fact that I was very young and I had never been to Iganga before except through lessons in class. I always wonder what if I had been kidnapped, gotten lost and worst of it all was that I did not have enough money with me and also i did not tell grandma that I would go as far as Iganga district. But thanks be to God almighty that all the above didn’t happen. I instead managed to locate the place easily than I thought because I had listened attentively to uncle Gasitwas description of the place. They had a well stocked shop (retail) opposite the main hospital in Iganga and it’s against the above that I located the place very fast. Infact the name Adi was quite famous in the area. Actually Adi was the only name that I knew of. The woman in her 40’s attended to customers in the shop. As I approached, asked weather she knew Adi and just out of coincidence she happened to be his wife. This put a smile on to my face, she looked a bit old perhaps of being over worked, she welcomed me with open arms and embraced me as I disclosed who I was, she welcomed me in total disbelief. I explained how I managed to get there but could not believe her eyes and ears. Although she had always hard of me, she was in shock because I had grown into a reasonable human being. I had been to her place before going to Pallisa which made her recover her memory so fast, she swore that a child of my age would not move alone the way I did and she was in total disbelief. I looked shabby, with no shoes on my feet except sandals which shielded me from the thorns and other rough materials and my black polythene bag that had a few belonging like changing cloths. She told me to take a shower and offered me a meal. For the first I felt like a child as she kept on referring to me as her beloved son. She had five grown out children, some in secondary while others in primary schools respectively and they all went to good schools in Iganga town.

 

Uncle Adi soon came back home and too welcomed me. They lived a happy life that I wished I would be part of, their house was in a very organized environment with two Frisian cows that supplied them with milk for both selling and home consumption. Much as they were in a good and healthy position, they too were not willing to accommodate me on to their budget as I tried to disclose my motives to Iganga. The look on Adi’s face could judge it all though he seemed concerned to my situation. He wondered what could have happened to Mohammed his brother that he forgot about his fresh and blood. In fact basing on his torn of the voice, he sounded like they never connected with my father, they were all successful business men who only shared a father but the three of them had different mothers. It was against the above back ground that Adi made his point clear to me that he would not take responsibilities yet my father was arrive and kicking. Besides he had a large family to take care of, I spent a few nights there until he told me to start preparing my belongings so that he takes me to my grandmother in Busesa to pay her visit and later come back though little did I know that he was just trapping me. I was excited of course to meet this mysterious old woman I always dreamt of. I got my Kavera full of high expectations as I followed uncle Adi as many thoughts floated my mind while I hurriedly followed him to the taxi park. It was a chilly evening when we set on to a journey to Busesa. The weather was stable with blue clouds in the sky. In few hours, racing vegetation was soon seen from a distance that it took us only 30 minutes to reach our destination. We arrived at around 4.00pm where everybody welcomed us much as they did not have an idea who I was until uncle Adi revealed to them that I was Ali grandma’s first grandson, they danced, sung songs for me and wept tears of joy as excitedly looked on in disbelief. They regarded the whole scenario a miracle that was an act of God and thanked him of their answered prayers. They had given up on me as a result of long waiting and worst of it all was that they never had no money and dairy to pay mother’s family as compensation due to the fact that mother was impregnated while still at school. As we sat down on mat offered to us, uncle Adi narrated how I came and the motive behind my coming. However for uncle Adi time was not his best ally that he begged to leave in few minutes time. He re-affirmed to them how he had played his role and the rest was theirs. At first I could not believe my ears when he said that he was leaving that soon. I begun sensing the fact that he was just dumping me there and yet I had told him how I only wanted school fees for my secondary education then I would go back to Pallisa though he had turned a deaf ear to my suggestions. In fact my intensions were not to stay for long because I did not bid fare well to my grandma back in Pallisa. I asked him whether I was going back with him but declined to answer. I begun sensing the fact that he was just leaving me there for good.

I begun weeping there and then mean while I pleaded with him to have mercy upon me and take me back with him but I was just flocking a dead horse. I tried to chase over the taxi he boarded back to Iganga but nothing could change his mind, even the passengers in the taxi stretched their necks to have a glance at me and wondered what perhaps had gotten into me. The probably thought I was kidnapped because of the level at which I was screaming at. I had no money left with me; I would have boarded another taxi back there and then. Actually what made weep that much was the conditions under which grand mother lived in which awaited me too in just hours from that moment. A snake meandering road had led us to grandma’s home from the main road, she is called Aida Nantale who lived together her grand sons and daughters in a tiny grass thatched house in Busesa along Bugiri – Tororo high way. The house was not fully vanished due to its projected cracks and fragile walls which were at the verge of collapsing. A wooden door supported by a pole which was slightly a jar saw light floating the dark corners of the house. Cracked windows could easily be identified from a distance. Everyone here seemed to have had a weird history in life, the children had mucus stained faces, swollen stomachs and chicks who appeared to have never at one point in life had a bath. They had ragged cloths that rapped their bodies conditions to me that depicted absolute poverty which awaited me in just few hours. Their feet had swollen notches of jiggers, adverse wounds on their bodies who all wore happy faces upon seeing me and consoled me. Although I also lived in the village in Pallisa, I was far better than these children, I could not see how I fitted in this jig-saw puzzle even if they were blood relations, I felt so inadequate when they comforted me and pleaded with me to stay that every thing would be alright.

 

They looked so disappointed due to the fact they too were dumped there by their parents from the city which made me ponder over what to do thereafter. Tears welled up in my eyes as I figured out growing up in Busesa as miserable as these children. Actually I was not going let this happen but I had no way out as I allowed myself  to be bitten by the fangs of poverty. As  I sat down on a huge round type that lay in the compound that happened to be the only seat these people had in the entire home, I wept so much that my eyes became swollen and reddish, I imagined how God would be so unfair to me while I mediated upon the fate that lay ahead of me.

 

Even with people looking on who surrounded us in the neighborhood who possibly couldn’t stomach my behaviors, I felt this emptiness inside of me. At this point family to me was now pseudo and since my father had dismissed into a myth, each day in Busesa led me into discovering more about him. I attributed this bottomless pit inside of me to the fact that I did not also grow up with the woman who brought me into this world. you can just imagine painting a mental picture of both your parents as un clear as trying to focus on a distant figure through tear gas  especially on Kampala streets during riots. For mother at least, I had seen her occasionally during Christmas seasons but for father, I remembered his voice like so thing that happened in a dream. I had a vague impression of his voice and height. Those who had seen him narrated how tall he was to which I imagined perhaps that he was above my head. However all this rolled back in the memories of long time ago before their separation with mother.

 

Laughing to myself meanwhile I was on a huge round tire, I looked at the banana plantations as darkness approached. I figured out where I would be sleeping that night, besides, I was only shocked by the out side appearance but hadn’t gotten inside the house. I asked God why he created me like this, why me of all human race, where did I go wrong to deserve this kind of life.

Infract life was now becoming a bit miserable indeed. I felt so empty and alone as well as traumatized amidst these strange people who kept on yelling in their lusoga language which I did not understand very well, I had of sentiments like “omwami nsangaire okubona” by grandmother as she kept on preparing a meal for me. It was a period of hunger in the region as a result of a long dry spell that obviously food was scarce. They rushed to the nearby trading centre with the little money they had to buy food to prepare for me. They even went ahead to slaughter for me a huge cock to keep up with their tradition where every important visitor they received could be given a cock. To me, this was the only visible asset they had in the entire home but instead sacrificed it in the name of love for me to express their gratitude towards me. All in all, I was not even interested in eating anything at all. I instead request for a cup of tea to warm myself along.

 

In this home having a lamp was seen as a luxury due to UN avoidable circumstances as they kept on lighting tires they collected from Lorries that over turned in the region. The smoke from these burning tires had adverse effect on their breathing complications but could not realize it. Grandma offered her bed for me to rest on which was firmly placed into the ground that had no mattress either except rags, old sacks, and a mat made out of banana fibbers. They slept together with goats and poultry which made breathing a hurdle. This even attracted the attention of insects like bed bags, jiggers and “Buloro” which massaged our bodies the whole night; one could hardly sleep at ease in this house. I had such a sleepless night that I watched down breaking and the early birds waking me with sweet melody which to me was an indication of another tough day ahead of me.

 

I lay freighted in the so called bed not even wanting to wake up again from the night more I had gone though. maybe I was just impatient, one day I would become compatible to my new life, the next day no change until a week elapsed with no sign of change. I decided to do something about the whole situation. Firstly I had to bring back sanity into this home due to the fact that even the children rebelled against grandma who was aging, I constructed first the latrine for them which had never existed before unlike when they could offer visitors a hoe to go and dig deep into the ground to defecate. This even attracted the attention of other neighbors who wanted to hire me  to do the same for them but grandma refused me because I was not designed to do that, I went ahead to construct a separate shade for the animals as well as for the poultry. In fact this did not only save us from the Buloros but also improved their health conditions and for first time it look like a home. Even the neighbors commended me for the good work done.

 

I was intelligent and I deserved the right to education even when school fees were hard to come by, with the help of grandmother I secured a place at Busesa mixed primary school. Due to the fact that there was no money for my secondary education at Nkuutu memorial secondary school, I had to repeat from primary six because by this time p.7 pupils had even been registered for primary leaving examinations. It was a good government aided school which brought a smile to my face.  Nothing has been more exciting about my life other than going to school. At school I gained popularity that I was elected the prefect of academics. I also used to draw pictures on charts for teachers which earned me an extra income for books and other things. However, a challenge arose in p.7 where every pupil in the candidate class had to be in a boarding section. this time around, God answered my prayers when mother learnt of my stay in Busesa. she came all the way from Kampala to visit me at school often, in fact she covered all the expenses at school which improved my relationship with her. As time rolled on in holidays, I went to her place in Kampala. Her presence near me real lightened up my moods. The relationship grew stronger and we got along well. I loved mother so much despite the fact that I was insecure of her love for me because she had gotten another man in Kampala and they had already started having children together. In fact this made my heart to bleed over losing the hope of being a family of us together. with this effect, I count my self unlucky on this planet growing up as a bastard. Anyway, I ignored the fling over my head as I gathered the shattered pieces of my heart back in shape. Indeed I scrubbed every memory of us together which I used to envisage before their separation from this moment. I had no place to belong to but had to move on with life.

 

I sat P.L.E in November 2001. I excelled with good grades where I was among the lucky few pupils that made the school proud in the region. Despite this achievement, money still avoided me for secondary education; mother’s teaching job could not sustain my education together with her basics in life. I went to uncle Adi in Iganga town, this time around to beg him to take me to my real father because he knew where he was hiding in Kampala. After a long period of pleading with him, he finally accepted to take me to my real father.

 

To me, Kampala was like one of those dreams you would not want to end. my mind floated with a number of good thoughts. it had never occurred to me that I would one time reach Kampala. I absent mindedly glanced at racing vegetations as we crossed R. Nile which was so eye catching to me as I stretched my neck to have a close look. Perhaps the passengers could have noticed how excited I was.

 

We had set on to a journey to Kampala in the afternoon, the weather seemed unstable though with heavy clouds shielding the sun, the clouds which were dark gray soon gave way to a heavy down pour. it rained all the way from Jinja to Kampala. It took us almost three hours to reach Kampala. We disembarked from the bus and headed for old tax park where we boarded taxis that took Kyebando direction. It was in the evening hours that we reached our destination. However, before we could reach the premises, Auntie Millicent who attended in the shop welcomed us warmly. I tried to put on a smile but the fatigue weighing down my body betrayed me. I collapsed on to the so far in the sitting room.

 

The journey to Kampala had been a silent one since I was aware of uncle Adi’s tactics. In fact like a somnambulist I had made my way into father’s house, we exchanged greetings with Auntie Millicent. She was a beautiful young lady in her early 20’s, she rejoiced upon receiving the good news that I was her brother’s first born child she had always heard of. She complimented how I had grown into an attractive young man. She even swore whether I was Ali she had seen before we departed to Pallisa. If it wasn’t for big round eyes and thick eye blows that I inherited from my father, maybe she would not believe. In fact I had grown tall and this made me look a bit elegant. The chocolate brown complexion that emphasized my handsomeness to which with no doubts, she could tell that I was totally her brother’s son.

 

Aunt Millie immediately brought refreshments to quench our thirst. Though at first she looked suspicious, she could tell and perhaps thought that I was some one important to her brother.

 

In my teens, I was very curious about my identify. I had learnt to call my maternal relatives my own and this had made me wonder where all my father’s relatives where. To Aunt Millicent this was a miracle that God had answered which I felt honored. In fact she became my comforter whenever my step mother made life miserable for me. She was a good actress whenever  father was around which made me wonder whether she had been awarded an Oscar in acting, she was so loving when father was around that he swore how loving she was towards me as if I was her own not knowing that she considered me her enemy.

 

Adi requested that he would be on his way back to Iganga. This time around I did not mind him as Aunt Millicent kept on massaging me with love. For the first time I felt the warmth of being a child. Many thoughts again floated my mind as I sat in the sofa un winding how far I had come to reach my father’s residence. It had never occurred to me how short It was to reach Kampala but there I was. I did not know much about Kampala life but the house my father rented was beautiful to me. It was a two way bedroom Muzigo plus a shop in front which happened to be my father’s. I also boasted of the television screen that my father had under his roof. I felt absolutely happy in life at least.

 

However my happiness was short lived as father came back home from work. His excitement towards seeing me was more composed. Aunt Millicent had announced my arrival to him but he looked sad and weary to which I concluded that it was perhaps work related issues. I cannot describe my father’s reaction upon seeing me. It’s as if we had met before. To me it’s such a memory to with hold. I thought to myself that possibly he had been gripped over not claiming responsibilities. He later on tried to sooth me saying how things in the city were a bit complicated.

 

After walking along the streets of Kampala, he had managed to secure a job as a carpenter in Dragdos Company at Mulago hospital which fetched a monthly salary for him. With the little pay he gathered he managed to sustain his family. Certainly, his wages were obviously meager with a sickle child, a large family of about eight to take care of but had no way out. However the retail shop supplemented their incomes and feeding.

 

However, I could not hold back my tears when I narrated to him how in the world he could be so cruet about me. But how could he forget all about his fresh and blood.  He blamed mother for having insisted on running away with me. It was not his fault he said but rather mothers. In fact that he had preferred his maternal place in Busesa for me to grow from which would have been easy for him to monitor me. But mother did not listen to his advice as she decided to take me to her mother’s place in Pallisa.

 

To him, I now looked more like a stumbling block for his future wife whom he had not told all about his past history. In fact he was bitter with the person who had brought me to Kampala and blamed him for being irresponsible and narrow minded and that perhaps he had hidden intensions of harming his marriage. However, I had made my intensions clear to him; I was only interested in getting school fees then I would go back to the village. He promised me that he will look for the money on condition that I agreed to go and study in the village because conditions they were under going through couldn’t permit my study from the city and that he was financially unstable too.

 

Time went by, weeks passed, months rolled on but there was no chance of getting a single penny from him, I waited patiently as school time was nearing but all in vein. The shop too was dry and they sold nothing. The money he worked so hard earn catered for rent, medical bills due to a sickle child and other basics. Certainly there was no money and progress amid hassling.  

 

Frankly the journey through my secondary level of education has not been an early one. After primary leaving examination results had come back, surely I passed with flying colors though it was in a village setting. My only option now was mother since father had failed me.

 I had to go to mother’s place to see whether she had any plan for me. Howeve,r this time around my step father had lost his job leaving mother in charge of the basics of the family. I patiently waited upon her mean while she struggled to look for the money for me. She later managed to secure some money from her net salary. However by this time, 1st term had soon ended and my only target was to compose myself for 2nd term in senior one, I started school with high expectations in 2nd term at a school in Kamwokya Kampala which I have doubts that this school exists as per now, due to the fact that it gathered all the ghetto die herds but to me it proved however expensive. The money mother had given to me was also inadequate to accommodate the school demands. To make matters worse, my real father had the audacity to borrow some money from me to settle his personal problem. I studied for a few weeks until I was sent home for school fees which had not been completed. I had nowhere to get the money there after. The whole of 3rd term, I just sat at home doing nothing which automatically contributed to my deportation to the village because I was now regarded as idle and disorderly and dependant yet the cost of living in the city were exorbitant.

 

But before I could disappear to village, I managed to secure some money with me which I used to find a school upon reaching. I used this money to find a school because I knew what education meant to me. With the help of my grandmother, we deceived the academic register that I was promoted to s.2 but just because my father is Avery busy man and is ever shifting, its for that purpose therefore that am changing the school. However, I did not have the s.1 report card that verified I was promoted to s.2. The registrar asked for the school I was in before and I told him how I was from those sounding schools in the city. He protested for a while but later agreed to give me a vacancy on condition that I work around the clock to produce the report. I also promised to bring it later on because Kampala was very far and yet time for school had already started.

 

Honestly it was by the grace of God that the registrar listened to our humble request and offered me a vacancy. I started school with great enthusiasm that out competed the rest of the students which made the school authorities to forget about my s.1 report, I was in shock how that happened because in the first place I did not study fully in s.1 and there I was promoting myself to s.2. In s.2 second term, I did not go to school as the money I had come with from the city was no more. I had developed a burning passion for education and I did not imagine letting this passion to fade away just like that. In fact people I have contacted for help deceived me, others asked if my parents were dead while others looked at me and probably thought they would just waste their resources on me. Not even charity organization that sponsored those in need could listen to my outcry because they supported those who had lost their parents.

 

In the holiday, I had to come back to the city to solicit for support from relatives and this time around, I was relieved when my maternal uncles and Aunties promised to sponsor my education. They said they would join hands so that to raise funds for me to study. This brought joy into my life, However they did not live to honor their word.  my step father had to sell his nice looking kitengi material he had bought for making a shirt out of  for me to study which made me feel inadequate indeed inside of me. This made him my role model and whenever I reflect upon this scenario I break down. Who am I that he was so mindful of to that extent, he made so many sacrifices at the expense of his own children for me just to study, he believed that education was the best gift you could ever give someone. I regret for not being free with him just because mother hadn’t disclosed all what had transpired in her past history.

It took him years to realize the truth about me. Honestly this made me feel insecure at home which lowered my self esteem and confidence.

 

Mother too made so many sacrifices that I become someone in life at the expense of her life even with her meager incomes couldn’t hesitate her from helping me. Her loving, nurturing and mentoring towards me have been responsible in shaping my character. It’s against the above background that I regard her best mother in the whole world.

 

Any way to make the long story short, I end up studying two terms  in s.2 where I was promoted to s.3. In this class still it was the same story that I ended up studying for 1 and 1/2 terms. I had enrolled at Margaret secondary school after have pleading with the then secretary to except the little money I had with me because I had gone towards the end of 2nd term in s.3. I was supposed to pay the whole amount of school fees in full but however she allowed me to study. I went to school amid hardships until I was promoted to senior four (s.4). To me this was an achievement but in all I never thought I was worth being in this class. During the course of my study, I was sent away from home by my auntie whom I was staying with because she didn’t want to stay with people who never wanted to study. Honestly she told me how I was a man who should handle things on my way and move on with life.

By this time father had also shifted from the kyebando to the kamwokya ghettos where living conditions were beyond my description. I was now a man who should start life on my own. I had nowhere to run to except my maternal uncle called James litta who ever since I have lived with all this while. In fact he welcomed me with open arms, he has been there for me as if I was his own despite people refusing him to help me. However before that after walking down the streets of Kampala in search of a job to support myself with the help of a friend called Judith, I managed to get a job at Kabira country club in Bukoto as a casual laborer. My small world that consisted of a weird history was now whisked away and replaced by a new image of a man and now I was to use my both hands to earn a living. Actually Judith opened my eyes to a border area of life. I had to use my brain to survive at this point in time. However this job was temporal that they only called me when they were in need of my services. At Kabira I knew what I wanted and worked impressively that I earned myself a phone call the next day and if someone did not work well, those who had worked so hard would be called first. With the little pay I gathered, I managed to save for school fees as well as the basics of survival. My daily routine was monotonous.  Early rising at work by 7.00am, until the parties were done. We used to work on functions like weddings; cork tails conferences, birthdays among others.

 

Working with Bayindis was one of those nightmares you would want soon forgotten.  We could work without bending or stretching your back if you did, you would risk losing your job for good. We wiped utensils, cartulary, lifted tables welcoming guests and serving them and everybody had to wear a happy face even if insulted.

 

During off days especially when the hotel was not very busy, therefore I could look for kyeyo as far as munyonyo Speke resort and later landed at Hotel Africana limited. Here as the name suggests, they treated every employee with empathy. In fact at this hotel I managed to work diligently that almost every employee new my name. To my surprise even those who worked on the hotel building site also sung my name. How I wish had the qualification by then possibly I would have secured a job there. God created me with a happy face that whenever a plashed a smile the hotel guests could commend my customer care. However, even in the shadow of death God has been there for me.

 

After successful completion of s.4 I sat for one year until my uncle gave me a second chance to go back and completed secondary level of education because I had excelled with nice grades at s.4 which prompted him to ponder over what to do for me due to the fact that I was naturally clever. He went ahead to put me into a good school Kyambogo College school which honestly I felt the joy of education. At least life changed and I became pro active in school.  

 I am now an a Youth Activist and an active participant in the civil society movement in Uganda.
I am currently pursuing a Bachelors’ Degree of Community Based Rehabilitation (BCBR) at Kyambogo University. I have previously worked with the International Republican institute (IRI). Here I engaged in research, data analysis and documentation, maintaining and updating website, community outreaches, coordinating media activities and general office administration among others. I have been MR FOWODE since 2010 a position conferred upon a man by forum For Women in Democracy (FOWODE) a position conferred upon a man who understands and supports women’s causes in their quest to be the best that they can be. As Mr. FOWODE, I have actively engaged in activities that promote pro-poor values, gender equality and social justice. Among these are conducting school outreaches, University dialogues and debates, raising awareness about leadership issues, community mobilization, radio and television talk shows, attending and contributing to conferences on leadership and good governance as well as participating in peaceful demonstrations on advocacy days.
Furthermore, I have also worked with the Uganda NGO Forum as an Anti-corruption crusader especially on the “RETURN OUR MONEY CAMPAIGN” to demand for the twenty (20) million shillings that was deliberately given to every Member of Parliament by the government of Uganda without proper accountability and also with Uganda youth network (UYONET) as their external coordinator at Kyambogo University. Lastly, I am also a founder member of Konrad Adenour Stiftung’s Young leader’s think tank for policy alternatives. It’s a group of young, highly qualified individuals from civil society, politics, media, young leaders and representatives of youth organizations among others who meet to discuss pertinent policy issues from the perspective of the young generation and also communicate positions and alternatives to political decision-makers as well as to the general population.

Without a shadow of doubt, Life has been UN fair to me but I thank FOWODE for having accepted me as I am, picked me up, dusted my clothes and dressed the wounds in my heart. Through FOWODE, I have been exposed to Uganda’s diversity, heritage history, language and values. I was also introduced to social movements including women’s movement and grass root empowerment processes as well as a gender perspective of institution analysis which I has enabled me to deepen my understanding of alternative and transformative leadership. I am now knowledgeable in leadership values in the context of culture, sexuality, personal empowerment, governance and pan Africanism as they relate to gender. This has enabled me to develop a vision and commitment to gender equality issues social justice, and social transformation. I can now confidently debate openly issues of gender equality, social justice and social transformation and I can critically assess local and Global challenges and work independently in finding solutions to the problems arising from them but however who was I??????????   Above all, I thank FOWODE for making me the new face of FOWODE 2010 which catapulted my self esteem and confidence.

TO BE CONTINUED!!

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