There are people in my life that I have to appreciate for making me who I am today — and there is no one more so than my Children of Uganda (COU) sponsor family. They have been so instrumental in my life — teaching me how to achieve in this world and inspiring me in everything I do. They became my new family after I had lost everyone. It really is a miracle to have reached this far.
I was born in 1992 in a village called Buhanama — the last of 11 children. My father was a government soldier in the 1970′s and officially had two wives — second of whom was my mother. I loved both of my parents, but I was mainly close to my mom. She was a local church leader and I remember seeing women from the community converging in our compound for religious gatherings.
My father had suffered an injury during his time as a soldier and he was often ill. I was told that once he fell so sick that my mother was forced to sell some of our land to pay the medical bills. In December, 2001 both of my parents were very ill and it was up to me to look after them because all of my older siblings lived away from home. I was too young to know what to do. My mother passed away during the Christmas holiday, but I didn’t understand what death really meant.
At my mother’s burial, I held back tears when I was invited to place a wreath on her coffin. I knew that she was really gone as I saw crowds gather at our home and when I watched her coffin being lowered into the grave. I couldn’t help but cry. In that same week, my father (who had been too ill to attend mother’s funeral), also passed away.
While keeping vigil at my father’s funeral, my favorite brother named Boaz jokingly said that he would be next to die and we all laughed it off. I was stunned and devastated when Boaz passed away from kidney failure that following week. I do not remember much about his burial because few people attended — they had grown tired of funerals at our home.
After all the burials, I was left completely alone. I spent much of my time crying at my parent’s graves with the hope of seeing them again. I suffered without any food for days and then wandered into the village looking for a helping hand. Some kind villagers invited me to eat and spend the night with them because I was scared to be alone at the house.
After about 6 months of such a life, my eldest brother returned to our village with his wife and 3 children. I stayed with them for a few months, but then my brother began to struggle with a heart problem. As a result, he could no longer work. This is when my aunt intervened and brought me and my brother’s son into the care of Sister Rose Muyinza. I lived with Sister Rose for a year, but did not attend school because there was no money. The following year, in 2004, I and some other children were transferred into the hands of Children of Uganda.
This was the turning point in my life. Children of Uganda paid for all of my school fees and hospital bills whenever I got sick. At this time, I also got to know my sponsor family through letters and photos. They gave me the emotional support that I really needed.
I completed my lower level studies at Mother Kevin Primary School and was the highest scoring student in our year. I then finished my Ordinary and Advanced Level studies at St. Cyprian High School. At school, I have been a good student and that’s why I was elected President of the Literature Fraternity — a club uniting students of English Literature in different schools.
All my thanks and appreciation goes to my sponsors, Sue and Tommy Arnim. They have inspired me to work hard and they have given me a reason to live. I am now preparing to go to college where I hope to study Journalism, Economics or Business. Looking back, I realize that I had died emotionally during the catastrophe that befell my family and I was raised to life by Children of Uganda. Transformed from misery to happiness, I now have so much that I want to accomplish in my life.
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