March Newsletter - by our Roving Reporter
This month’s newsletter has been written by Zeu who is reading for an MA in Communication and Media Studies after graduating from Livingstone International University two years ago. Zeu joined Chris on his trip to Kyemula and has acted as our reporter gathering stories from people in the village. But first, her own story - ‘Uganda is beautiful with mountains, springs and waterfalls but there are factors which limit personal development. I have grown up in a society where futures die for many reasons – most widely my friends were hampered by lack of financial support for education. Girls become young mothers and boys take casual labouring work to survive. You cannot ask for scholastic materials, or even sanitary pads, if people in your home are starving.
And some families pressure girls to marry – and if the girl refuses they may stop taking care of her. My father, on the other hand, was an inspiration to my studying and never acted like other parents in the village, he pushed me to go further. I wondered how I would get to university without there being sufficient food at home. Even though my father has land, supposedly fertile, all through the years there has been this problem, then that, affecting the harvest. If it’s not hail storms it may be floods or pests - and still there is no food. In some seasons my father hardly ate to keep my older sisters in school. And then there was me – at first I didn’t even have the money to get the application forms but with my scholarship and sponsors I was happy at university - but my family were sleeping hungry most days – and yet my father would bring in other people from round the village so he could share what little there was with those with nothing. Then Chris and Karen found out about my worries and started to help. Now one of my sisters has finished high school and the other has completed O levels, my younger brother and daughter are also sponsored to go to school.
I know the sponsorship is complicated because our lives are complicated but we students will use our opportunities well. I hope my Master’s degree will enable me to become a lecturer so I can provide for myself and my family at the same time as I can share the knowledge I have gained with others. The students who benefit from this project will inspire others. When you educate a nation you save the future of that nation.’
George Wekesa 79 years old is one of the old people in Kyemula who has been living in the village. He had three children. His first daughter is now 47. Her husband was beating her every day and she decided to come back home with 8 children. His son has also left with him a boy called Isaac Wepukhulu who should be starting school but he does not have school fees. He has raised Isaac from 2 years to now 5 years. He says that he cannot afford school fees from farming. He cannot stop farming at his age because they will not have anything to eat. His other biggest challenge is also to get medication – at their age he and his wife are often sick.
Innocent Nyote , 13 years old also from Busiu, is now in primary 6. Among the boys, he expects to perform well in school so he can achieve his dream of becoming a lawyer to fight for justice in his community. Like many Ugandan children’s story, Innocent stays with his mother and his three siblings whom their mother provides for as a single mother. His mother works so hard at her job in a local restaurant as a cook, she is paid some money so that she can pay his fees. After a domestic fight, their mother carried them away with her and since then they are without their father. Never the less, that has not stopped his ambitions and he studies hard to achieve his dreams. Innocent loves playing football at his leisure time. The challenges with the family was affecting his performance, but his mother advised him to study hard so that he can help her when he grows. The biggest fear is that he worries if the mother will keep working in that restaurant or even have enough money to pay for his law course at university.
Next month there will be an update on work in progress from Chris and more village stories from Zeu