I am not one of them

Dedication: Dedicated to my mother, Dinah. You are strong and you are loved!

Going through school was quite hard, I can’t say I suffered for sure because my mother tried to avail the best money could offer for my siblings and I. Being a single mom with three children to support, a family back in her home town and no stable source of income; it wasn’t easy. Still, she toiled every day and it’s her strength that made me realise I was destined for something bigger. Like the saying goes that a cow won’t give birth to a puppy, I was my mother’s daughter after all. At a subconscious level, many thought she’d fail and it was only a matter of time before she’d give up and return to her parents, but luckily, she did not feed into that narrative at all. These people’s attitudes also fed into how I perceived the world, I could not let them win, and it was not a luxury I could afford. At least not while I had the chance! I think I worked twice as hard because I understood our predicament well.

One of the biggest turning points was when I was bound to join S.1 in 2005. An uncle, who at the time worked in a prestigious office in one of Public Universities in Kampala promised to secure for me a place in a good school since my first choice, Mt. St. Mary’s Namagunga, could not take me. I had scored 8 aggregates; not good enough for a little girl who aspired to be a lawyer when she grew up. He also had daughters joining in the same class, the reason my mother was compelled to accept the offer. Unfortunately, while the others joined, I stayed home for close to a month with no further attempt to find me a placement. Frustrated, my mother travelled from Mbale (Eastern Uganda, boarding Kenya) to figure out what the problem was only to find me at home. I’d never seen such agony in her eyes. Feeling betrayed, she settled for the next best school that would take me. I ended up in a private school with a rather interesting academic record. It’s at that point that I resolved that my mother would not go through the same situation; that I’d work hard to make something of myself.

I guess the rest is history now. Despite the problems being faced now, at least I know am not one of them.

This inspiring story was shared through a collaboration between Say It Forward and Allied Youth Initiative–Uganda

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