Celebrating the Love of Friends in a Loving World

Celebrating the Love of Friends in a Loving World
Red Roses for You, My Sweet Friends ... Total Love.

My Sweet Friends

My sweet friends,

We grow closer to each other;

When we interact together and share ideas;

The common faith that we share,

Binds our hearts in one accord.

For sweet friendships last a life time,

When built on mutual respect, humility and understanding;

Throughout each different season,

We find we are one in life.

Sweet friends are there through times of grief;

And times when hope is gone;

Always there with encouragement;

So we can carry on.

I thank the Lord for you,

My true and faithful friends;

To fondly speak with you, whether we agree or not,

On this, our beloved blog;

For sweet friends will stay, no matter what;

Giving support.

Together, our hearts and minds truly unite;

With the amazing love of sweet friends.

In the spirit of true friendship,

Best wishes, my sweet friends;

May the Lord bless you abundantly.

I remain, yours truly,

B.B. Bakampa.

Search This Blog

Popular Posts

Total Pageviews

Follow by Email

Translate

Google+ Badge

Google+ Followers

Thursday, July 23, 2009

I DARE TO SAY: A COLLECTION OF INSPIRING STORIES

In November last year, I participated in the 2008 Makerere University Literature Association writing competition and by the grace of God I emerged 5th out of the best ten participants. My entry for the competition was my cherished poem My Dear Africa which seeks to promote African Unity.
My award was a nice Certificate of Merit and a book entitled I DARE TO SAY which is a collection of five testimonies by Ugandan women living positively with HIV/AIDS. Edited by Dr. Susan N. Kiguli and Violet Barungi, the book, despite the binders’ poor workmanship is a wonderful piece of prose. During the vacation, I embarked on reading this book and briefly, these are the stories:-

Nakato’s story The Second Twin is the first one in the book. Written by award-winning author, Glaydah Namukasa, Nakato’s story is a tale of a woman’s long search for love which she only finds at 28 years, moreover at TASO! Right from her long painful birth, Nakato is detested by everyone from her own mother to her classmates and teachers. She readily accepts all the men who approach her hoping to find love only to be disappointed later. Even when she is heavily pregnant with their babies, they chase her away, run away from her or simply disown the pregnancy. With nothing to do, she always went back home where she is an object of derision. Not even Babirye, her twin sister, wanted to see her. The worst she gets from her several men is perhaps not the rejection and scorn with which they treat her but the HIV/AIDS she contracts from them. When she discovered that she has it, it is amazing how she positively reacts to her status. She first got scared and many questions rove in her mind. She later finds true love at TASO and confesses her happiness and zeal to fight the disease till the end as she contemplates taking her two children, a boy and a girl, for a blood test too.

Key to a New Life is Noel Juliet’s narrative of her experience with the killer disease and was written by Betty Kituyi. Juliet is a young girl blossoming with beauty who is swept off her feet by an equally handsome young man, Chris, hailing from a well-to-do lawyer’s family which the former feels privileged to join. At a tender age of 18 in her A level, she conceives by him a baby and when at college, another one. Meanwhile, Chris cheats on her with another woman with whom he begets an infected baby girl, Maria. Juliet later discovers that she is also infected when her husband, Chris, is hospitalized in hospital. After he is discharged, they decide to wed after realizing that Chris’ life is at stake. A somber mood reigns supreme during the marriage ceremony because everyone knows that theirs will be a short-lived marriage, which indeed is as Chris dies only three months thereafter. Juliet is devastated when HIV/AIDS begins eating her up as well and leads a recluse lifestyle which threatens to kill her sooner than AIDS would. She is only saved by an involuntary journey to Mildmay Centre courtesy of her brother which journey gives her a key to a new life. She is taught how to live positively by liking herself and swallowing medicine regularly which tricks she teaches her step-daughter Maria.

The third story, Dance with a Wolf, is the story of Sophie Angu Achan and is written by Lillian Tindyebwa. The name Angu Achan means “lioness” and “problems” respectively. Achan is a product of a Muhima lady and a prominent Lira politician of the late 1960s and early 1970s. Her mother committed suicide whereas her father was murdered by Amin’s soldiers. After being orphaned at an early age, she lives a miserable life amongst her large family comprising six stepmothers. Being the ‘lioness’ she is, she maneuvers through life until she meets a handsome young man at Uganda College of Commerce, Aduku. Life with Peter is first a bed of roses but after making some money, he turns out to be a monster- indeed a real wolf- whose lust for women leads to contraception of the HIV/AIDS virus in the family. His love for alcohol ruins everybody. At this time, her name Achan (meaning problems) receives its full manifestation. But trust the ‘lioness’, resilience is her middle name; every time she falls, she quickly gets up on her feet and moves on. She reaches the zenith of it all when she finds Peter sodomising their son. Achan calls it quits and moves on with her children and now her ministry is teaching her fellow women how to live positively with HIV/AIDS.

In Looking for Home, Beverley Nambozo documents Dorcas Ndagire’s sad story of how she was raped by her landlady’s son who infected her with HIV/AIDS. A victim of the 1981-1986 Luwero bush war, Ndagire is a person who attains scanty education at intervals. While in her first year studying catering at the Jimmy Sekasi Catering School, the landlady connives with her son, Vice, and plots Ndagire’s rape. She is told that there is some work to be done at Vice’s house which necessitated her expertise. She is promised payment thereafter and she gladly accepts the offer. They drive to Vice’s home where the landlady leaves the two alone promising to return later. The house and furniture in it fascinates Ndagire. Darkness strikes without anything done and she spends the night. Unknown to Ndagire, Vice, like his name suggests, is a very vicious man. During the night, he rapes her and early morning gives her 3000/- for transport back home. Ndagire moves on with life and later finds herself a lover in her church with whom they plan to marry. When a blood test is carried out, she tests positive and the proposed marriage aborts. She faces discrimination from the church and soon discovers that it is not her home and begins looking for one. She is disappointed by some men but finally, like Nakato, she finds one at TASO’s Mama Club.

Lastly Rose Rwakasisi writes, In God’s Palm, the shocking story of Kyosha whose entire family, save for her mother, succumbs to HIV/AIDS. Kyosha’s mother was married to a very stupid man who signed a death warrant for her and her children by surrendering them to fate after he married a second wife. Kyosha’s stepmother got fed up of living with them and told her husband to chase them away for good, which he does. They endure great suffering to make a living and the girls mature into big girls most of whom get married to promiscuous men and subsequently contract AIDS and die. Kyosha meets her former classmate, Rukundo, and she gets pregnant but the latter denies responsibility. While staying with her aunt in Kampala working as a housemaid, she is constantly raped by the male servants until she can’t take it anymore. She therefore returns to her mother in the village to toil together. When all her sisters perish, she remembers that she too had had sexual intercourse with some of their husbands and rightly suspects that she has AIDS. She has a blood test which confirms this. Kyosha lands in God’s palm when she receives comfort and acceptance in the Charismatic Church. She is now married to Lozio Kenti who is also infected. They jointly fight AIDS together through drama. Kyosha says that she speaks out in order to save other people and as Angelina Wapakhabulo notes, this is the reason why the other women also speak out. According to Kyosha, ever since she went public about her status, no man has ever showed interest in her and this, she says, saves the would-be victims.

I found these stories highly captivating. They arouse all sorts of emotions in the ardent reader such as fear, anger, adoration, sympathy, wonder, pity and empathy. Nevertheless one cannot miss the humour in them in spite of the apparent suffering of these women. What is remarkable is their exceedingly astounding brevity and resilience in this world of stigmatization. I think their testimonies have achieved their purpose which according to Violet Barungi is increasing awareness about HIV/AIDS, leading to behavioral change among men and women, fighting stigma and encouraging other infected women (including men) to come out in the public so that they can access medication, accept their status and start living positively hence improving on their health and lifestyles. In summary, one would rightly say that they are highly inspirational.