orn on 3rd April,1994 to Mrs. Kobusingye Giradina and Donanto Buryahika, Kamugisha’s life is both tearful and joyful, it is a novel, nevertheless inexhaustible. Therefore, there is a need for maximum attention ready to smile, cry, laugh and cheer. You cannot tell my story story in a single piece of writing, you can talk about my life until cattles return from grazing.
|Leonard Kamugisha in a long sleeved shirt with Rev Fr. Robert Ayebazibwe curate priest Rubindi Parish Mbarara Archdiocess|
I was born in Bukoto a Kampala suburb to the two loving parents who happily lived and worked together for our family survival. My life’s long journey is not worth a public sharing but I heartily believe if appropriately shared can touch, heal, inspire and send a kind message to many souls.
As I take a flashback to my past life experience, I feel rivers of tears flowing on my cheeks but I instantly grow bliss because am living. You commit no offense when you shed tears, laugh, jump high and smile while reading this piece.
My suffering started at the age of Six months after birth when my Mother got prolonged sickness which could not allow me breast feed any longer. We all are aware of the situations in the Kampala of 1990’s especially when it came to the lives of the marginalized persons – Omuntu wa Wansias today’s talk of the city.
“God is not unfair. He will never send a thirsty soul to a dry well. He doesn’t pay off immediately, but in a long run he does. Keep drawing closure to him as much as you can and the flood gates and good returns of blessings shall be opened unto you.” Leonard K Akida
Dad could not afford taking care of sick mum and attend his building / constructional works for the family’s sustainability. This called for a need for special care to mum and the only escape route was to go back to her parents in the village.
At this point, my brother and I didn’t know what lied a head of us, only God could tell if not the prevailing situations to give its judgment. Here we nearly turned into street kids since dad would leave us early in the morning for work and at times with little or no food- you all know fathers’ care to children.
Thanks be to Jane (surname not recalled) a poor barren neighbor who grew a kind heart towards our suffering and decided to adopt me and my brother and became members of her family. In fact, with Jane I have never had a feeling that I missed breast feeding, I believe she would give me her breasts to feed whenever I cried. She’s a mother indeed worth having!
I spent nearly one and a half years under Jane’s parenthood until Mum recovered from her death thief sickness and we were taken to the village leaving our dad in town alone. Here, we became living orphans- without Dad.
In the Ankole culture and most tribes in Uganda, culture doesn’t value kinship from their daughters’ side (marriage clan/tribe) just as it doesn’t value a girl child. The Nieces and Nephews are less valued and loved than the biological children. With such cultural perceptions, life in the village became a hard nut to crack. We faced a lot of resentments from some maternal relatives who never welcomed us because we were of a different tribe.
As I celebrate my 25th Birthday, I found it important to share with you about my life and the journey full of up and down stairs that I have walked throughout these years, Poet Christina Rossetti has a message for you about my special day. Read it as you celebrate with me this life’s long journey #Leonards25thBirthday
|Leonard Kamugisha during an internship at Vision Group|
My heart is like a singing bird
Whose nest is like a watered shoot;
My heart is like an apple-tree
Whose boughs are bent with thicket fruit;
My heart is like a rainbow shell
That paddles in a halcyon sea;
My heart is gladder than all these
Because my love is come to me.
Raise me a dais of silk and down;
Hang it with vair and purple dyes;
Carve it in doves and pomegranates;
And peacocks with a hundred eyes;
Work it in gold and silver grapes;
In leaves and silver fleurs – de – lys;
Because the birthday of my life
Is come, my love is come to me.
English adages; “A parent is never nauseated by the mucus from his child’s nose,” and “A she goat suckles its young however deformed,” cannot be left untold when exhausting my life’s long journey. In spite of the fact that were of a different blood kinship, some of the elders here gave us a worm welcome arguing we were young innocent grand children who could not call for paying debts caused by the mistakes our parents committed.
Dolly Parton’s coat of many colors song speaks my minds. I remember the ragged cloths we used to dress some donated by the generous friends and relatives. Never shall I forget my beautiful Katoota Muliro pair of shoes my spiritual parent Mr. Kitende Lawrencio bought for me in 1999. Katoota Muliro was a type of closed rubber shoe (like Nigina)which were sitting near a fire source would end up getting burnt. This was my first shoe I guess.
Life went on miserably, mum would wake up at a cock’s crow to go and work in people’s farms and in the late evening she would go to our smaller gardens leased from some people on either a manual labour, cash or at times free cost basis. All these she did to get for us food, clothes and school dues.
We all are aware that a servant is never equally respected at the master’s palace like the biblical St. Augustine in his political thought of the bible. According to the saint, “Slavery is natural and a punishment for sin.” St. Augustine goes further to explain that some people were born to be masters while others slaves, “….. It is an ordinance of God that some people are born masters while others servants.” The two saint statements portray a servant as a less privileged person who deserves no respect by his master and condones inequality between masters and slaves, the haves and the have not!
We used to shed helpless tears whenever we saw mum being mocked at by some of her masters and cursed the day we were brought to earth. We had no any other option whatsoever but rather to accept and bear with the conditions.
As earlier stated, Dolly Parton said in her coat of many colors song, “Born are the poor only when they wish to be.” Mum worked hard, it shone and rained on her sleeplessly to ensure we lived happily. She would tell us luganda proverbs like; “Okubonabona si kufa,” and “Biva Muntuyo” literally meaning, “To suffer is not to die,” and “No sweat without sweat” respectively. It’s from these philosophical sayings that we were nurtured in a sorrowful state.
Although all these happened, God was always by our side and he never let us die. We slept on empty stomachs like rebels, faced hurdles in studies due to insufficient money to cater for school fees but all came to pass. Mum bought plots of land, built a small temporal house, and has educated all her two children to a university.
Today, I hold a degree in mass communication which has enabled me to motivate, inspire, and heal the hearts of many suffering people in the world. I want to use this award as a platform to champion for the equal rights and opportunities of the “marginalized persons,” in schools, on streets, in orphanage homes and all walks of life.
Rain comes after sunshine! It shone and it’s raining. There might be hundreds and thousands of people outside there experiencing more hardships than I passed through. But the truth is: “YOU ARE NOT REJECTED NOR ARE YOU FORGOTTEN,” no matter what religion, family, tribe, country you belong too; no matter the situations you are in today, CHRIST knows you, He loves you and Shall one day answer your prayers.
ou might be doubting whether He (God) knows you, that’s how I doubted him even the more when I received the news of dad’s demise in 2003 retreating from grinding poverty. You curse your life, curse the day you were born, curse the day of your womb, God has not abandoned you. Have friends despised you, have you been abandoned? God knows every your weakness and He’s busy working on your need. Call to him He’ll answer.
You are a slave no more! Remember he said, the lord who saved me from going onto streets the same lord shall save your life from your current situation. He brought to me a barren woman Jane (from KARUHEMBE KEBISONI Rukungiri district), He is bringing your Jane too. The helper He is sending may not be the real Jane of Karuhembe, but he shall give you someone to wipe away all your tears.
Didn’t the stone that was rejected become a foundation of the building? Worry not when they walk away from you, you will get well and they shall come to you one by one with different stories.
Remember that Hard work, patience, persistence, perseverance, and prayers shall lead you. GOD IS NOT UNFAIR. HE WILL NEVER SEND A THIRSTY SOUL TO A DRY WELL. He doesn’t pay off immediately, but in a long run he does. Keep drawing closure to him as much as you can and the flood gates and good returns of blessings shall be opened unto you.
To everyone who could have overcome this situation and you who have never experienced one but you feel compassionate for those in suffering, in whatever we do and whenever we are on social media, in publics let us be the voices to give hopes, heal and motivate souls.
Your Life, Is Your Canvas, Paint it Well.