I have been educated on how to stay with people.

IMG_19451

In Acholi quarter, Kireka, there’s a rather exceptional woman named Akullu Margret. With a stunning smile she tells me she has always considered herself to be a lucky woman. She never went to school but, living with Women of Meeting Point International (MPI), she was being educated on how to stay with people, neighbours and even to do business.  She considers herself lucky ever since she met MPI, she has also started a business selling charcoal (used for cooking food) which enables her to earn a living.

As she carrying on with her daily work, she noticed one thing in particular; during the day she met a lot of men, women, and children who were at home who seemed to be doing nothing.

She joined MPI in 1999 after facing a lot of problems which had not only made her feel like an animal but also unable to live with people because she was always fearful. She remembers standing outside MPI watching the women gathering, then Rose (Director MPI) invited her in, she entered and felt welcomed for the first time ever.

IMG_195011Margret: “I saw a white man sitting beside Rose, he had this smiling face, he took a photo of me with my child. When he returned to Italy, he framed it and sent it back to me, through Aunt Rose. We then started a friendship and a few years later, he started supporting me and my family”.

MPI started taking her children to school while she, on the other, hand started thinking of ways of supplementing her husband’s income from his job in the stone quarry. The moment Margret realized her infinite value, this introduced an openness in her. It was then that she started desiring to pay for her children’s requirements and to start a Charcoal business. She used the profit to buy a small plot of land to build a house.

She is now a mother to 12 children, of which six are her own and the other six orphans, all sponsored by MPI. She is able to pay for her children’s requirements and has also opened a shop for the husband to work in.

By Lumanyika Bright

 

She emerged as the best student at Luigi Giussani High School

IMG_623

It was late evening when Priscilla had finished her work. She works as a cleaner at the Luigi Giussani Institute for Higher Education to support her siblings since she is the head of her family (though still so young). I have known Priscilla since she was 11 and started being supported by Meeting Point International (MPI) and this year, she scored 17/20 points in the Uganda National Examination Board (UNEB) emerging as the best student at the Luigi Giussani High School (LGHS). I desired to ask her what she is living and what made her study so hard despite all that she went through.

“We were raised by a single mother because our father had passed on when I was three years old. I hardly knew him, but I knew that he loved us. I remember after the burial, we moved to Naguru(Kampala). We are four in the family, and I am the second born. It wasn’t easy for my mother as she tried always to take care of us, both at school and home with all what we desired.

We later moved to a place called Mbuya (Kampala District), where my mother had married another man, the father to my younger sister. Unfortunately, he also passed on before she was born (by then I was 11 years old). Later on, my mother had heard about MPI and she started meeting with the Women in Kireka. My mother continued paying my school fees from her little income she managed to earn with the small bar she was managing, even if sometimes we had difficulties in getting money for feeding.

I was in a government school, we were over 200 children in a class. I could perform but I could be 100th position in the class.  This had made me hate school. Only when we joined St MatiaMulumba Primary School I met new friends and teachers and this made me love school once again and motivated me to work hard and my performance started improving. The school environment was nice, and everything was new, from the subjects to the teachers. I started reading and consulting teachers and as time went on, I was improving. I never stopped working hard because I knew that my mother didn’t go to school and she would have been happy if I had finished my studies.

It was a Thursday, the first week at the beginning of senior four, while at school I received a call from the Hospital; my mother was admitted because of cancer. I rushed to the hospital, I was stillin the school uniform. With tears in her eyes, my mother asked the reason to why I was there. I couldn’t leave her all alone because she was the most important thing for me in that moment.

It was on Friday when my mother was released from the hospital; maybe the doctors had already known that she was going to pass on. She seemed so different from the state that she was at the hospital, it was as if she had not suffered from any disease and when our neighbours brought us food, drinks she could eat without problems. That evening she was so happy as if nothing had happened.

The same night, I slept in the same room, but her conditions worsened and I started praying for her because she could not speak. I woke up in the morning and I was preparing something to eat for her. When I went to check on her, she was dead.

After the burial, I had to go back to school. I started copying notes, reading books but the thoughts of my mother were in my mind. The teachers, since they had known my situation, started giving me all the attention that I needed to study. Our economic situation worsened and because we couldn’t find money and also the feeding wasn’t so easy. In order to get food to eat, we were also helped by another organization. When I came back from school, I would cook for my siblings.

I could do some small works after school or during holidays to collect money to pay for the school requirements. My English teacher paid for my school uniform. My brother started skipping school in order to provide food for our siblings.  I could study only at school because at home I would go back and cook for my siblings. I must thank all the friends and the teachers that dedicated time to me. I was surprised to see that I got 17 points making me the best in school.

This year Achan Priscilla is joining the University to study English literature because she wants to become an English teacher. 

By Lumanyika Bright.

I felt introduced to the new family. Dear Bright

1495534302_tmp_IMG_1499

Dear Bright,

I thought I’d write to you to tell you how everything is going on both at School and in my life. I was born on 15th November 1992 in Kitgum district in the Northern part of Uganda. I am currently living in Naguru (Kampala) with my uncle who had invited me to stay with him and his family because of the insurgency that happened in northern Uganda. In the course of the civil war my parents died. As result, I had been confined in the camp, where I had been studying and I was in primary three when my uncle brought me to Kampala.

I hardly knew my uncle and his family when I came to live with Him. I returned to school in Kampala and immediately I was demoted to the previous class (cause my level of preparation was too low for P4) and this affected me but couldn’t abandon school because I loved studies and with time I got acquainted with the environment, I made new friends and I became happy.

It was in 2009, and the same year I was introduced to Meeting Point International by my auntywho had been a client of MPI for a long period of time. Fortunately, I started to receiving support and school became more interesting since my fees were paid and I didn’t have to struggle again to look for money to pay for myself.

This is one of the great things that have happened in my life, because I never thought that I could be so lucky to complete my studies that I enjoyed so much. I finished my primary in 2011 and in 2012 I joined Luigi Giussani High School. When I was introduced to the school, I felt introduced to the new family because it felt like home. I perceived a strong sense of belonging and it was beautiful. While in school, I started attending the School of Community (It is a place where people from different back grounds meet to be educated of who they are in relation with their experiences in life) that made me aware of the relationship between me and Christ. This made me realize that everything that happened in my life had a value. This changed my life and it is still changing me.

1495534617_tmp_IMG_1488If I remember correctly, everything seemed like a dream but it was reality. While recognizing this, I was moved and I started asking myself, “Why me? Who am I?” I thought that God must love me so much, also because I realized that among all my siblings I was the only one chosen to take this journey. It is like a journey, while you walk the future becomes brighter and brighter every day.

I have been very committed to my studied and I completed my ordinary level of studies in 2015. The following year, I thought of joining a vocational institution so that I could attend the course I wanted. Aunt Rose [Director MPI] supported my decision and accepted to be paying my tuition, currently, I am pursuing a two-year certificate in Welding and Metal Fabrication at COWA Vocation Training Centre. I have achieved some skills and knowledge that will help me and by the time I will complete my course, I will not lack what to do.

My special thanks go to Rose and the all Meeting Point International that has taken part in my educational life.

Written by

Odong David Lakuc

Lumanyika Bright (Social Worker & Communication MPI)

25.5.2017

Meeting Point International monthly Staff meetings held by Rose Busingye

1493020080_tmp_IMG_9812
Rose during the staff meetings

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Meeting Point International monthly Staff meetings held by Rose Busingye

Rose; “….the main thing is to know what you really want. If you know what you really want, the child will not be a problem to you, because the need of the child is your need. We always look at the child outside our lives. We don’t look at the child and think that what the child needs is what I need. We fear the freedom of the child because we ourselves are not free. If you are free, you understand why the child is behaving in a certain way. Through your freedom, the child will find it easy to belong to you. You will be a point of reference to this child….”

24/04/2017