“…I realized I had everything I needed within me, to be what God created me for but had not yet figured out how to actively be that person.” narrates Nalukwago Shadia, a Kireka resident sharing her experience upon encountering MPI and how recognizing her value moved her to forgive her husband.
by Kisuki Simon, MPI Social Worker
RECOGNISING MY VALUE MOVED ME TO FORGIVE.
My name is Nalukwago Shadia, a resident of Acholi quarters in Kireka, Kampala. I am a mother of two girls, Kemigisha Sharon (9 years) and Kengozi Natasha (7 years) who both now study at Luigi Giussani Pre-primary and Primary School (LGPPS) since they were enrolled after I joined Meeting Point International (MPI). I encountered MPI through members of the community during a time when my life had become really hard for my family both economically and financially.
However, the situation that started out as a negative occurrence ended up teaching me a lot although I had not yet realised it at the time because it seemed like my life had ended. Once rumours alleging that Sharon wasn’t his daughter were spread within the community, my husband Arinaitwe Humphrey and I got into several heated arguments in which he would even threatened to kill me. These rumours brought about serious emotional torture and endless wrangles within my household.
After unproductive efforts to explain my truth to him and his emphatic refusal to hear me out, I had to run away for my life. Being a member of MPI had already earned me friends like Nahayo Allen who had become more like family so much so she allowed me to stay at her place as I figured out what to do next.Life became even harder due to the lockdown restrictions after the Covid-19 resurge. As time went on Allen’s house couldn’t accommodate us all since we amounted to a total of over 7 people and her single tiny room that was also full of other items would simply not do.
We then moved into a neighbouring school room after sharing our concerns with one of the administrators since the schools weren’t operating. We found there another family that was in a similar situation. During that time, I was afraid of exposing what I was facing to anybody and it was Allen that forcefully made me visit Rose’s office and her social workers to explain what was going on in my life. Before gaining the courage to meet them, my children and I had spent nearly 6 months moving up and down with no solution. I had never worked before in my life and had always looked to my husband for our financial needs and at that time, this felt like a situation I could not overcome. I started picking plastic bottles and scrap to resell and get something for my little ones to eat.
After a series of visits to me by the social workers of MPI, one on one dialogues with Rose including the knowledge I got during the dialogues we have every Tuesday and Thursday in Kireka. I really felt like I had awakened from a very deep sleep. I realised I had everything I needed, to be what God created me for but had not yet figured out how to actively be that person.
The conversations with Rose gave me clarity about my role in of my children’s lives and my own plus what I had to do to avoid regretting some of the decisions I was making at the time. At the time, I was feeling guilty for leaving my hostile husband and rendering my kids homeless and had been seriously contemplating taking my children to their grandparents deep in the village in which case I would have forfeited their chance at any education.
Like a genuine friend, Rose listened to me, offered advice and paid three months’ rent for us to leave the school and get a place we could call home. To ensure sustainability, she also gave me capital in form of clothes that I could resell, make profits and then start a business and this paved a way for the next chapter of my life. As planned, I opened up a snack making business just within the market of Acholi quarters, made some profits, and even gave some small re-imbursements back to Rose to show my gratitude and prove to her that I was indeed doing better.
After about two months in my new home, the overwhelming love showed to me by Rose and MPI deeply moved me and further confirmed to me my value and the value of others that Rose repeatedly talks about because MPI had absolutely no obligation to help me out. It is at this point that I decided to forgive my husband and let him back into our lives. This was not because I loved him very much but because I love my children that much. I realised that for unity to be witnessed within my family, give him another chance especially because he had started apologizing to me saying his actions were not intended to harm me. His character hasn’t necessarily changed much, he still comes home drunk but the most important thing to me is that he always comes back and shares that sense of belonging with our children which is very important to me because it makes my children happy that he is around. We are all indeed meant for something greater.