Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Fathers Have a very Strong Influence on their Daughters

It is public knowledge that I was raised in a privileged sort of family. Mzee was a wonderful man and he worked for the community. Boarding Schools. In Namugongo, I got a letter weekly with no fail. I wrote to him weekly too. In Namagunga, it was the same thing.  When I went to UWC Lester B Pearson College, the postage was expensive. We still continued the letters weekly right into Trent University.  His goal may have been for checking on how my writing was developing. My goal was always to get info from our relatives. At Pearson College, my first letter to him went something like "It is cold.  I do not see soldiers with guns. I do not hear explosions at night. I do not have to wear all my clothes at night with the dark ones on top.  I am homesick. I am afraid of a place with no guns and soldiers. I miss home a lot and can I return to the boarding school at home, I miss my sisters and my brothers and I am lonesome".  My father wrote back "when I was in England, there were hardly any non white students.  You are in an International school and you must make friends as I am sure many of them miss home too.  A child was never meant to grow up expecting soldiers, guns and explosions. You are in a different country and a peaceful one.  Go and make some friends and stop crying for home".

It was quite the eye opener to learn that some kids do not lie awake all night waiting for explosions.  The school bought me a ticket to fly home.  I refused to board the plane to return.  I had seen the loneliness and missing home.  Father would not go for it.  I was young and had no choice, he forced me to fly away from home.  Our letters continued weekly.   I do not think anyone can get a better father than the one I had.  I am stronger because he helped me to be strong.  He set the standards really high for a husband for his daughters.  We are not perfect and we do not have the Mr. Perfects but we know what we must not accept.

In 2000, I told my manager that I was flying home.  She asked, rather surprised, WHY?  My reply was "I do not think my father is going to live beyond this year".  I flew home.  My father died 2 weeks after I got home.  At 4:00am, a star fell out of the sky and I knew it.  Bududa Hospital was where my father was.  Within 2hrs I got a call from Wanga.  I told my brother, dad died at 4:00am.

Burial was in time before flying back to Canada.  I was pregnant with Mini.  The hospital lost her.  The only way we found her was her perfect image of her grand father.  My father had told me, the child will be like me to remind you of me if I should die before she is born.  That is how it happened.  He died just before she was born and she came out screaming like .... what the ??

Many parents do not realise the influence they have on their kids.  You make a big mistake if  you do not see this.  Mzee Dan Nangalama was a powerhouse.  He is all around us and I miss his letters.  I know he reads everything I write. He was a great writer, teacher, instructor and poet.  One day, I will finish his bio.  I got stuck at the chapter where the letters stopped.

Please write to your parents and your children.  The world has changed so much that we now all fear getting letters.  My father died in 2000. One can never forget a death or even heal from one, of a loved one.  I smile when I think about father or when I write about him...the main reason, our weekly letters for my life were priceless.  I wish you could have read some of them.  The purity of a love beyond belief. Perhaps one of the reasons I hate horrible writing. If bad mommie were not in this life, no idea how some kids would turn out.

By Martha Leah Zesaguli (Nangalama).







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