Wednesday, April 29, 2015


Dr. Ddungu was my best teacher in elementary school (primary) at Namugongo.  I had not seen him since my PLE and had joined Namagunga.

So picture this, I am walking with a beat in my head from the British and Canadian consulates in Kampala while wondering how I would make it to the village to tell father I had gotten a scholarship to go to Canada and repeat 2 years of secondary school.  The trauma I was going through.  Then imagine I really did not have money to travel from Kampala to Mbale and then to our village as dad had retired and all decisions were being made in the village. Prayed and wept and asked God for a miracle.

Suddenly I notice Mr. Ddungu walking past me.  I hailed him down because it was so great to see that man.  Oh, the joy of seeing him made me forget what my immediate problem was.  I had to fly out of the country in 3 weeks.  This teacher was so pleased to see me and the fact that I half ran after him.  Even before I could say anything, he told me he had just gotten into Makerere University for mature entry.  No one deserved it more than him.  He had taught me English and Science and was always terribly hard on me because he saw at a tender age that I am lazy.  So then I tell him I just got a scholarship to leave Uganda.

My teacher said that most of his students turn the other way when they see him and do not even say hello to him.  I have no idea who can even do that to their teacher.  Then he says "Leah, I always believed in you and for you saying hello to me, here is my gift for you and to congratulate you".  Peels out this bundle of cash from his suitcase.  I had never seen so much money in my life. So I jump onto the taxi (van, minibus, etc..) and head to the village to announce the sad news to father.

Get to the village (and I had a lot of cash, temuwakana, I even left some at home) and when I told father, he did not understand why I was crying.  His reply "so what if you miss your Alevels and repeat 2yrs of school?  You will be learning in a country which will treat you better than #Uganda".  After getting his blessing with tears running down my face, I bid my elders good bye.  Leaving father and mother was not hard as I had grown up in boarding schools.  But my aunties and uncles,,, oh the pain was unreal.  These people had raised me.  The first 3 months in Canada were awful only because I could not call dad to come pick me up and take me home.  Imagine a teen some 16,000 km away from home. Oh, it was terribly painful.  My teachers and friends were wonderful though.

The woman who had raised me all her life only got a letter telling her I was in Canada.  That of course threw her into a panic of some sort because I did not even know how to comb my hair or dress properly or even fend for myself.  That woman now follows everything I post on Face Book and I have had to delete some things because she is a tough one.

Last year I found out that Dr. Ddungu is a key person at Makerere (East African Higher Learning) and things fell into place.  This man is a genius.  He is one of the best teachers I have ever met in my life.  Our family is full of teachers so I know a great teacher when I meet one.  Ddungu taught me to cross my Ts and dot my Is. I have watched many Ugandans tell me that I behave like a muzungu by insisting on Proper English just because I live in Canada.  Well, now you all know that the person who taught me that is a Muganda gentleman in Uganda. It is almost like he knew what awaited us all.  Grammar and spelling were his obsession.  I mean the Biology classes were also very hard with him.  If you got into a fight with him, he would say "Biology is nothing if you cannot write properly".  MY HERO.  So who is your Hero? I have many Heros and the list is endless but our kids these days do not see the value of anyone who teaches them.  Shaaa... we have lost our way.  Things Fall Apart before A River Runs Between while the world Sings Song of Lawino and repeats Cry The Beloved Country while waiting for The Beautiful Ones are Not Yet Born as we face A Dry White Season while waiting for The Third Express.  Eventually, there shall be Death and the King's horseman .

For God and My Country
Moncton, Canada
Born and Raised in Uganda (Bududa District)
Martha Leah Zesaguli (Nangalama)
BELIEVE! I wept because I had no shoes until I saw a man who had no feet." Ancient Persian saying  I am a Social Justice and Human Rights Activist. Find me on Face Book.  All my opinions are mine and do not reflect on any employer or organisation. 
Mobile +1-506-871-6371

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