Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Happy #Canada day to #Uganda
In 1986, I had done my O'levels and dictator #Museveni had invaded Uganda.  The western part of Uganda was cut off and we had to go 9 months with no school till the other kids could take their national exams.
I got a job at a clothes factory in Jinja.  I sewed clothes for a living.  Do you know what a kid can do in 9 months out of school?
Finally the results came out and the bosses kicked me out.  I had lied that I was an S2 drop out but when the results were announced for the top 10 kids in Uganda, well, hell broke loose.  But my bosses did not really fire me.  They gave me a stash of money to send me back to school saying that with my mouth, they had suspected. 
So back to school, I was looking for a way to save me out of Uganda and saying novenas daily.
In 1987, since Uganda was now free from dictators, there were 3 scholarships (full) for Uganda.  England, Canada and USA.
So I arrive in Canada Sept 11, 1987 (911).  The first letter I wrote to my father and my sister was "Papa, I do not understand Canada.  There are no soldiers with guns.  There are no shootings at night.  I miss home".
He wrote back "There should never be any guns or shootings mayi Leah".
I wrote to my sister (my allowance was only $7 per week and it was all for stamps) "Yaya, I miss Mbuya.  This place is very quiet.  I wanna come back home".
She replied " Kyaleya iwe wamanyile, kene utsowe ubone uri Mbuya by the barracks was not perfect".
I banked both.  Then the school flew me home for summer holidays.  I refused to get on the plane.  There was no way in hell I was gonna return to Canada. 
Father looked me in the eyes and asked me "do you know what I went through when I had to study in UK when the world did not know much about Uganda?  My best friend was the woman I rented a room from and fed me for my entire degree and washed my clothes.  I had no friends at all because Cambridge did not have many Africans in my time.  Mayi, get on that plane".
When I got back to Canada, I wrote to the director of CIDA (Canadian International Development Agency) who were paying for my scholarship for high school.  
The director wrote back. "I cried reading your letter.  I am glad you are here now".
I had written "Thank you for giving me an opportunity.  I come from a poor family, poor village, poor country and poor continent and all I needed was a chance".
When I took my Canadian citizenship in Toronto where you can take pictures with the judge, the gentleman ignored me.  Lifted up Rebecca and she was barely 2yrs of age.  Looked into her eyes and asked her what she wanted to become when she grew up.  Reply "A doctor".
To this day, Canada has fulfilled every promise.  I finished my high school in Canada on money by Canadians.  I finished my bachelor in Canada via money by Canadians.  I finished my masters in Canada paid by a German family.
My love for Canada is insurmountable because Canada gave me life.
I am not a #Ugandan because I was born there.  I am Ugandan because it was born in me.  But Canada incubated me.
Happy Canada Day and I thank heaven for the day you rescued me from Uganda.
Martha Leah Nangalama
Scoudouc Canada
Born in Uganda but grown in Canada.  BITE!
You too can move to Canada.
Canada is only skills based and we need people with every skill.

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