Thursday, April 20, 2017

#Education #Teaching is the most noble job in the world - #Uganda

One time Bududa Primary School set up a policy to teach girls not to be shy around boys.  All of a sudden there was boy on the right side and boy on the left side on my desk.

Boys are truly very disgusting.  They used to pinch and punch.  Then tantrums.  Until I met the best teacher in the world.

In Ugandan schools BEATING kids is a must.  But Mrs. Joyce Masette never ever beat.  I actually learned about this in Canada when Ingrid at Grace Church Daycare told the boys to stop beating up Rebecca.  She said "you have a mouth, use it".

The world's best teacher said "boys do not like to talk and will use their fists.  But stop crying like a baby.  Use your mouth.  Do well.  Make them envy your grades". Of course then there was talking like a radio but a lot of beatings till I realised that giving them copies of my exam grades was easier.  You are sitting in between 2 boys who will beat you up after school.  So you place your test / exam sheet clearly in view to avoid a beating on the way from school no matter how fast you can run if you have short legs.

In 2000 when we flew home and went to that school, we met Mrs. Masette in my first class P1 (Grade 1).  Rebecca was in total shock that she was meeting my first formal teacher (Nelson, Tabisa and Stephen had home schooled me before school).  Then the kid is looking at the teacher and paying attention.  She then whispers "mommy, why is the teacher teaching about the colours of the rainbow using chalk on a black board?  It would be better if she could give them colouring paper and crayons".

Shortly after, we walked to the truck and low and behold we had books and crayons for all the kids. Then the next thing was no shoes.  The driver was very frightened.  He followed us into the classroom and said "madam, she better put on shoes or she will get jiggers".  Kid looks at him and says "do they have jiggers?  Because I also want to get jiggers".

Then these older kids run to us saying someone is sick..there is someone being carried to the hospital.  I told Mrs. Masette "I better go check because it could be father".  By this time we had distributed all the school supplies from P1 to P7 and the material for the teachers.  Then Betty.  She was also a teacher at the school.  She is screaming "mzee mzee".  So Rebecca, Thierry and I jump into the truck and the driver slams the gas and we are at Bududa Hospital.

Have you ever watched your beloved die in front of your own eyes?  I did.  It is unforgetable.  Then the burial is still a maze.  I was sleep walking.  Had to fly back for work.  Sent a fax to my manager and all was okay.  The leg from Entebbe to Paris could not be changed.  The leg from Paris to Toronto was changed.  I remember my parents in law picking us up from CDG and I was mute. Of course their son and grand daughter were talking about South Africa, Kenya and Uganda but I had lost my voice.  Then Denise (my mother in law) finally clued in that something was not right.  That is when their son told them "her father died and we just buried him yesterday before catching the flight".

Human pain can be so deep and last forever.  I have looked many many times of why Bududa Hospital had no medication to lower Blood Pressure and I still find only one blame. The road was so bad we could not even take father to Mbale hospital where his primary care giver was waiting and our driver was dying for us to hit the road seeing how frantic I was.  Then no ambulance.  Lois and her husband hired a private ambulance to go to Bududa Hospital to take father to Mbale Hospital.  The road was so bad that by the time they go there, he was dead.

That day, I had taken my husband and my daughter back to Mbale but stayed up because something did not feel right but Lois was in charge so it could have been worse.  At 4:00AM, a star fell from the sky. At 4:05am my brother Wanga called and as soon as I answered, I said "Dad just died, right?"  My father who had dedicated 25years in the EAC community on behalf of Uganda died just like that.  Neither Dr. Obote nor Gen. Amin would not have let him die.  As a matter of fact, I had head surgery in that same hospital where my father died.

I want Ugandans to remember this forever.  I had even dropped out of school to care for my father's medical bills. I remember yelling at the nurse "why not put him on an IV and inject the medication to lower his blood pressure" and the nurse was very polite "we do not have the equipment or the injectible medication".  I then yelled at father as he was struggling to breath "but papa, they opened my head here and I am okay, you are going to be okay too.  Let me go find the doctor".

THEN "mayi naramile khuluwutsu, khukhawutsi khafiti. Inzya khufa. Ukhalira tta.  Nenga ukhebilila ingo tta.  Ukhebilila tta."

In 2015 we had the 15th anniversary of our father's death.  That is when Mrs. Masette died.  It was incredible how she timed her death. Far too many of us were going for the death anniversay and ended up burying this phenomenal teacher who has taught clan after clan, generation after generation to this day we still carry her teaching in our hearts.  Perhaps teaching is the next option.

Some things Ugandans do not know about Mzee Daniel Nangalama is that he was a teacher.  He taught in Nairobi, Arusha and Nakawa.  Telecommunications. An apple does not fall too far from the tree.

Martha Leah Nangalama
Moncton, Canada
Uganda is not serious about health care. Had father joined NRM, he would have been flown out of the country but he never did and neither will I ever.  He died to leave a strong mark on Uganda to tell us that others also matter. You would have liked him and you will never meet anyone who knows him that did not like him.  Man of the people.  He lives in me.

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