“I felt so happy when I knew that I would start working. The life of my son will change”
I started primary 1 [in Uganda] when I was seven, and I finished in Senior 2 when I was 14 because my dad told me there was no money to push me forward.
I wanted to stay on – I felt so angry and cried. My dad is a primary teacher, but he said there was no money. When you don’t get a certificate [of education], there’s no job you can get.
Some of my brothers and sisters are still at school; they are helped by my uncle. But only some of my sisters were picked by my uncle. People get different chances – someone might pick any of his favourites and he leaves you and you can’t stop him doing that.
I heard that a hotel was looking for people willing to work as caterers. I started to work – I worked for three months, but it ended after that. We got basic skills training: housekeeping, how to cook food for different people. But I left because my mother became sick and there was no one to help her, no one to get water.
Photo © Tommy Trenchard
She was taken to Kampala in January to be admitted to hospital, she’s still there now. I haven’t seen her since she went. I thought about going back to work when my mum went to Kampala, but there is no vacancy now – it’s full.
During the day here I go to the garden, come back, fetch water, cook food and eat. The garden is two miles away. I leave at 7am and get there at 8am. When it reaches 10am I come back. I go by foot. I grow cassava and maize – it’s just for us to eat. Sometimes we have enough food, but sometimes we don’t. I don’t have any other job other than digging. There’s no one who earns money here.
People in Uganda look at people with disabilities as having no use: they joke, they come up with bad words, they say they are no use, they can’t help. I see it in a different way – a person with a disability wasn’t created for no reason, I know he or she has different plans for how God created him or her.
To change this attitude, if someone with a disability is taken to school, then that person starts working, is employed and is employing someone, the community will see someone with a disability can also work.
They will stop looking at someone with a disability as no use.
I met my son’s father in this village. He told me if we had a child he’d take me to his house, but after we had a son he left me here. He is at home now – he lives nearby.
He sees our son. He wanted to take me to his house, but I didn’t have the requirements that my family wanted [they wanted a dowry from the husband’s family]. My husband’s family said: ‘You are bringing that wife, she will not do the work we want.’ They told him: ‘We don’t want you to bring a wife that will fail to carry water and do other work at home.’
I am capable of carrying water and doing other work, but they thought I wouldn’t do any work for them because of the weakness I have, and the disability. I feel so sad when I hear that message. I think after I go for the training and I am successful and start working, my husband’s family will be happy.