Saturday, January 22, 2011

The Women and Their Stories - Tumushabe and Nightingale

Tumushabe is 31, and was the 4th in a family of 7 children in Kabale, near Lake Bunyonyi. Her father abandoned her mother and took a second wife when she was quite small, leaving the family to "struggle for food, digging here and there". There was no money for schooling for her, and no possibility of re-marriage for her mother. "It is a curse for a woman to remarry", she said, "although it is OK for a man to remarry." She married at 16 and had one child and was pregnant with the second when her father called her home, because the dowry had not been paid. She has been on her own with her own children
and her sister's son (an orphan) since then. She is unable to cultivate the little land she has due to a leg deformity, but hopes to buy a plot of land growing bananas or coffee with what she earns from sewing.
Nightingale is our translator. She's 48 and the 6th in a family of 9 children, born in a village near Mbarara. Her father worked as a bicycle messenger, then an administrator, and made sure all his children had some schooling. He sold their cow and some of their land, so Nightingale could go to P-4. She married a school teacher when she was 20, and has 6 children, five of whom have been or are still in university. The sixth is still in secondary school. She has worked and saved and sold small items all her adult life, to enable her children to get the education she values so highly. In fact she was on her way to Kampala this weekend, to see her son Gordon graduate with his degree in Business Administration.

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