About Myself and My Family
My name is Asiimwe Ronald; I am 24 years of age. I hold a Bachelors degree in Psychology from Makerere University. I hail from the western part of this country. Growing up was not easy for me - I was raised in a polygamous family of 14 children, each of these children with different mothers.
I was a little lucky that by the time I was born, my mother happened to be the “wife” in the house. It’s so amazing how people would bring other kids home just thinking they have come to visit and before you know it, they tell you, “this is also your brother or sister”. I will never forget a day that my mum asked me to leave my bed for a visitor who had come home as a sign of respect. The visitor spent more time with us than expected and before I knew it, the visitor was a “family member”.
Academic background and work
My academic journey has been a straight one so to say in terms of the number of schools I have attended. I went to Igorora Day school for my Primary education and I was at the school for all my eight years in primary school (1994-2002). One of the things I will live to remember about my primary school days is the fact that I never put on shoes to go to school until Primary seven (P.7). To make matters worse, in the name of “school uniform”, shoes were prohibited in school since this was a village school and not every child could afford a pair of shoes including me.
From there, I proceeded to City High school for my secondary education. As a boy coming from a village school to a town school, life was not easy in the beginning. It was not until I managed to emerge as top student in the whole of my first year that I found my bearing at City. I was at City High School for 6 years from 2003-2008.
From City High, I did not look back, I proceeded to Makerere University to pursue a Bachelors degree in Mental Health and Community Psychology from 2009-2012. I graduated from the school of Psychology with an honors second class upper degree in January 2013.
Throughout my campus days and as a young boy, I have always treasured hard work. But because of the not so heavy academic papers, I could not get formal employment. That did not stop me from seeking work opportunities. I went around looking for volunteer opportunities and I got so many of them. I have been volunteering at my local church as a Sunday school teacher where I teach kids of all age groups, with Scripture Union Uganda as a volunteer trainer. It was not until late July 2013, that an opportunity came up in a Christian Organization called FOCUS Uganda and this is where I now work as a Training Secretary. I work with University students in coaching, training and mentoring them to become great leaders of value to our nation.
Life around the fields of Lugogo
This was not the kind of life that I can happily testify about. As a village boy coming from a poor family background, coming to Lugogo was like a nightmare to me. I was so confused the first time I stepped into Lugogo, getting to see young boys of my age and even those younger than I was playing very good tennis, speaking good English and seemingly looking happy. I started as a ball boy picking up balls for people who would come to play and they would pay me very little money. This is the money that would help to facilitate my school needs because all my dad could do was pay school fees. And so getting this little money, I felt like I had reached the top of the world, I started cutting school to go and make money, my performance had started deteriorating and the once top of the class boy started being the last. When I was in my senior three (S.3), my dad all of a sudden stopped paying for my school fees claiming there was no money. Well I could not tell by then whether the money was there since I used to see him come home drunk almost every day. I dropped out of school for one term until my aunt chose to pay for me up to senior four. Amidst all this, I used to encourage myself, “this will come to an end” not knowing that a Good Samaritan was coming to my rescue.
The meeting that changed my life
Like the saying goes, “a journey of a thousand miles begins with one step”. I would see these young boys and girls around Lugogo playing good tennis, cricket, badminton not knowing that there was a force behind their happiness. Slowly by slowly, I inquired from a few of them about this secret and they revealed to me that there is someone who pays their school fees, brings for them sports attire and so many other things. But the only scare behind this revelation was the fact that, this friend of mine told me, he asks very many questions and to get him, you have to go through people and then write an application. For many months, all these rumours plus many others had stopped me from approaching this man. It was not until a Sunday evening in 2006, I was in my form four vacation that I gathered the energy to go and meet Mr Jaz Karim. He had come to play tennis with the boys and I remember I sat at the door of the court where he was playing. After his game, I approached him with a lot of fear only to find him a kind man who was ready to help me. When I got to him, he asked me one question, what do you want and I remember telling him, I want to go back to school. He asked me, am I a bank? and I said no. The story is long but to cut it short, after some serious grilling, Jaz agreed to take me back to school. I cannot explain how I felt then but I knew life changed there and then. Until senior six, I never smelt something called “being chased away from school because of school fees”, my grades again shot up. And it was because of this that I managed to emerge as the top of the school in my final high school exams. UCTF didn’t leave me there; they agreed to pay for my tuition at University the following year and here I am today.
Great thanks go to the entire family of the Uganda Charity Trust Fund who endured my stubbornness and chose to walk with me right away from my little age. Special thanks to Mr Jaz Karim who restored my hope by offering to pay for my school fees, for he gave me the opportunity to acquire all the necessary knowledge that has contributed to who I am today. Every opportunity that God gives me to live for a day, hours or minutes, I always count it a blessing, an honour and an opportunity to bless another person with words of encouragement. Thanks to Mr Patrick Luyinda “Coach Raga” as he is commonly known for helping me to learn the great game of tennis that has taken me to many countries and to represent my University. Thanks also to Henry Muyanja, Allan Senabulya and Joe Cottingham the man who inspires me a lot and now Peter Fuller. Thank you guys for accepting to leave your comfort zones in England for our sake, to see that you mentor, coach and train us into well groomed citizens of value and substance.
- Published in UCTF - Showcase