By Caroline Ariba
Last Friday night was no ordinary night at the Imperial Royale Hotel here in Kampala. A fundraising dinner for obstetrics Fistula victims where the Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadagga was Guest of Honour was held.
Organized by The Association for Rehabilitation and Re-orientation of Women for Development (TERREWODE), the event sought to raise money for a fistula victims’ re-integration centre.
First, a group of Fistula survivors and supportive husbands from Soroti district took to the front in song and drama about the agony that is Fistula. Silence gripped the room and not even the fact that this lot sung in Ateso mattered.
The group sang the praises of TERREWODE, and was followed by re-known gospel singer Judith Babirye with her hit song Bwewangala. Whisking people off of their seats, she moved table to table crowning her performance with her Mama Song.
A touching drama by the Soroti group about a woman with Fistula facing rejection from everyone until she supposedly gets help from the re-integration centre was next. As the skit ended, a lady clad in a gomesi, supposedly a Member of Parliament, promised to take their plight to parliament. It was quite obvious that this particular part was meant for Kadaga.
When Alice Emasu Seruyange, the Executive director of TERREWODE spoke, it was to tell of how grave the Fistula problem was.
“Over 200.000 women in Uganda are living with Fistula, so we need to raise at least a billion shillings to put up a centre for them,” she passionately begged. Rose Mukisa the country project manager Egender health and Esperance Fundira the UNFPA country representative spoke of how Fistula was a sign of failure on maternal health.
A speech by Dr. Ruhakana Rugunda was read by Dr. Jackson Omonyi highlighting the ways in which Fistula can be battled. Subsequently, it was time to auction a giant portrait of Kaddaga which the MC joked about how it might just save one the hassle of buying a presidential portrait in future.
Vision group’s Cathy Mwesigwa was tasked to collect all the moneys on behalf of Vision group to beat the Monitor’s basket. At one point she could be heard saying to the other lady, “Hey, you’re in my market!” As the room relaxed, Kadagga gave her day’s speech.