ON July 11, 2010, al-Shaabab, a terrorist group based in Somalia, launched two heinous bomb attacks on innocent Ugandans at Kyadondo Rugby club and the Ethiopian village Restaurant in Kabalagala that left 79 people dead and several others injured.
â€œHe never went out that much. He always returned home early from work. But on the day he went and stayed out long, my husband never returned.â€
The sadness in Annet Namubiruâ€™s voice is unmistakable. At 27 years of age, she had many years of marital bliss ahead or so she thought.
Today it is just her and her children. Simon Mwebaza, 41, the man who would have completed the family unit; her husband and father of her children is gone.
Nearly one year on, Namubiru continues to ask: â€œWhy me? Why my family?â€
At home, Namubiru has become the father and mother for her children, preparing dinner, helping the kids with homework and working hard to keep the young ones in school.
Namubiru could not continue with her education after Senior Four due to financial constraints.
She has become battle-hardened; you could say, so much that she willingly talked to us about the events that brought the life of the father of her two children to a sudden death.
â€œHe had earlier called to say he had received free tickets to watch the World Cup soccer final at Kyadondo Rugby club,â€ Namubiru says.
She does not speak for long before tears roll down her cheeks. She still wonders why a man who never went out to watch football ended up at Kyadondo to watch the World Cup.
The long wait
â€œI returned home from work that day at about 10:00pm. I waited for Simon to come home but he did not.
When I tried to call his phone, it was switched off. I thought he had decided to spend a night at a friendâ€™s house,â€ recounts Namubiru, who then worked in a city restaurant.
Concerned, Namubiru thought about checking at WBS television station, where her husband worked as a supervisor.
â€œBut before I could get there, I received a call from Simonâ€™s boss. She was asking me if I knew where he was. I asked her in return if she knew where he was,â€ she recounts.
Namubiru says, her husbandâ€™s boss had known about Simonâ€™s demise, but did not want to let on.
â€œMuch later, another WBS staff member called and told me to buy Bukedde newspaper. I was terrified to buy the newspaper, but I braved on, only to see my husbandâ€™s name. He was dead,â€ she says.
With some financial assistance from WBS, Namubiru went to Mulago Hospital, where she obtained her husbandâ€™s body and later proceeded for burial.
â€œI am grateful to WBS TV for giving a befitting burial to my husband. I also thank the Government for compensating the families of the bomb victims,â€ says Namubiru.
Getting on with life
â€œSince I lost my husband, I have been struggling with the memories of his cheerfulness, his love for our children and our friendship. I will always miss him,â€ she narrates.
Namubiru has tried very much to forget the ugly past, but she is weighed down by the grief and sometimes she cries.
â€œI feel particularly sad when my four-year-old son asks me about his fatherâ€™s whereabouts. He insists on seeing him. He is such an intelligent boy, asking questions that are way above his age,â€ she says.
Sometimes, Namubiru adds, my son demands to sleep with his father.
â€œBut I often act tough. I have had to tell him the truth.â€
Namubiru has decided to look up to God for solace.
â€œWe are all believers in Godâ€™s plans for us,â€ she admits.
However, this does not stop her from worrying about the challenges of single motherhood.
â€œBut I always try to keep my mind off worries. Thank God, I have a small business to sustain my children in the absence of their father,â€ Namubiru says.
Operating a small stall selling vegetables, life is a struggle for Namubiru.
With the rising cost of living, the income from the business can barely afford them rent and feeding. But it is hope that keeps her going.
She appeals to the Government to improve security in public places as a measure to secure the lives of Ugandans.
Then, she believes, her husbandâ€™s death will not have been in vain.
I struggle with memories of his love for our children