By Angela Ndagano
THINGS were going to change. I was certain that the good days were over. My husband passed on in 1993. I was a primary school teacher, earning a meagre pay and had to take care of my six children. I explained to them that life would not be easy and encouraged them not to give up.
My late husband was a local government senior principal secretary, so we were accustomed to comfortable life. It was a tough time for them. Luckily, they adapted to the new lifestyle fast.
But as time progressed, amid the suffering, I was determined not to yield to societal pressure to remarry. My in-laws suggested widow inheritance, but I brushed them aside because I did not want to disrupt my family with a new man in the home.
At the time, I was earning less than sh100,000 a month. It was almost impossible to use that meagre wage to pay fees for my children. But luckily, they were studying at the school where I was teaching. The school let them study for free as long I would continue teaching there.
We lived in a government house where I paid, sh54,000 a month. I would spend the balance of my salary on food and luxury was never on my mind. My wardrobe comprised five dresses.
When my children joined secondary school, my major challenge was to raise their school fees. I took them to schools that paid between sh70,000 and 120,000. The Catholic mission would give me a loan of sh200,000 which I paid back without interest. After secondary level, my first born joined a business college where she did a course in clearing and forwarding. I paid sh100,000 every semester.
When my salary increased to 200,000, I was determined to send my children to university. My second born joined Nkumba University for a course in administration and I had to part with360,000 every semester. Today, she works with the American Embassy.
When the demands increased, my only hope was to acquire a loan. I approached MP Uganda and got a loan of sh1m. It was gradually deducted from my monthly salary.
I acquired loans within my means. Borrowing money from individuals was a habit I had abandoned, after being harassed by people several times. I resorted to institutions because they were professional.
When my son joined university, I got a loan to enable him pursue a degree in Information Technology at Makerere University. He pays 700,000 per semester. The S.4 and S.6 leavers have enrolled in a computer college.
Some of my children have been working as they study. I thank God for this and the struggle continues.