22 years

I am like a 65 year old – folk, typing with one finger while the rest are suspended in the air. As a result of the stroke, my left side is dead and paralyzed and the right side of the body is somewhat alive so my palm can not ‘sit’ on a keyboard to write fast. Sometimes I wonder how I pull it off but I remind myself that it is what you do that defines you. I splint my left hand to ensure dexterity and functionality so for each post you have read, just know it is a finger at a time . This is why I wear a splint on my left arm. Spasticity is a secondary effect commonly experienced after stroke that can cause muscles to become stiff or tight. For many survivors, spasticity affects the arm and hand and often leads to a clenched hand or curled fingers after stroke. So the left hand is totally useless. The reason why I go ahead to write my story is to show that even crayons however broken can still paint. So I don’t want readers to be defined by their Limitation. It is not who you are that defines you but what you do . The definition of courage is conquering yourself .

~~~~~~ Talking age,I am a very young man who goes by the moniker, “old man”,I do have many theories for this and I often joke that Stroke said to me, “welcome to old age Mwene. Some relatives who are by far senior to me use the name, “elder” so it has crystalized I guess.

On a Tuesday morning many years ago at Ishaka Adventist Hospital, a baby was brought forth and growth began. Maama was a primary school teacher and a strict disciplinarian at that. A umoja sapatu was always within reach whenever I deserved one and soon I would get back to line. At first I thought that she never liked me but later I got my biggest life lesson.

When I was young and my mother would confront me about something wrong that I did, I’d look at her with resentment, because I was convinced that she hates me. As an adult I know better, for it is when someone confronts me for doing something wrong or is upset by my wrong actions that I realise how much they love me and want me to be a better person. Rather than dismiss them I look at the merits of their complaint.When you love someone, and I mean truly love someone, it matters to you that they conduct themselves with integrity and do things that will make them better human-beings. And you don’t become indifferent when they do the opposite, because if you did, it would mean you’ve arrived at a point where you no longer care; where you’ve given up on their ability to be a better human-being. And that’s why now as an adult, I will always appreciate any advice however honest and brutal it is. Life is the greatest teacher and everyday is a time to learn.

When you have a parent who is a teacher, home becomes school because there are books and examination papers in abundance. One of the earliest books that I read was, Trials of Brother Jero, Petals of blood and ‘Abagyenda Bareba’ this was when I was barely 10! Seems like a farfetched tale but there was nothing to go else to, no TV so books were my friends. There is a family friend, Mr Nolasco Baryevuga who was the Town Treasurer, he used to bring a copy of the Newvision every day and I made it a habit to go to his house every Sunday and peruse through all of the weekly dailies. Radio was another object of interest and at the time,only VOT(Voice of Toro) ,Radio Uganda, Capital FM and BBC were the only stations one could get. I loved the program, Abatoro nitugenda nkaha with Richard Baguma rich in the history of the Toro Kingdom.

Maama told me these poignant words,”Haza Rola ogire obuntu,manya kwokugira obuntu bukuha abantu bakuha ebintu” (By the way Rola,when you exhibit humanity, it will get you people and these people will get you things. Looking at the last years of my life and the friends I have made and how they have and continue to stand with me, I think that there must be something right that I did to deserve the friends I have. Allan Jackson in the song,The Older I get has a line ,”The older I get, the truer it is,it is the people you love not the money and stuff that makes you rich. I am rich because of the people I love me.

May is that bitter month, bitter because I lost a friend to childbirth on May the 7th, but today marks 22 years since Maama went to sleep. Maama gave me life but Jesus gave me hope. May she continue resting in eternal peace.


  1. Tikia Joella says:

    May she continue to rest in peace.
    And thank you for continuing to be the epitome of courage.

  2. Onyinye Udeh says:

    A lovely detailed piece. I absolutely enjoyed reading this.
    May her soul keep resting in peace.
    Kudos my dear friend!
    Your courage us worth emulating.

  3. May is surely a special friend. I love how you paint the true meaning of love and care. For to spare the rod is to spoil the child. Woe unto us if ever we stopped to _”kugira obuntu”_

  4. Clare says:

    You look exactly like your mom, Rola💃! …thank God for her umoja sapatu, otherwise we would be stuck with God-knows-what😁😁 Bless her soul!

Leave a Comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s