Polygamy and poverty

A student’s story from Uganda

I grew up in a broken, polygamous family in Uganda. My mother left me when I was six months old with my stepmother and my father. My stepmother only cared for her biological children. She didn’t want my father to support my siblings or me in our education.

In my third year of secondary school, my father stopped paying my tuition fees. My siblings and I had to stay at home and work. I started doing odd jobs around the village to earn some money.

I also started praying.

Hope and loss

Eventually my father agreed to let me attend the school where he was a teacher – a Muslim secondary school. I finished secondary school with good grades and was given a loan to study at university. My uncle offered to pay for my transport, accommodation and food. It was a good first semester. But it didn’t last long. My uncle passed away suddenly, and my support stopped.

I felt so helpless. I questioned God. It seemed like he had abandoned me after lifting me up. Without money to pay for transport, I had to walk several kilometres to attend my lectures. I also had to start working part-time to support my upkeep.

But then my own mother heard about my hardships and started working again. The money she gave me allowed me to rent a hostel room near campus, and everything changed.

A new chapter

The day I moved to the hostel, I wanted to thank God for his grace to me. I joined the local IFES Christian Union (CU) and started to serve as chief usher.

Soon after that I was appointed as the general secretary of the CU.

Through the CU, God has taught me forgiveness, courage and love. That’s changed me. I’ve learned how to align myself with the Lord and pray for my academics and family.

I have been hurt in the past by people I loved the most, but that does not stop me from showing them love and kindness. Today I still go back to the village to visit my stepmother and my siblings. I do not get angry with my dad for neglecting me because, through the CU, I’ve learned that the love of God is sufficient for me. I had never experienced so much love like the love I receive in the presence of God.

I want to serve the Lord with all my heart. I would like to be a leader in the Church.

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