In Summary

BRIGHTER HORIZONS. Esther Nalukwago, raised by a single mother is off to study in the US, writes ROBERT MUGAGGA.

To her Lubaga family everything still looks like a dream. Luck has smiled at Esther Nalukwago. The 18- year-old resident of Ben Kiwanuka Village in Lubaga Division on, December 17, flew to the US where she will undergo a five-year university education, thanks to an American couple. Nalukwago will study Accounts and Business Administration at the University of Wisconsin- Green Bay.

Since childhood, Esther’s single mother Florence Nanziri has had a difficult time raising school fees for her children including Esther. The otherwise bright girl at times had no choice but to remain at home while her friends in well to do families in the neighbourhood attended school. So determined to study during her primary school days, Esther went around the village collecting scrap which she used to sell and thus contribute something, however little, to her badly needed school fees.
This way, she managed to complete her primary school studies at St Agnes Primary school Lubaga. Nalukwago’s problem however came to a grand halt sometime during her secondary school days when a relative and Catholic priest, Rev Fr Vincent Ssenkwangu from Kiyinda-Mityana Diocese visited the US. During his stay, an American couple approached him inquiring whether he knew of any Ugandan poor family they could help. Since then, the American family has been paying school fees for the needy girl. In return Nalukwago in last year’s S6 exams scored 16 points in History, Economics, CRE and Sub-Math at St Peter’s School, Nsambya.

The results excited her benefactors such that they requested the girl to make her choice of whether to undergo university education in Uganda or in America. Nalukwago chose the latter and the rest is now history. The girl is excited. “I thank God for giving me these people. They came at the right time, I will study hard and not disappoint them,” she said a day before departure. Esther had never gone beyond the Ugandan central region. It was all smiles for her mother Florence Nanziri as well. “Mu butuufu abazungu abo omwami n’omukyala Katonda yabatuleteera nga kirabo era tumusaba abawangaaze nnyo.” meaning “Those Americans are a gift from God and I wish them longevity.”

Others say
“Esther has been so good and helpful to all of us around this area. Being brighter than many of us, during holidays she would help us with our studies and this way we would save money that teachers around demand for coaching.” Nabukeera Oliva, friend.
“Esther is respectful. We are all very happy for her. Who knows, when she goes to such wonderful country she will work there after her studies and become so rich and in return help us whom she left behind.” Elisabeth Nakafeero, friend,
“Esther helps her mother with domestic work, something that other children dislike. When her mother is away, she cares for her siblings.” Maama Nankya, neighbour.