In Summary

UP-CLOSE: Peninah Wampamba is the reigning Miss Uganda-UK. Currently, she is a paediatric nursing student at the University of Salford in Manchester, UK, writes EDGAR R. BATTE.

The first thing I do in the morning...
I check my phone; bad as that may sound. To be fair, I am usually switching off my phone alarm. Then I proceed to greet my parents.

The first thing I do when I get to work...

Sit and drink water. I usually sit in my car before heading to work to get some peace and quiet. If there is something troubling me, I quickly pray about it. Given the nature of my job, it is important to have time to clear my mind.

My earliest childhood memory...

I attended Gayaza Boarding School and we would spend our school holidays at our grandparents’ home. My maternal grandfather used to trust me with pocket money, and I had to give my cousins Shs100.
Once we split the money, we would all go to the shop across the road from home feeling like we were so rich that we could buy all the merchandise in the shop.

My first best friend...

Brenda. She was our neighbour. I remember we used to do everything together even though we did not go to the same school. We would play in the house and prepare food together, until sunset.
Even when I went to boarding school, during holidays, we would catch up on our adventures, the teachers and pupils we had met. It was never a dull moment.
When I moved to the UK we kept in touch and when my parents allowed me to have a Facebook account, one of the first things I did was to look for her and catch up.
We always tried to catch up when I visited Uganda. However, as time went by, we lost contact. Maybe we will one day meet again.


My first boyfriend...

I can’t remember.

My first kiss...

This was in high school. It was with a guy who lived on the same street as us.

My childhood hero...

My jajja mukazi (grandmother). She raised my brothers, cousins and I and taught us how to love one another. My parents moved to the UK before my younger brother and I did. Many of my childhood memories are of her and she is the kindest and most loving.

The first book I read...

I grew up in a Catholic household so I think it was the Bible. Nowadays, I enjoy reading self-help books, books about African history and current affairs.

My first job...

I worked in KFC after high school. I met amazing people. I am still in contact with some of them. Yes, it was a stressful work environment but, I learnt many life skills that have come in handy in the profession that I am pursuing.

My first salary...

I do not really consider the money I earned at KFC as salary. I think after completing my degree, I will count it as my first salary. I am yet to make plans for it.

Joyous. Wampamba enjoys a playful moment with a baby. COURTESY PHOTOS

My current job...
I am in my final year of children’s nursing. I will be completing my degree in September. I have got a job at a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). In my second year, I spent five weeks on the unit and I fell in love with it. While doing internship in Uganda, I was on a NICU. There, I worked as part of an amazing team that works tirelessly to keep new-born babies alive.

What I like about my job...

The fact that I have the power to put a smile on a young person’s face who might be having the worst of days. I also work alongside many different health professionals. It humbles me and makes me realise why it is important to work with different people.
Each one of us has a role to play in helping a child return to their unique healthy state. The professionals I meet no matter how long they have been in the trade will always have some tips to help you become the best version of yourself.

What I dislike about my job...

Despite every effort, some children suffer and pass on. It makes me question my religion to an extent that I try to find an explanation as to why children are suffering. I also watch families fall apart because of that. This leaves me feeling helpless.

Biggest regret in life...

Going to university straight from college. I feel there is pressure on young people to go straight to university. Although I enjoy what I do, and I have had so many opportunities from my chosen career path, I wish I had taken my time while applying since university does not discriminate against one’s age. So, no matter the age, you can still attend university.
I advise my younger brother who is about to start his final year of college to ensure that he does not rush his decision to go to university. He needs to be mentally ready. Much as it is great, it serves no purpose getting yourself into debt doing a course you are unsure of and unaware of the career prospects of the chosen degree.

Best advice I have received...

To live my life to the fullest. Such a phrase makes me think of putting myself first. It does sound selfish but it so important to be sure of the person you are, especially in our age where there is pressure to conform to society norms and values.
It entails being kind to the woman I am becoming. There is pressure on young people to know what it is they want to be and what it is they must achieve. It suggests that life is a race.

However, life is something to be lived and enjoyed, with strangers that become friends and family. Living life to the fullest also makes me think of travelling the world, meeting new people, discovering new places and learning new languages and celebrating cultures that differ from my own. It involves taking a step out of my comfort zone.

My most memorable experience...

When I went skydiving. I jumped out of a plane at 15,000 ft for charity. I am a bit of an adrenaline junkie, but I have some fear for heights. However, I had always wanted to raise money for Syria. So, I thought I could do a brave thing and raise money for a good cause. Sometimes facing your fears for a good cause makes it worthwhile. On the day of my sky dive I was supported by my best friends, Nomsa, Ama, Daniella and Ibrahim. My mum was also present and more petrified than I was.