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Joy was born in Kabale district to a mukiga woman from Kanungu and a munyankole man from Mbarara. She still gets confused when asked about her birth order because, on whose side do we count? So her response normally will be, “I am both a second and third born.” She had ten siblings, lost two and now has eight.

Her memories as a child are scattered but from what she remembers, her journey starts off briefly with her mother and then it takes her to maternal grandmother fondly referred to as Muzigaaba. She still sees Muzigaaba washing her wounded legs with salty water in a basin and someone holding a candle (tadooba) as she screams her lungs out. She cannot even remember the cause of the wounds but at least she has a few scars left to confirm that her memory is right.

Her sister, Appo likes to tease her saying while they were in the village, Muzigaaba had gone to pick something from the house leaving Joy alone in the grass thatched kitchen outside.

They were using firewood to cook and amahega, so Joy saw this as the opportune time to try out what these grownups were doing, she got all the plastic plates her little hands could collect and set them on fire.

What was meant to be a saucepan in her head, dissolved under the heat instead and she knew what was coming so she started wailing in fear…

“Mukakaaaaaaaa , Mukakaa, ecowani gyona gyona gyakya gyawhaho….” (Grand ma, grand ma all the plates have been burnt..)

She would later be moved to a different home in Mbarara. Here, she was left in the safe hands of two women, Kanyiga her auntie granny (for lack of better term -a sister to her grandfather) and, Nyabo her paternal grandmother. These women’s houses were just opposite each other so she was living with both of them- literally.

They lived up a very steep hill and school was downhill so every morning, this hill would be colored with all kinds of school uniformed children running down or up hill depending on where their schools were.

At her school, they wore pink dresses. Her father always bought her the biggest tin of powdered milk- Nido and he would give it to her grannies so she could take milk tea. There were so many cows home though so she did not understand the need for this version of milk but anyway every early morning when Kanyiga was not looking, she would dip both hands in the big tin and empty them into her uniform pocket and go licking it down hill till school.

They had no seats in their class rooms so over the weekends would be busy furnishing the floors with cow dung and then rush home to make mats from banana fibers which would act as seats. Not to forget, her break snack would be left over food from dinner neatly wrapped in banana leaves? Yeah, and she did not mind it. This is where the simplicity in life value started taking root.

Her father later picked her up and took her to Kabale where he was staying and working then. This is where she did her primary and ordinary secondary level education from. He would later move to Kampala- the mighty capital city she always heard of. He got her a school nearby for her advanced level of education in Mpigi.

Fast forward, she is still evolving headed for greatness and when she turns 50, this blog will be part of the pages of her final bibliography. The Sparrow’s life is such an adventure and she wears many hats but her favorite one is mother! It is such a blessing.

I am the Sparrow!