“Everyone can be a father but it takes someone special to be a dad” so goes the old adage. Parents are a pillar in a child’s life. Some say that the father is the head of the family but the mother is the heart of the family.
Countless stories have been told about single mothers, but in Uganda, the phenomenon of single fathers is slowly creeping in.
What happens when she walks out on you and leaves the kids behind? Or when the unexpected happens and she passes on? The father must stick his neck out, take charge and be a real dad.
This fathers’ day we spoke to two single fathers that are doing a great job raising their children on their own.
Meet Wence Kamugisha, a 39-year-old single father of two, Jeremiah who is Seven, and Maria four. Three years after a glamorous wedding, the two got misunderstandings that could not be resolved, they took separate ways, and they agreed that he takes care of the two children. During this time, Wence a database administrator at Centenary bank fell sick with rare trigeminal neuralgia and only recently got surgery in India.
“When I was in India, Maria fell sick because she was missing me. But I made sure that I call them every day to find out how they are doing” he said.
He is back on his feet but even through the excruciating pain, he did not let go of his babies, and his neighbors accuse him of spoiling his children.
“They are mine, if I don’t spoil them who will? but I would like them to stay connected to their mother as much as possible. So during the holidays, they go to see their mother. I don’t want our differences to get in the way of their growth. ”
We also spoke to Moses Abiine a 33-year-old single dad. His wife Diana passed away in 2011, for 4 years now, he has taken care of their kids.
“The last-born was 1 year and eight months when my wife died. I knew from that day that my children were my responsibility. I have always loved children; I don’t want to see children suffer whether they are mine or not. People encouraged me to take my children to the village to their grandmother but I wanted to keep my family together. If I take my kids to the village, I would be disconnected from them. I dropped out of school when I was young. There was no school fees for me; I want my kids to have a brighter future. This is my ivory, My kids are my responsibility. No one will take my kids away from me whether I have a maid or not. My kid’s miss their mother yes, but they are comforted by the fact that I care about them.”
“When I was working as a driver at USAID LEAD, life was good. But when the project phased out, I told them that life wasn’t going to remain the same. I opened up to them to live within their means.”
“My challenges as a single father are very many, I worry about my children a lot, I am always thinking about my kids. About school fees, being a driver, most of the time, I am not at home, I worry about my kids’ hygiene, whether they have gone to school, then I also have issues with maids. I worry about their clothes whether they still fit, and their medication especially when I am in the field. My children are insured over the years, the maids have stabilized and I requested my organization to ensure my maid as well. I make sure I pay her well and that the children respect her.”
“I would also love to spend quality time with my children, but work limits me yet the little time we have with them is to make sure that they are working. They now think I am very tough- they know that cleaning the compound is their responsibility. I need to learn daily how to discipline them without creating a rift between them.”
“Right now I work at International Sweet Potato as a company driver. At work they will not give you special care because you are a single father. I have built a house for my kids, I rear goats and now I have 5 cows. This has taught me to be more responsible and to work harder. By the time I stop being employed, I should be able to be self-employed. I am working towards seeing that I can earn at least 500,000 from my farm every month.”
“My kids must know that I love them; I want them to be people of confidence that will change the world that they live in.”
“My advice to all fathers is that they should aim at a good life for their children all kids are the same. And this is not about the money they must be present in the lives of their children all the time. Right now, my daughter knows that she has to keep herself pure until she is through with school. I give her these life skills, sex education. I make it a point to live an exemplary life for my children. Help them do homework. You must sow in these kids’ lives then you will yield at the end. They will be children that change this country, not to drink, And when faced with life’s challenges. We have a choice to make, but men should not turn to alcohol to drown their issues but face the giants. It is not easy but the fruit is worth it.
Today, we celebrate all the awesome dads out there, the dads whose kids call inspiration, the dads who don’t leave it all upon their wives, the dads who never give up through thick and thin, the same dads that never adopted for abortion when the world said it was to early. In a special way, we celebrate the single fathers, you are the rock upon which this country is slowly being built.