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MBUYU MONDAY - Who are we? Joshua's Story

My name is Barasa Joshua Wekesa; an industrial Chemist, Chemist as well as a Chemistry/ Mathematics teacher.

I was born on 18th-July, 1989 in a small village called Butoboso, Namisindwa District, Uganda. Unlike many children who are breastfed and taken care of by their parents during their tender age till say 2 years; I was not privileged to be among those.

This is because my parents were meant to go to The Salvation Army Officers’ College to be trained and ordained as ministers of religion.

This meant that I had to be taken care of by the heroin of my life that is my dear maternal grandmother (RIP) from a tender age of 7 months till the age of 3 years.

Reuniting with my parents at 3 years was one of the best yet worst moments in my tender life, this is because it meant that I was no longer going to stay with my well known mother(grand) and father(grand) to move in with these strangers; this took me about a full year before I would accept that these really where my true parents.

The journey with my parents being officers of the Salvation Army is the most hurting, interesting, bizarre yet the most educating that I have ever traversed since it involved moving around my whole country Uganda living amidst different tribes, clans and cultures which have made me who I am today.

Between the age of 8-10 years strikes me as the period that made me who I am today; this is because it is a period I hated that I had come of age; one may ask why?

While at 8 years when I was in primary 4, I had a routine of waking up by 5am to go first fetch water 5km away from home before proceeding to school. This is because the place where my parents where serving did not have water nearby, the nearest being 5km away yet for them they had to go cultivate our shamba (garden) before we would get what to feed on.

Because of carrying a 10 litre jerry can full of water, I developed an” artificial” bald head in the middle of my head, and this still exists since hair does not fully grow in this part of my head.

This also meant that concentrating in class after moving such a long distance to fetch water was next to impossible; reading and even speaking a few words in English language at this level of study and age was a mystery as well. I couldn't manage them. I was falling behind.

Thanks God, my Dad noticed and changed me to a better standard school which was great idea, since it meant no more fetching water early in the mornings and I was going to learn how to read and write in English language. Unfortunate for it was 10km away from our home yet it was a day school. ( not a boarding school)

This also meant repeating primary 4 in order to catch up with the standard of other learners in the new school.

me in the yellow as a boy ( the other boy is Dr Rob )

It also meant that waking up at 5am on daily basis so that we (me and my elder sister) would trek the 10km to go study became a constant.

It all went on well not until one day when our clock had no battery, meaning our timing of waking up had to be based on a cockcrow, that night we woke up at 3am instead of 5am; did I forget mentioning that my parents were serving in an area where cannibalism was normal in that whether old or young if you would be seen in some places in that region during such wee hours of the night or rainy periods during broad day light, it would mean you being hunted and made into sauce for a very delicious meal!

Lucky for us, we survived that day because the person who was 200 meters ahead of us fell victim that morning as we hid in the bush and we were not caught.

Because of this my dad managed to purchase me a bicycle (Road Master) after selling one of his harvests so that I would use it to school but carry my sister on it as well.

Unfortunate for me, the bicycle did not last more than 4 months as it was stolen from me; this happens to be one of the worst periods of my tender childhood in that I even refused to go back home trying to find where my bicycle was, to the extent that I looked into my pocket to see whether it was in or not.

Lucky enough, my dad heard the sad news from my sister who had gone home and came to find me and take me home.

There after the 5am routine had to resume for one more year before my parents got their marching orders to a place which had a good school in the neighbourhood.

It is from this moment that I determined and said to myself that if I ever become a better person in the future, I would not allow young children to move such long distances just in search for better education if I can help them learn this basic reading and writing skills.

This as well has developed my passion of educating the people around me on how to utilize the limited available resources.

This is why I choose The Mbuyu Foundation because it gives me the opportunity to help these young lads and encourage them that despite the circumstances they are undergoing, they can come out to be better people and citizens of this country and change the state around them as well as the world.

Me and some of the Mbuyu team at a friends wedding


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