I was shaped by many hands – Bugembe

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By Esther Oluka

I do not have a star, but rather stars of my life. I wish I could pick out one but I would be doing a disservice to the others who have also endeavoured to see that I am who I am today. My life story has been weaved like a mat. God has been on every stage bringing people to make an impact in my life. I regard them as angels without wings. Some have been able to give me money, others directions while others useful ideas.
During my primary school days, I had a music teacher called Ms Nambi who discovered my singing talent. She always gave me songs to sing on speech day and during other school functions. And that was how I developed an interest in music.

Besides her, there was my maternal grandmother who loved and cared for me. She was not able to pay my tuition but was always trying to find other people who were in a better position than her to help me.
Ms Ssenkali is one of those people I went to live with after leaving my grandmother’s home. Her residence then was located in Rubaga, a Kampala suburb. Although Ms Ssenkali was not a millionaire, her house was always open to any person who needed help. I am one of those she gave shelter at some point in life. She gave me life’s basic needs including food and water. Because we were very many children staying at her house, we were always fighting for her attention. Overtime, I developed self-esteem issues.

The outstanding star
When I made 12 years, I ran away from Ms Ssenkali’ s home and tried to find life on the street. And that was where I met a gentleman called Patrick who found me on the streets, hopeless and intending to commit suicide. Upon seeing me in tears, he asked me what the matter was and I was able to narrate my life’s sad tale of events.

He became deeply touched by my story. Later on that same day, Patrick stopped a taxi that was moving along the road and then instructed the taxi driver and conductor to take me up to World Trumpet Church in town. It was here at the church that I met different clergy leaders who encouraged me to walk up to the pulpit and share my life story.
I spoke about different things including not being able to continue school because I lacked sponsors. Right there, a man who later identified himself as Steven Bongo shot up his hand from the congregation and promised to take me back to school.

He fulfilled his promise and paid my school fees from Senior Two to Six.
On some occasions when I became stubborn, unserious or fell into trouble at school, Mr Bongo would always remind me that the future was in my hands and also, I was not (privileged) like the other students. Therefore, it was very important for me to take life and studies very seriously.
Another thing he kept reminding me of was to develop a more serious relationship with God, an idea I finally gave into during my Senior Three. This was when I gave my life to Christ.

Considerate and helpful
He was kind enough to introduce me to his different family members and these people were also very considerate and helpful towards me. Sadly, Mr Bongo died when I was sitting for my final Senior Six examinations. If I was to have zeroed down to one particular star of my life, this is the gentleman I would have picked. He was a great father figure who not ensured that I resume school but always gave me helpful advice from time to time.

To all those struggling in life, always find time to pray. You may ask people to help you and they choose to ignore you. Rather than rely on them, ask God to always help you. Personally, I prayed and God intervened in the situation by answering my prayers. Also, never lose hope, bury your dreams or judge a book by its cover. If someone comes along your way, don’t judge them but rather open your arms and heart to them.”

Who is Bugembe?
The 33-year-old is a singer, song writer and preacher at Light the World Church in Nansana. Some of his notable songs include yellow, njagala kumanya, kani, biribabitya, among others. He is the second born in a family of six boys. Four of his brothers, including both parents have since succumbed to HIV/Aids. Before becoming a pastor, Pastor Bugembe spent most of his life moving from one home to another and on the streets trying to fend for himself. Pastor Bugembe is a single man with no children.

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