GOD SHOWS ME THE WAY — WITH A LITTLE HELP FROM MY FREINDS
By Buyinza Morgan & Edited by Vincent Lyn
We all thought our lives were a punishment, curse and a mistake but God was preparing me for a greater service.
My name is Buyinza Morgan from Uganda in East Africa. I was born in Lusolo village in Kassanda District. I have 2 brothers and 3 sisters, one sister has been suffering from hydrocephalus (buildup of fluid in the cavities (ventricles) deep within the brain) the entire 10 years she has lived on earth. I was born into poverty, a family that couldn’t afford the basic necessities but however I am thankful to my parents because they gave birth to me and although my mother was very young, still a teenager herself she did all she could to see me grow.
My village doesn’t have a primary school, a few people can speak and write English, 97% of our population is totally illiterate, I just realized that it is the main cause of the bloodshed, child abuse, insecurity, unemployment, arrogance, domestic violence, and torture in my village. We sit in the bushes to run after birds and whistle to animals. We have no clothing to wear and could dress in rugs if we had them. Personally I only knew that shoes existed when I was 5 years old. We didn’t have any prospect for a better future, many of my friends died before they experienced their 5th birthday due to diseases and lack of even basic health care, malnutrition, famine, malaria and so many other causes that haunt tropical sub-saharan Africa. I realized that I was alive merely by chance because I was subjected on a daily basis to all those causes of possible mortality. We went to our small garden every morning that my grandfather had given my father to grow food for the family. I remember it was very far from where we stayed a few miles walk through dense terrain, day in day out but we had to walk it in order to survive to get the little food that the garden afforded us. I don’t remember a single day we had breakfast, it was only a word I heard growing up. We always ate our lunch very late and we always ate the same stodgy stale food for a time until the new harvests arrived.
We had village teams of playing sports and sometimes we organized inter-village matches for football using our craft like soccer balls. I was the goal keeper on my team and though I really wasn’t tall enough to play that position I enjoyed it nonetheless. Playing soccer was a reprieve from our hellish and tortured lives and some people used to come in the evening to watch us play just to spend some time hanging out with us after their duties in the evening.
One day a man came from Kampala (capital city of Uganda) who was looking for young talented kids to take to the capital city to play for different schools there. As we reached the finals against another village team called Nsololo (it’s our neighboring village), we were briefed about this offer that the winning team was likely to get. I had always heard a lot about Kampala and always dreamed to get there one day. People from Kampala who came to visit our village always looked so nice, had fine clothing and shiny shoes, and it laid a fire within me to want to excel and have the opportunity to be in school.
We both played very hard to win the game and many boys sustained injuries during the match. Finally the match ended in a draw and we had to go for penalty kicks, this felt like the pressure had been put on me to be the savior of the team. I’m sure everyone in that match felt how I felt inside them because all of the four first penalties were a success to each team. We both had one chance left. Successfully we scored ours and it was their turn to try and score against me, if I could keep my cool and not let the ball pass me then all would be good. The ball was placed on the penalty spot and all eyes were on me, I realized that my soccer shorts elastic waistband had broke and if I was to do any jumping or sliding it would fall off. The fact is that we had no under wear, none of us even had seen a pair let alone be privy to own a pair. Our uniform was simply a pair of raggedy old shorts, without a shirt or shoes. I looked at the referee and he was about to blow the whistle, I looked at my shorts, I thought of my friends who had all their hopes on me, I thought of Kampala and the school. The opponent finally kicked the ball and I decided to let the shorts fall off and with all my might reached for the ball with a mighty save. I was standing there with the ball clutched in my hands and my shorts down by my ankles but I didn’t care because my future was about to change or at least that’s what I thought. People laughed at me but I knew I would now be able to go to Kampala.
We were taken to Kampala as promised and it was like a dream to me, I remember a lot of the journey especially the beautiful trees and I can’t hide the truth but I became the first person in my family to get to Kampala the capital city of Uganda. And to think from my village to Kampala is approximately 80 miles and two hours by car and yet here I was the first in my family if not my village to travel there.
I was taken to a primary school called Winsa in Buloba Bukasa, Wakiso District in Uganda. I met many children at this school from all kinds of families, I learnt how to read and write, how to pray, make friends, speak in public and write songs. I remained there for seven years, life was challenging but I was happy, my happiness came after conquering difficulties, living without parents is not an easy thing at all.
I passed my primary national examinations also called PLE here and asked myself what would happen next because I had to leave for high school, I was 13 years old by then. I remembered the harsh life at my village and I didn’t want to go back. I saw no way out since I didn’t have any money or anyone to help me pay for the next level in my schooling. I thought all was done by then.
After a period of time I found out that I had gotten a scholarship at Extreme High School in Namayumba, Wakiso District. This particular school teaches orphans and some other children that are able to pay. I was so happy to enroll in high school. I had to work in the school garden to cover my school bills and I struggled a lot in class to maintain my grades so that I could maintain my bursary. We worked in the garden every morning well into the evening many days toiling in the hot sun and even throughout the holidays as other children went back to their homes to have their holidays with their families. Why was I being made to suffer like this while many children who were not on the working program made fun of us while others felt pity? We worked rain or shine to grow food, build classes, make bricks, dig ponds and so many other activities. We had to do all this with no option because it was the only way for us to be in school, I realized later that all this was to prepare me for something greater.
Many people always came to visit our school and to volunteer. One day in November, 2016 Mr. Vincent Lyn showed up at out school and he became the turning point in all of this. He stayed with us for some time, taught us a lot and we discussed a lot. I learnt a lot from him, he was so approachable and humble and genuine, he spent time with us on our gardens where we worked. He gave us hope and encouragement. He had many brave stories to tell us of his world travels spreading love. He made me think I can be important, he made me feel that what I was going through was temporary. He gave us scholastic materials and did a lot for us. I read like I had never read before, I remember sleeping only 2 hours in the night because I wanted to excel and pursue my dream. I excelled in my classes at Extreme high school, getting the best science grades in the district with one other friend of mine, we were offered a science program at the advanced level for a government aided school. I was offered biology, chemistry, agriculture, math and general paper (BCA/SM) was my combination.
It was while on vacation for my Advanced Level and COVID-19 struck and changed Uganda and the world. There was nothing to do to help us live, we had no way of earning money and hunger was going to kill us before the virus would kill us.
Another idea came to me of starting a garden at Lusolo. I went back and established a food garden using the agriculture skills I had learned, a few people came to help me with the work and the donations of support from Mr. Vincent. We established a garden and we were able grow a lot of food, little did I know that this was the only way God had planned to save my people from hunger and inevitably death. Most of the people in my village joined together and we worked communally to produce food. We are currently harvesting the fruits of our labor for over 120 people who are surviving on the garden that I began. I didn’t know I would be able to do that. Withe the help of Mr. Vincent and his colleague Mr. William Verdone we were able to buy us a cow that has been helpful with providing the dung for the manure. We have seen great success in our plants and we feel mighty blessed. I was going to study biomedical science but I decided to drop it after realizing that utilizing the resources we have we can already make our village the home of happiness.
I’m currently working amidst so many challenges but my heart is filled with hope and joy. We need to enlarge our garden in order to increase production of food. We are currently getting more food requests due to COVID-19, that it has made even those that would be able to get some food for themselves now unable. We need to construct a brick latrine for the garden, we need more tools to help in the garden. We need seeds to plant because without them nothing can be done.
I want to thank everyone who has given their precious time to read my story. I also want to thank those who advise, pray and support our garden work, I thank Mr. Vincent Lyn and his foundation WeCanSaveChildren.org in a special way for his continued support and encouragement. Sometimes I feel like giving up. Thanks for lifting me up whenever I’m almost about to faint with the challenges and obstacles that lay in front of me. I call everyone out there to be part of hunger eradication throughout the world. Starting from here, we can end hunger everywhere, and starting with you, everyone may not die from hunger anywhere.
CEO/Founder at We Can Save Children
Creative Director at African Views Organization
Economic & Social Council at United Nations
Middle East Correspondent at Wall Street New Agency
Rescue & Recovery Specialist at International Confederation of Police & Security Experts