My Struggle (As An African Child) | Bishop McAllister College & Bishop McAllister Anglican Seminary

By Mujurizi Coleb 

My name is Mujurizi Coleb. I was born in 1989 in a small village of Masheruka, Bushenyi district in the western part of Uganda. Born in a family of 5. One sister and three brothers and I am the youngest of all. I'm born to Mr.Timugira Phenehas (R.I.P) and Mrs.Merab Timugira. I grew up in a less fortunate but loving and God fearing family and I am where I am now because of God's love and grace. My story is no different from the stories of any other young boys and girls who've grown up in extreme poverty and illnesses in a typical rural setting. The only good thing about me is that I've kept positive no matter what I've gone through in life. We grew up to learn that our dear dad was deaf. Deaf and dumb!(Couldn't speak nor hear.) When we asked our granny, what had happened to our dad, she told us, he was attacked by the deadly meningitis when he was young. It's this killer disease that made him lose his voice and ears. But he was a very hardworking man. He was very creative. Without any education but he did great stuffs in our village. I was so proud of him. He could make local stools, pestles, hoe handles, local big spoons, machete handles from wood. He'd do all this local carpentry to maintain his large family. The only level of education we could all attend was primary level. Because that's what he could afford to give us. All my brothers dropped out of school after finishing Primary school and I was the only one still in school. I was still young and in lower primary. I knew that I'd also drop out when I finish primary but that never barred me from working hard in class. I was a very bright student. Always took the first position in class. All my teachers were proud of me.

 I finished Primary Seven in 2002 and when the national examination results were released, I had performed very well in my village school and the entire county. I had aggregate 8 in 4 subjects. None had ever scored this at my Primary school. Time to join Secondary School reached and school fees were nowhere to be seen. I couldn't blame my unprivileged parents because I also understood the situation which was around us. Secondary school was very expensive. Only moderately rich parents could afford sending their kids to school after primary level. But I had a dream. I wanted to be the first in my family to join secondary school though I knew there was no money for this. But there was this saying that If you believe, You can achieve. I let it stick in my minds. I believed I was going to join secondary school. So I was told about some Anglican school in a distance that offered sponsorship schemes to orphaned and bright students. But my case was very different because I was not an orphan. I was just a disadvantaged bright kid born in a less fortunate family. I went and talked to the Principal of the school (Rev.Canon Paul Jeffries) and explained to him my situation. He told me he was sorry, the scholarships were for kids who never had parents. I asked him for only one favour which he granted me. To study for one term and if I beat all the students in class, he would retain me, pay my school dues, but when time for holiday reaches, I'd stay behind at school and work in the school garden for my school fees. Remember I had reported late for the term when others had already reported. So it was very difficult to catch up with the rest of the class and then beat them at the end of the school term. Thank God, I worked so hard and I was the best student in class. Rev. Canon Paul Jeffries, the school Principal was very happy for me. I stayed at school digging in the hot sun with other few students when the rest broke off for their termly holidays. I did this for the solid four years in Ordinary Level and the other two years of my Advanced Level Education. It's this school that introduced me to Computer Studies. I developed passion for computing and I even excelled in the subject during my Ordinary Level exams with a distinction One (D1). 










(1st Photo: Coleb is standing directly behind Tr. Annibo sitting in wheelbarrow on left / 2nd Photo Coleb is wearing blue sweater 2nd row on left)

The days I could spend in the hot sun digging and doing all the manual labour on school construction sites are still fresh in my memories. It's those days that encourage me to keep on working harder and harder. I performed very well at O-level and kept in the same school for another two years(A-Level) (photo Coleb Senior Six - 2008)

So, after my A Levels, my big hearted Principal couldn't afford to push me ahead up to University and I was stuck and frozen. I surely wanted to join the university and pursue my dream of becoming an IT SPECIALIST but university tuition was the only hindrance. I packed my clothes and jumped onto a bus to the city (Kampala) to look for some job that would enable me raise my tuition. That was in late 2008. As you very well know, that jobs in Uganda are very difficult to find and when you are lucky to get one, it's paying peanuts. My first job was attending in a Super market in town. The pay was very low but I was focused to save every penny I get. I worked there for about 3 months and collected about 200,000 UGX. I used this little money to enroll for a short certificate course in Computer Maintenance, Repair and Networking. It was 2009 and my fellow high school leavers were enrolling for University. I had not gotten the money, so, I painfully let that year bypass me. I was hurt but had nothing to do but to continuously work hard such that I enroll the next year(2010). In April 2009, I got another odd job in one brewing company(EABL-Uganda). As a casual labourer, the wages were very little but I managed to save and by the end of the year, I had raised about 700,000UGX. I used this money to buy a second hand laptop from a friend who had returned from Iraq as a security guard attached to American bases. My friends laughed at me that I was extravagant but I knew what I were doing. I never lost my focus. 

When the next academic year knocked(2010/2012), I applied to get admitted in University and I sold off my modern Toshiba satellite laptop at a profit of 25% and used the money to pay for my first tuition fees. Critics said I'd never manage paying for my university education since I had no good paying job and University is expensive. I never paid attention to them. I continued with my saving habits and starved myself from any luxuries. I must admit it's not been easy for me but I've fought like a soldier.

I finished the first year. It was very hectic to balance work and school but I tried my level best. Worse still, my school was a bit distant from where I was working from. I found expensive on transport bills. Commuting to school daily in a passenger taxi meant that I was going to spend all I was earning on transport bills and would not get tuition fees. I acquired a sport bike to save on transport bills. 

Every evening, I could ride through the heart of this congested city from work to school amidst heavy traffic and careless road users. Getting knocked down by careless motorists while I rode to school wasn’t strange. It happened so often but thank God, I used to survive these minor accidents. My classes ended at 9pm, sometimes at 9:30pm and I had to ride back home or straight to the brewery if I was on night shift. (At the brewery, we could work in shifts. One week, you are on day shift, another week, you are on night shift). If it was a week for night shift, I would leave school and head to work after 10pm, work through the night, sleep in the morning for a few hours and wake up to prepare to ride to school again. This was my cycle! “Work –School-Few Hours Of Rest –Work- School-Few Hours Of Rest”. I did this, day in, day out for the entire 3 years I was at the University.

In June 2013, I finished my university degree programme and graduated in October the same year with a Second Class Upper Degree in Computer Science. I was less by very few points to scoop a first class degree. I was very comfortable with my performance though. I thought to myself that I was going to get a first class degree if I was settled down in class like the rest of my classmates. But I was always up and down, looking for tuition fees.

My old struggling dad had passed on in March 2011. It was a deep blow towards me. I wanted him to live to see his son a successful man and enjoy the fruits of his son's sweat. But God always does HIS things in a different way. I am sure he is up in heaven watching over me. I strive to make him proud everyday. 

After my graduation, things have never been the same again. A lot of doors have opened for me. Earlier this year, I left the brewery where I had worked as a casual labourer for five solid years. I got a new job which fitted my line of profession in the upscale Nakasero, Kampala. I am an IT Support Engineer for MCash (U) Ltd, (http://mcash.ug/), an e-banking company that offers secure high end banking services to clients. While at Mcash Uganda, I have continued to learn and grow my Computer Science skills and better myself in various areas. 

Earlier this year too, I won a fully paid Scholarship to study a Masters Degree in Computer Systems and Networks in Chalmers University Of Technology, Gothenburg Sweden. Thanks to the Swedish government for this life-changing opportunity. This August, I will be off to Sweden for two years to do this Masters programme and upon completion, I hope to return home as a better person in the technology sector and share the acquired knowledge and skills with my fellow countrymen.

 I have plans of, one day, returning and giving back to my former school, Bishop McAllister College-Kyogyera, because it is the one that prepared me for all this! It installed the discipline, patience, fear of God, hard work and determination in me. I will forever be grateful to Kyogyera and to Rev.Canon Paul Jeffries for he prepared me to be the man I am despite all the hurdles I have met. I thank God too for the beautiful and kind people he has surrounded me with. Without them, I wouldn’t have the strength to survive.

And a message, to my fellow young men and women who have struggled like me: Work hard, strive for excellence, be patient and positive about life, stay in school, don’t do drugs. And most important of FEAR GOD because the bible says that the fear of God is the beginning of all wisdom.

God Bless You All.

Coleb


 

 

 

© BMCK 2017                                                                                                Created by Ainebyoona Annibo (ainebyoonaannibo@gmail.com)