Like the bigger percentage of her neighbors and friends in Matusa village, Kakoge, Luweero district, Eseri Namugga was abandoned by her husband of over twenty years and left to fend for her six children without any real source of income.
Namugga got married in 1997 and soon after had seven children. Unfortunately, one passed from seizures. A few months of bliss were followed by a turbulent marriage that involved physical and verbal abuse. Several years of neglect and torment later, he walked out on her for the last time, never to come back, leaving her to raise their six young children alone.
“We fought a lot and he used to beat me. He was never a good man, so eventually when he left; I decided to raise my children. He doesn’t provide anything. He comes around once in a while but he does not stay long. Even when the children fall sick, he cannot offer any money for medication claiming they are my children and he never told me to give birth.” She says.
Reporting her abuser to the police had once crossed her mind but he threatened to kill her if she did, and this is something she knew he was capable of, so she suffered in silence for over ten years until her parents-in-law intervened.
“His father and mother told him to stop mistreating me or else they would take him to Luzira themselves,” she narrates. “Our woes started when he did not want to build a house. Back then; we used to stay in a single roomed house in same compound as my father-in-law. He always made money and spent it with his other women only to come back drunk to beat me. What’s worse, he wanted us to get intimate all the time in that one room even when our children had gotten older. I couldn’t take that embarrassment. His parents forced him to build a new house. They gave him this land and told him to build a house. He started to chase me out saying that he wanted to bring his real woman. I took him to the LC 1 chairman he stopped and just left.”
Since his estrangement, Namugga supports herself through subsistence farming on her small piece of land. To make money for school fees and medication, she tills other people’s gardens for close to 6 hours a day.
“My biggest challenge is educating the children. I want to educate my children very well. For now, they are in UPE schools but I wish I could take them to another school. The administration is patient with me and they are understanding of my situation”
Namugga hopes that her children will get a better life than she did. She works hard to pay school fees for them because she believes education is their only chance of survival.