Oh Ugandan Little Girl

Recently I attended a medical outreach camp with the Rotaract Club of Kampala in the western region of Uganda. In the small community of Munteme we were a part of a medical outreach day that included HIV testing, blood donor station, basic medical observations for referral, dentistry and in my case immunisation sensitisation and mobilisation.

Munteme communityWe were greeted whole heartedly by the Munteme community with speeches, music, sports events and general hospitality.

It was in the morning speeches that a school group appeared singing us welcome songs and dancing. Then after one of the songs four girls stepped forward and recited a poem. I sat there with a large smile on my face ready to receive the poem which I presumed would be some heart-warming welcome or similar. Instead it was a very honest, real and truthful recount of what a huge number of Ugandan girls face everyday.girls reciting poem

As I listened to the words of the poem I had instant flashes of my own nieces and women in my family and from Australia who thankfully have never had to face most of the challenges they spoke about. The sense of injustice struck me like a lightening bolt. The information wasn’t anything I hadn’t known before but it was something the girls and women in my own country usually don’t have to face everyday as an adolescent girl and absolutely something I and the vast majority of males never have to face in their lifetime.Munteme crowd

My tears were thick, compassionate, desperate and unstoppable. The flood of images and memories of so many girls and women I have seen around the world carrying water, collecting firewood, cooking endlessly, doing everything for everyone and then also face the side I often don’t see but know – the heavy hand of violence, sexual violation, discrimination and life just being that much more difficult, just for being female.

100_0397Conditions for females around the world and particularly in Africa are improving but my heart is heavy when so many girls and women have suffered so much in the past and still continue to suffer each day.

After the poem I made sure I went and thanked the girls for their poem and told the effect it had on me and why. I also got to share this with their head teacher who had written the poem and said that I wanted a copy to share with others – hence this blog and his poem below.

head teacher & poem writerI’m not sure it will have the same effect on you not having it read to you by the girls it speaks of but it is a very real and powerful poem that hit me at the right place and right time for me to continue to do what I can to see a world without inequality and with justice, opportunity and happiness for all regardless of which gender you are born into.

Thank you to the beautiful girls and teacher who filled me with emotion and for those emotions to pour out so I could learn and act upon them.

100_0380

A Ugandan Girl

Oh Ugandan little girl, little girl
Born alone and alone in a family
A family often with wolves
Wolves ready to ruin your future

Oh Ugandan little girl, little girl
In every family you are the mother, father, son, daughter and servant
Very early you wake up
Leaving others snoring in their blankets

Oh Ugandan little girl, little girl
Fetching water, preparing tea, grazing goats, cleaning the compound
Are your daily activities
Then you run to school minus any food

Oh Ugandan little girl, little girl
Lateness, absenteeism, sexual harassment, rape, child sacrifice, early marriage
Are your rewards
What a great mess!

Parents, political leaders, religious leaders, teachers, communities
Do the needful to save this Ugandan little girl

 

Composed by Kembabazi John, Head Teacher, St John Bosco Munteme School

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About lunny06

Experiences are the richest thing in life. Love them and live them.
This entry was posted in 2013 Life, Uganda and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Oh Ugandan Little Girl

  1. Rochelle says:

    Wow, what a powerful poem.
    It was felt regardless of recital. I think I would have bawled, too.

    • lunny06 says:

      Thanks Rochelle. In the post I’m not saying every Ugandan world lives like this but to know it exists anywhere and to hear it from the mouths of those who live it can’t shrugged off. So not to fall into a pit of desperation people can do something… they might like to join up to an active and effective organisation like RESULTS http://results.org/ 😉

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