~ Charles Kiyimba
15 Values That Made Our Mother Exceptional
I followed closely my mother’s way of living. The values I have listed below are not based on my personal opinion but facts. Those who knew her very well bear witness to what I am saying. Though she could have had bad values, I focused so much on the good values. These are values that success-conscious people should emulate.
She died seemingly a poor woman in the eyes of many. But to me, she died a very rich woman and fulfilled her dreams. She made us rich with her good values. These values will trickle down even to her progeny. If you live by these values, you will never die a mediocre in your society.
1. Record Keeping
I have never come across a person good at keeping records like my mother. She kept a record of everything: church contributions, daily income and expenditure, correspondences, wills/agreements, school reports, receipts, clan records, bank records, important happenings/events, souvenirs, certificates, name it. It’s quite unbelievable but true. Even the so-called educated people don’t have that kind of record. It requires a lot of time, a focused and visionary mind.
She kept a record of all the money she received and spent every day, every week, every month and every year in 32-page exercise books. The records start way back in the 1970s till the time of her death.
She kept a record of traditional medicines and what they cure. Every disease has a written description of how to mix the different types of herbs and the dosage to be taken.
She kept a record of all her ancestors and relatives in her clan. These include records of her great grandparents, the children they bore and their spouses. These records left out no clansperson unrecorded. Detailed information is written on her late father, paternal uncles, her siblings and the children they had. She was such a resourceful person in the clan.
She was trusted by many people who kept with her records of land agreements and personal wills. These were kept as confidential documents only known by her and the people who had a direct intervention in the matters.
She kept a record of all important happenings or events. With her records, you can easily know when presidents came into power and left power and what happened. She wrote down key events in her life like birth dates, weddings, death of relatives and what happened to her children at any given time.
She kept all the correspondences with her mother, siblings and children since 1960s. I can still see the childhood letters that I wrote to her when she was still in Kampala. I can also see my primary and secondary school reports and review my academic performance over the years. These records have kept our childhood memories live. We lost a very expensive person.
Our mother led her life in a goal-oriented manner. She was a focused person. She had a vision in her life and helped many others to become visionary. Although she had many other dreams at any given time and towards which she worked so hard to achieve, her primary vision was to make her children successful. This was evident in the words she shared with us and other people. It was evident in the written down prayers in which she never left out mentioning her children. It was evident in the way she worked hard, many times going without lunch, to look for money to take care of us. It was evident in the way she worked hard to buy land and other small plots that she endeavoured to develop. At no time did she lose focus. She did all that to prepare for Nassolo, Nassuuna and Charles. She sought support from others to fulfil her big dream. She pursued this dream until the time of her death. Many thanks; I believe we are far well-positioned to live a better life.
3. Being a Committed Catholic
My mother was so prayerful and so faithful. She prayed every day. She could not miss going to church unless when she was sick. She worked with and for the Catholic Church wherever she lived. She endeavoured to raise us with this good religious background that she also borrowed so much from her late mother, Cecilia Najjemba. She played for everyone: her children, her brothers and sisters, her relatives and her friends. When I was reading her writings, I discovered specially written prayers for specific people including me.
She formally asked us never to convert to any other religion even after her death. I do not doubt that we shall also die as catholic believers. May her soul rest in eternal peace!
She was a very determined person. She lived like a man. There is virtually nothing a man could do that she could not do. When she left her conjugal life, she made up her mind to work and look after her children. She never looked to any man to support her. She worked single-handedly to take care of herself and her children and to accumulate a few assets.
She never feared to tackle any difficulty. She was simple but hard-hearted. She embarked on all the problems she encountered with an irreversible heart. She pursued her dreams and wishes up to the end. She never succumbed to other people’s threats. She was not fearful and not easy to scare. She was tough. When faced with temporary defeats in life, she never withdrew and lost focus. Once, she caught a person who used to steal food in her garden and fined her Shs 60,000/=. When that person failed to raise that money, her husband had to part away with a piece of land in the local courts, which we have now.
Many times, she was seen as a tough woman. But her assertive nature was misinterpreted to be a tough person. She knew how to assertively say “No” to things she believed were wrong without annoying others.
6. Good Interpersonal Skills
Our mother related well with others and played an intermediary role amongst her clansmen. She made friends with many people. She respected other people though she disagreed with them in opinion sometimes. Our survival and the support we received depended largely on the good relationship she had with various people. She didn’t have permanent enemies. She forgave so easily those who annoyed and ridiculed her. She understood them so well. She never criticized them face-to-face.
Many times, she advised us to always keep quiet to people whom we told her had annoyed us. She often reminded me to always avoid arguing so much. She knew I was argumentative. She told me that winning an argument could eventually lead to a loss of friendship and hatred. She knew that everyone counted in life. She formally asked us to maintain the friendship she had and to keep a close relationship with our uncles, aunties and cousins. This is a written fact that I will personally endeavour to fulfil to the best of my knowledge and ability.
She planned for the future. Her plans were written down. She also communicated them to people around her. She had good plans on the future development on her land. She never wanted to stay away for extended periods because it could interrupt her plans. Even when she fell sick, she could force herself to do something. It’s because she was always committed to fulfil her plans at all cost.
Being generous was part of her. She was poor in material things but rich in the heart. She shared everything she had with neighbours and relatives. She was selfless. She could give without minding about tomorrow. One of my sisters once mentioned that the problem with mum was that she gave out the little we gave her and remained with almost nothing. Surprisingly, she gave but rarely asked us to give to her. Many times, she sympathized with us. Because of her generosity, many people thought she had a lot of money. On the contrary, she was a poor woman with just a rich heart.
My mother never amplified things to look good in the eyes of others. She never wanted to be what she wasn’t. She never promised what she could not afford to give. She was reliable and trustful. Her firm religious foundation enhanced her ability to live with others harmoniously. She recorded whoever she owed money and asked me to pay back immediately upon her death so as not to stay long in purgatory. She was credible. Credibility protected her. She never failed to get a credit. People easily lent her money to pay for our fees at school. They also entrusted her with important information and documents.
10. Hard Work
“I have never seen a person dying because of hard work”, she once mentioned when someone sympathized with us working under the scorching sun, clearing the thickly forested land where she lived until her death. She believed in working hard to earn a living. She never believed in harvesting from where she did not sow. She worked and worked hard up to the time she died. The assets she left behind were all out of her sweat. But the biggest asset she left with us is the value of working hard.
11. Offering Free Service
Our mother wanted money like any other person to cater for her personal needs and those of the people around her. But she was not solely driven by the need to acquire a lot of wealth. She did a lot of voluntary work to the church and to people, including her relatives. She worked for the wellbeing of others and the community in which she lived.
12. Good Advisor
Our mother, being the firstborn in their family, knew what it meant to live by example to others. She, by her birth position, possessed excellent leadership skills. She advised almost everyone on issues of marriage, will making, raising and educating children, religion, personal development and many others. Some people used to run to her for advice and moral support. They believed in her because of her integrity, life experience and sound reason.
She never discriminated us on any ground. To many people, it appeared like she loved more her son Charles than my elder sisters. But practically, she treated us equally. Although she had a close working relationship with her young brother George W. Mulindwa, she treated all her siblings the same. She left her estate to the three of us. She cautioned us not to divide it up, never to let it out or sell it.
14. Decision Making
Our mother was so decisive. Though she didn’t undergo enough formal education, she commanded a lot of respect due to her good reason. She was sober all the time and made her decisions objectively based on facts and not on unfounded people’s opinions. For instance, she stood up to make sure that her late father’s last funeral rites took place as mentioned in his will. It wasn’t easy but she fought tooth and nail, had sleepless nights, influenced relatives, disregarded baseless reasons and pursued it to the end. The fact was that her late father (our maternal grandfather) had a will. Besides, it’s within the Kiganda norm to organize the last funeral rites for a deceased grown person.
Our mother loved us, loved her parents, siblings and friends. She could not spend long without visiting them wherever they were. She participated almost on every good and bad occasion. She told us to love our relatives and allowed us to visit relatives on our paternal side. She made me realize that love is not taught in school but through associating with lovely people. The more she loved others the more they have loved us. We are very sure that we shall continue to enjoy the fruits of her love for others.
Our Mother’s Personal Profile
Mary Kevin Nakacwa was born on 16th May 1937 to the late Aloysius Lubega Muteza Ssalongo and Cecilia Najjemba. She died on 12th December 2013 and was buried on 14th December 2013 at Kirimya, Masaka.
She was the firstborn in her father’s family. She was born with 17 other siblings, 6 of whom are dead. She went to school but dropped out at an early age. Her father’s mindset, shared by many parents at that time, was that spending money to educate a girl child was wastage of resources.
At 20 yrs old, she got married in church to the late Emmanuel Kayemba in 1957. Their marriage didn’t last long due to an unforgettable happening that led to their separation after giving birth to 3 children: Nassolo Josephine, Nassuuna Veronica and Charles Kiyimba. Immediately after their marriage, they bought a piece of land in Kidda, Masaka. The young couple was very hard working. They developed the land. They built a house. They planted coffee and bananas. The landlord became jealous. He disowned them and denied selling to them that piece of land. Unfortunately, they had no written agreement. They were forced to leave through the courts of law and ended up losing all their investment. This was a very big drawback in their conjugal life and to the children as well. It led to their separation.
My father, Emmanuel Kayemba, had no other option but to return to his parents’ home in Kasaka, Buwunga, Buddu. Mary Kevin Nakacwa found it hard to stay at her in-laws’ home. She opted to look for another way of survival. She took her 3 children to her mother and other able and willing relatives. Neither my father nor my mother married again until the time of their death. My mother finally went to Kampala where she worked so hard to earn a living and to educate her children.
She worked hard to maintain us in school. My elder sister, Nassolo Josephine, due to a serious sickness in her childhood that damaged her brain, could not progress any further in education. Nassuuna Veronica, after completing Primary Seven, was taken to a vocational institution. I studied up to when I obtained a bachelor of education degree with her financial and moral support.
While in Kampala, where she spent quite a long time working, she developed the idea of returning to Masaka, thanks to the advice and support of her late mother, Cecilia Najjemba, and young brother, George William Mulindwa. She used her savings to buy a piece of land in Mayangayanga, Matanga, just a stone throw from her late mother’s land. In 1976, she returned to Masaka and embarked on developing her land, where she lived up to the time of her death.