The years preceding the NRM in 1986 were very difficult. It was chaos especially in Teso; cattle raids from the cattle rustlers were increasing. During that same period, Vero my follower was born. A lot of people were moved into camps as the new government was trying to deal with the many armed rebel groups that had taken advantage of the inefficiency of the previous governments.
For us, disaster struck at home, we lost Sata our firstborn and Vero my follower. Toto (my mother) rarely talks about it. What I know is that, they both died a few month apart under similar circumstances. During those tough days, it was hard to access the hospitals; transport was very difficult to come by. The easiest would be getting someone to carry you on a bicycle.
On both fateful nights, there was no one to take her to hospital and she had to walk for over 15 Kms to get to Kumi Hospital with Epurijo (my Grandmother) unfortunately Sata passed on the moment they got there, the doctors said they were 15 minutes late. That was the same for Vero. I have asked my self why they had to die and I was spared. It could have been me, God in His sovereign power, spared my life for a reason. Now I know why, so that I could preach the gospel of His Son Jesus.
Loosing a child is hard but its even harder for a mother, Toto didn’t quite recover from it and she partly blamed my father for it. She says he wasn’t there when he needed her. She didn’t take it lightly, she wanted out of the marriage. I was young but at least I remember that meeting, the elders from Kajamaka crossed Agurut Swamp that separated both villages to attend the divorce meeting at Abubur.
I don’t know what was discussed, but I know that in Teso divorce is rare especially were both parties involved are Iteso. It was the first time I was seeing my Uncle David and he seemed bitter, my dad met mum through him and he felt the blame was on him and it was him that wanted my mother to leave. Both grandparents didn’t want my mother to leave her marital home. They said God had left her with a boy who would be a blessing to her and that she shouldn’t fear.
My mother was determined to go away, but there was a condition. She had to leave me behind, now that was below the belt. After loosing two girls then she looses her only living child that was a no. My maternal grandmother, Ejuleri begged her to stay for my sake. She told her something that scared sense into her, “If the two girls died when you were right here, how much longer will it take for this boy to die in your absence.” She was right.
That is what ended the meeting and she stayed because of me. She endured so that I could be here writing to you. Indeed God had a plan but no one in that meeting could see it but Jesus. She stayed on as she taught at Kumi Township Primary School that was early 1989. Then one morning, Toto woke me up and said I should quickly put on my little shoes. I thought the rebels had come into town and we had to flea again because that is what used to happen almost every week.
This time it wasn’t the rebels and she really didn’t want to explain. She carried a little bag that had all our belongings and we walked out of the house in the dark in the wee hours of the morning to a lonely and feared market called Odelo, which was a host spot for rebel ambushes. It was really cold and I was trembling in my little sweater. A few minutes later a vehicle came, mum tried to stop it but the driver only sped off.
A couple of vehicles came by but they equally refused to stop. Then a huge truck came and we could hear the roaring of its engine and this time mum didn’t raise her hand like she did, she pulled me into the middle of the road and lifted both hands as thought to indicate that she had no weapon in her hands. The driver struggled to break and he shouted in a strange language, but she didn’t move until he came down. I dint know what they talked about but the next thing I know, this huge man with hairy hands lifted me off the ground like I was a toy and hulled me into the truck. I sat in between my mum and driver and all this time I didn’t understand where we were going and why we had to leave that early.
I also didn’t get why we left when it was dark, where is dad? I thought to myself. When we got to Soroti town, we got another vehicle to the Train station and there we boarded a train. I had never seen anything that long and hard. Where was this thing taking us, why isn’t dad here with us? How come we didn’t take all our things? Why in the night? When we sat, she pulled out her little blanket and covered both of us but she said nothing only beckoning me to sleep. But I had questions, so I couldn’t sleep.
And we know that all things work together for the good of those Him and are called according to His purpose. Romans 8:28
To Him who alone sits on the Throne, I write.
Pastor Mark A Odeke Mark For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To him be the glory forever! Amen. Romans 11:36