By Joan Akello
President of International Community Banyakigezi
Who are in two sentences?
I am a child psychologist, not married but have a close family of five; two parents and three children.
What is your idea of perfect happiness?
Being with family. I love the reunions with my extended family. I love big families
Describe your family?
Both my parents are reverends in the Anglican Church.
What do you value in friends?
Loyalty and honesty.
What is greatest fear?
Embarrassing people who care about me. Both my parents are priests so I grew up in the church,so every neighbor knows you. What I do can reflect their career as priests.
What traits do you most deplore in yourself?
I am a perfectionist, do not trust others or delegate, which runs you down and make people say you are selfish, arrogant, and controlling.
Which living person do you admire?
My mother Rev. Can. Grace Nanyozi Ndyabahika. She was among the first three women to be ordained priests in Anglican Church of Africa.
What is your greatest extravagance?
Chocolate, clothes, and shoes.
What is your current state of mind?
Work.As a caretaker of 45 girls at Grace Villa, and as the new president of Banyakigezi. I am excited but also terrified because I am the first woman and youngest in the association.
Why do you help these girls?
Almost every single girl I have has been molested. They just run away and do not report. Men are penalised more for stealing potatoes than for molesting girls. This is very sad.
Onwhat occasion would you lie?
About my relationship; I would say I am single which is white lie. I am private about them.
What qualities do you admire in a man?
Smart, macho, but soft in the inside, successful but not rich, and nice to people.
What words or phrases do you over use?
I’m, like, so to speak.
Which talent would you most like to have?
Singing beyond home.
Your biggest wish?
Have children but I cannot because I am not married.
What is your greatest achievement?
Thinking about looking after vulnerable children and implementing it in two years.
What one thing changed you?
Some whites came to our place for a movie night and we watched the Night commuters. I cried and was embarrassed because it was about my country. It made me think about helping others. It was the vision of Invisible Children and unified effort of others to help people in Gulu.
In 2005, I joined the Invisible Children’s Gulu walk with four Ugandans and other Americans in Boston. We were about 120 students from Boston. We met in Washington and found thousands of others and met Senators. Senator Kennedy signed a letter saying I had done great work. I was very proud of myself.
What can you say to those staying abroad?
I love Boston; I was there for 20 years. Some people think I and other Ugandans are running away. I had a good job and circle of friends but it was not home. I came to Uganda because I had figured out what I want to do.
What do you miss from Boston?
The healthcare and education. I broke my bone in June in Kisoro and got an infection, have never heard of that in Boston. I used to teach; so when I compare to the schools in Kabale, you realise why these kids are struggling. That is what most people with kids say keeps them in the States.
What is your most marked characteristic?
People say I am friendly, happy most of the time and fight for those who need fighting for since I was a kid.
Who are your favourite writers?
Enid Blyton and authors of classics about people who start small; books that motivate one to dream, and also people who fought for other people. These helped us to be strong women.
Which books do you not read?
Romantic and self -help books.
Who are your heroes in real life?
What is it that you most dislike in people?
People who are pretentious, arrogant, and selfish.
What is your greatest regret?
I did not have a university college fun life because I was working to pay for my tuition. I wish I had done my undergraduate at Makerere University. I feel I missed a lot of connections whichpeople make at university and the whole culture.
How would you like to die?
Asleep; not a dramatic death.
What is your philosophy in life?
Do unto others what you want to be done to you. Love God.