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Personal History for Dorocas Kichere

Dedication Chapter

Title of Your Autobiography

My Journey - Peace in the Midst of the Storm.

Words of wisdom, favorite quote, or words to live by:

Work hard and never be deterred by adversity.

If you would like to be contacted by someone who reads your biography, please include a current e-mail address. Remember, it is entirely up to you if you would like to make your biography public and it is entirely up to you if you would like to include your e-mail address for others to contact you.

You may contact my grandsons, Moses Tugume and Andrew Mugarura. Moses lives in the United States of America and Andrew lives in Uganda, east Africa. and

Just The Facts

Please enter the date you began answering these questions.

I started answering these questions on 14th April 2006.

What is your name (first, middle, maiden name, last)? Do you like your name? If you could, would you choose another? What name would you choose? Who were you named for?

My name is Dorocas Kichere. My parents named me Tamuchobore. I didn’t like the name because it was of a Kinyarwanda origin. I chose to be named Dorocas Kichere. When I got married at the age of 16. I took on the name of my husband. I was then happy with both names.

Are you male or female?


In what country, state, and city were you born? What hospital?

I was born in Kabale-uganda in a place called Lubaya just five miles from the town of Kabale. I was not born in a hospital. That time all expecting mothers didn’t give birth in hospitals.They gave birth in their homes usually with the aid of their mothers or maternal relatives. We later moved from Lubaya to a place called Mwisi. The moving was due to the insecurity brought by the Abatwa fighting with the Tutsi of Rwanda.The fights were very dangerous and caused a lot of deaths.

What is your birth order?

I am the second born child of ten children. I don't know my birthdate.

How old are you today? How old do you feel?

I am not sure of my age but estimate to be 80 years now. I feel very old now. I have developed a lot of pain in my body which I think are associated with old age. I however want to live longer. I now want God to give me more years.

Do you speak any foreign languages?

I know Kinyarwanda because we used to go for Christain missions there. I don’t have a lot of interest in it but I can hear every thing in Kinyarwanda.

What is your birth date?

I don’t remember.

Are you right-handed or left-handed?

I am right-handed. All my children were right-handed. There was only a difference while digging. I taught all my children how to till the land because I believed it was a very important skill in life. We worked so hard like modern day tractors in order to get a good harvest so we could feed ourselves,store, and sell the rest of the produce. This included wheat,sorghum,beans,sweet potatoes,peas,millet,white maize or corn and Irish potatoes. I remember accidently hitting my daughter Pauline with a hoe as I took a swing to hit the ground.She had been playing and came running to meet the hoe head-on.She bleed so much from her head and she carries that scar to this date.

Are you near-sighted or far-sighted?

I'm far-sighted.

What is your height, your weight, your eye color? Do you wear corrective lenses?

I'm 5 feet 1 inch and weight about 180 pounds now with brown eyes. I do wear reading glasses.

What is your mate's name?

My husband the Late Festo Kichere passed away many years ago. I think 18 years ago.

What was your maiden name? If you are a woman and married, was it difficult to give up your maiden name and take your husband's name?

My name is Dorocas Kichere. My parents named me Tamuchobore. I didn’t like the name because it was of a Kinyarwanda origin. I chose to be named Dorocas. When I got married, I took on the name of my husband. It was not difficult to give up my maiden name and I was happy with my married name.

What is your anniversary date? How many years have you been married or were you married?

I don't remember my anniversary date and but think i was married for 45 years to my only husband, the late Festo Kichere.

Are you overweight or underweight?

I'm average weight and eat a lot of vegetables which include egg plants, carrots, greens, bitter egg plants, and occasionally some beef.

How many children do you have? What are their names? How old are they?

I had 16 children. Three are still living - John, Lydia and Paulina.

How many grandchildren do you have? What are their full names (first, middle, last)? How old are they?

I have 40 grandchildren and 8 great grandchildren.

What is, or was, your occupation?

I was a farmer and tilled the land for a living.

What is your race? What is your religion? What is your political affiliation?

I'm an African,an Anglican by religion and have no political affiliation of any kind.

Do you live in the suburbs, a city, a town, or in a rural area? What is the population? Do you live in an apartment, a house, a condominium, or a retirement home?

I do live in a rural area and now hire people to till my gardens for me since I'm old. I do still live in the same old beautiful brick farm house that my late husband and I built in the 1950's. I live with my daughter Lydia who chose to put her tailoring career in the capital city Kampala on hold to take care of me in this six bedroom house. She owns a cow and we get milk from it.

Are you allergic to anything? What is your blood type?

I'm not allergic to anything.

How would you describe yourself?

A faithful servant of Christ.

Your Family and Ancestry

List the names and birthdates of your mother, father, maternal grandmother, paternal grandmother, maternal grandfather, paternal grandfather and other great grandfathers and grandmothers. What did you call them?

I don’t remember the birthdates of my grandparents and I don't remember their names. My mother was called Dorothy Rushwiga. She was daughter to Tibihira. My mother was born in Rwanda where her family stayed. My father was called Isreal Rushwiga. His father was called Bangirana. Bangirana was son to Rwashegeza.

We were born ten children. Five girls and five boys. There are two girls living and only one boy remaining. The rest have passed away.

We were brought up in a very religious family. We lived together until some of them left to live with their families. However many of them passed away at a very early age. Our parents did love us to get an education. It is me who failed to go to school. I started digging and earning some money. I later accepted Jesus as my personal saviour at the age of 15. My mother belonged to the Abatare clan and my father was an Omuhesi. I later got married to Abarihira.

Do you have brothers and sisters? What are their names? When were they born? Do you remember the first time you saw them?

As I said we were born five girls and five boys. I don’t remember all their name but one of the boys was Steven Katabarwa. He was educated up to 8th grade. Another, Yosiga Bakina, was a capenter. lasimas Kakwavu was educated to the 7th grade and he became a church leader. Benon Kalagirwa didn’t go to school and the last of the boys was Bernard Balikyonda. Some names of my sister were Margaret Nyambuga, mabol Kabega. I don’t remember the name of my elder sister.

Where was your mother born? Where was your father born? What circumstances brought your parents to the place where you were born? Were there people already there whom they knew, or did they come into the community alone? Was the community welcoming to them?

My mother was born in Rwanda and my father was born in Kabale in a place called lubanda. We later moved to Mwisi due to the civil conflict between the Batwa and the Tutsi tribe of the Banyarwanda people. The Batwa are still living and they were a very hostile group. They were always killing the Tutsi people but the Tutsi people still produced children. They were chased away by the natives of the land and they lived very far in the hills and mountains.

Tell about your aunts and uncles. Did they play an important part in your growing up? Do you remember any special aunts and uncles?

Yes, my aunties played a big role in our upbringing. We saw them several times. They always came home and they guided us in many ways. I mainly saw my paternal aunties and uncles.

Did you play with your cousins? Who are some of the cousins you know best?

I remember some of my cousins. Many of them have passed away. I had a cousin called Buterere who was close to me. Katikili, Kanyima and Nyabanika are some few names I can remember.

Was there someone your family was particularly proud of?

Our family was particulary proud of a certain man who was called Zaburoni. He was from the Omuhesi clan. He was a strong businessman and he was so caring to other people’s things including cattle. He would could order his workers to keep somebody’s cattle in his farm until the owner would pick them up.

If you could do anything differently about your family, what would it be?

I never thought of doing anything differently from my family.

Did the family get together much casually, or did you have to travel and dress up to spend time together?

We used to leave home together on Sundays going to church. Apart from that, we were always leaving home to go and dig. We spent most of the time together as a family.

Was yours a religious family? Did you attend services together? Were these dress-up affairs?

Our family was very religious. We prayed and went to church all the time. We gave in our offering and a tenth of our earnings every Sunday. Our parents were God loving people and served the church with all their hearts.

Did your family say grace? Did you sit down at the table together for every meal?

We said the grace every time we had a meal. We always prayed to God for protection and his forgiveness. We sat together for any meal and we prayed before any meal.

Did your family take vacations? Did you go to the same place every year; a summer house or resort?


What was your relationship with your parents like? Would you describe it as warm? Formal? Loving? Stern? Demonstrative?

I had a very warm relationship with my parents and alawys obeyed whatever they told me to do.

Did your grandparents live nearby? How often did you visit their homes? Did their homes have a special cooking smell? Onions? Cookies? What did their couch feel like? How big was the kitchen? Describe their home as you remember it.

My grandparents lived far from where I was married. I seldom visited with them due to the long distance there was between our homes and there were no cars then.

Did your family ever have a reunion? What were some of the best reunions and why?

We always had a reunion on Christmas when all my children and grandchildren would come home to celebrate the holidays with us.

As a teenager, did you get along well with your parents, or was there trouble?

I did get along well with my parents as a teenager because I had accepted Christ at the tender age of fifteen.

How about your brothers and sisters? Did you get along with them? Do you remember ever playing a trick on your brother or sister? What pictures come to mind when you think about playing together?

We were raised to always respect our elders and this was further instilled in us by our father, Isreal. We loved and respected each other and shared chores in the house. There was not a lot of playing because we had to till the land and my other siblings had to go attend school. So it was work and prayer most of the time that dominated our lives.

Did someone in your family cause your folks more trouble than the rest?

Nobody in particular because my father was a strict man and anybody who misbehaved was handled by the cane (switch).

Have your pets been like family members, or just like animals? Did you ever have a dog that ran away? Try to list all the pets you've had through the years and their personalities.

My husband always kept dogs that would recognize him coming home miles away and considered them more like family. I didn'y care so much about pets but considered them like animals.

Did anyone in your family do handiwork? Needlework? Wood work? Was anyone particularly mechanical or artistic?

My brother was a carpenter.

What did your dad do for a living? Your mom? Your grandparents?

My dad was an evangelist and also a business man. He was very helpful to the first white Christian missionaries that came to East Africa based at Gahenyi- Rwanda. My mother was a house wife and helped in tilling the family farm. My grandparents were hunters.

Were you considered rich, poor, or middle class? Were times ever tough for all of you, or was it always smooth sailing? Did you have to go without things that your friends had?

I don't think we were considered rich but we had all the food we needed and tilling the land and harvesting what we planted was our way of life. We never looked at our friends having more than we did since we always shared food, but we did not share our cow skin clothes.

What was it like when you took your mate to meet your family? Were they welcoming or standoffish?

My parents took on my husband with pity because he was an orphan without a family. They were welcoming and liked his ambition.

Was there one moment when you felt that your parents and siblings accepted your mate as a family member?

When they welcomed him into the family by slaugthering a cow and performing a traditional dance in his honor.

What are the treasured pieces of furniture or family heirlooms that belonged to your parents or grandparents?

My grandfather's spear and wooden stool are some of the treasured pieces of our family.

Looking back, do you think your parents were happy with the circumstances of their lives?

My parents were very content with their lives and faith in Christ. My father drowned on one of his mission trips to Rwanda and despite it all, we knew he had gone to be with the Lord. We stood firmly in our faith in Christ.

The House of Your Growing Up

Do you have warm feelings about the childhood home that you remember the most?

I have a lot of warm feelings about my childhood. We grew up in a very educative community. We learned a lot from our parents and elders in society. This is not shown in the communities of today. Young children don’t even have respect for elders. We grew up respecting and helping our parents. I really have warm feelings about my childhood home.I wish I could turn the clock back but God has been merciful to me and my family through all the circumstances he has taken us through.

What did your home look like? Apartment, walk-up, condominium, or house? What was the color? Was it stone, wood - other? One story or two?

My father was a very strong man. He liked good things. We were born in a grass thatched house but later my father built a more improved brick and stone house with iron sheets. My father later bought small chairs for our home. The homes were built using soil mixed with cow dung. They looked very beautiful.

What did you look out onto?

I looked out onto getting a good caring husband and raising my God given children into God fearing and very hardworking people. This I did to the best of my ability. Not a single child of mine was ever lazy. They all grew up to be very productive children in society. I taught all my children how to till the land and I believed it was a strong skill for them. My husband and I ensured all our children - apart from the first born Jessica - earned Diplomas in various fields of study. My second born son got a scholarship to study at Oxford Universit in Great Britain.

What was your bedroom like?

My bedroom was a regular one. We always kept our bedroom clean. We made our beds every morning before heading out to the fields.

Did you share it with your siblings, or was it cozy by yourself?

I sometimes share it with my siblings more especially when we had visitors usually relatives coming to spend a night at home.

Can you remember the pictures that hung, wallpaper, carpeting, etc.? Can you remember your telephone number and address?

In our house, we used to hang things like mats, baskets, spears and many other traditional items. They really looked beautiful. We also put up pictures of ourselves or our parents in the sitting room.

What did you do to make your room your own? Did you sleep with a stuffed animal or doll? What was your animal or doll's name?

I never had any stuffed animal or anything of the like in my bedroom.

Can you remember what you daydreamed about in those days?

I never daydreamed about anything. I just moved out to help my parents all the time.

What time did your mail come? Was it exciting anticipating the mail? Can you remember anything in particular that you received that was special?

I never used to receive mail. If there was a message for me from a friend, it was normally hand delivered probably by somebody I know. I would definitely be excited by a good message and could also be set low by a bad message.

Was security an issue? Did your parents keep the door locked or did family and friends come and go with the door unlocked?

We kept our doors closed. We secured our animals in time. We had hostile groups around us. We had the Abatwa who were fond of destabilizing people in our area.

How old were you when you were first trusted with a key?

I was sixteen.

Did your family eat at the kitchen table or in the dining room? What food conjures up the best childhood memories for you?

Our family ate both in the living and dining rooms since we were many children. We sat on mats made out of cow hides. My father sat on his stool.

What do you remember having in the refrigerator growing up? Could you graze freely or eat only at meal times?

We never had electricity so we kept clean drinking water in clay pots.

What was your parents' room like (beds, bedspreads, easy chairs, etc.)? Did you spend much time in their room with them? Were you allowed to rest in their bed when you were sick?

My parents room was crowded with spears, cow skins and cow ghee. We only went there to bid my father good morning before we went off to the till the fields at 4.00 in the morning. Whenever any one of my siblings was sick they spent a night in our parents room where my mother kept a cold cloth on their heads to cool the high temperature. There was a lot of malaria. My mother used to chew bitter herbs and would spit the solution directly into the mouth of whoever was sick.

Was there much music in your house or was it relatively quiet? What type of music, if so? Did you play a Victrola, radio, record player, boom box, CDs?

There were nights when we would dance for our parents and the music instruments of choice were drums, plutes and a kigezi guitar.

Was there a lot of talking going on? Did you feel part of the adult conversation?

Our parents taught us to stay away from conversations that involved adults and our parents in the house. We would come in and kneel down exchange greetings with the visitors and go about our business or go to the kitchen. I never felt part of the adult conversation and didn't want to either because this was considered to be of poor morality.

Was there any place in your house that scared you (the basement, attic)?

The place I feared was being outside the house after everybody was inside the house. There were wild animals like wolves and lions roaming the area around our house, especially around our kitchen, and eating the left over bones from our meals.

Was there any place you felt was really "your spot," felt comfy alone or maybe a hiding spot in Hide'N Seek?

No place in particular I can remember.

Did you have a lawn? Have to mow it? Did you have gardens of flowers, vegetables or herbs? Did you help care for them?

We did have a lawn and mowing it was one of the boys chores. We had a garden for vegetables and herbs. My mother and sisters cared for this garden.

What kind of chores were you required to do for the family?

I was required to make sure there was enough cooking water in the house, sweep the house, and till the gardens.

What was your favorite season at your house? Do you remember summer as too hot or exhilarating and perfect? Did you swim a lot in the summer? Did you ski or do winter sports in the cold weather?

The mornings are always cold and foggy here in Kabale.

Were there books in evidence around your house? Was there a special room in the house considered the "library"? Which of your parents' books and magazines do you remember reading?

The only books that were in our house were hymn books and Bibles. That is all I read.

Were you or your parents interested in the news? Which news stories made the greatest impression on you?

My parents were interested in the news but we didn't even own a radio. They relied on information from traders outside our community for the latest news from the city or the neighboring countries. I remember the news that we had gained independence from the British crown in October of 1962 made the greatest impression on me.

Where were the telephones in your home? Were you allowed to stay on the phone as long as you wanted or was there a time limit?

We never had phones by our time. I don’t even remember ever seeing a phone anywhere. In our house, we used to hang things like mats, baskets, spears and many other traditional items. They really looked beautiful. We also put up pictures of ourselves or our parent in the sitting room.

Which door did you use mostly? Front door, back door, kitchen door, side door? Was there usually someone there to greet you when you came home?

We used the back door mostly and whoever got home first from the gardens prepared drinking water and dinner for everybody. The greeting was a must, too.

What time did you usually eat dinner? Was the family all together?

We usually had dinner at 10.00 pm after reading bible stories and the family was always together.

Were you proud of your house or shy about having friends over?

I was proud of my house beacause it was a grass thatched house.

Did your parents have friends over often? Can you remember them having parties? Where did everyone gather? Did company come often for meals?

My father was a very prominent man and always settled social disputes between clan members and so there was always people coming to the house with issues for him to settle. We usually had company over for meals.

What time of the night do you remember your house getting quiet and preparing for sleep?

The house was usually quiet at midnight.

Did relatives or boarders live with your family? What were their quarters like? Were you allowed in there?

We never had borders living with us but relatives occassionaly stayed overnight enroute to their destinations.

Do you remember your house having a particular scent (cooking smells, aroma of flowers, laundry scents)?

Our house had a smell of cow dung, cow-ghee, and cooking smells.


Who were your best friends in your neighborhood? Do you still know them or know what happened to them?

Many of my friends have passed away. I had many friends with whom I attended church courses. When I got married and moved some distance off home, we had little contact. I remember one of my very good friends. She was called Dorothy like my mother.

Did you play at your home, theirs or mostly in playgrounds, the streets, fields?

I never played a lot. Our parents were more interested in teaching us how to work than playing. I was always to wash cups and plates when I was young. I don’t remember anything stupid that I did during my childhood. Many times I visited my friends when I was not busy. I like exchanging ideas with my friends.

What do you remember about your friends' houses and families?

My father was a prominent businessman. He always liked good things. I remember he strived very much to build a house with ironsheeting. I remember we were the first people to build such a house in our area.

Did you have a secret path you used to take to meet your friend?

I don’t remember any secret path I took while going to visit my friends. What I remember is that we always took short cuts whenever we went out visiting friends from a far. We had to cross through mountains and get to where we wanted.

Did you play house? Were you the mother, father, doctor, etc? Did you play stickball, ice skate, play basketball or baseball (what position did you play)? Did you go to the library?


Was there a neighborhood bully? Did that bully ever hurt you?


Did you have a nickname? How did you get it? Has it stuck with you?

No, I never had any nickname.

What sidewalk games did you play? Did you collect anything (bugs, baseball cards, marbles, etc.)?


Did you have pets? What were their names? Were they usually strays? How did you acquire them?

I remember we had a dog at home. It just stayed home.

Do you remember having the chicken pox, mumps or other childhood diseases? Were you ever seriously ill as a child? Who took care of you?


How did you go downtown and get back home? Trolley, bus, car, horseback, walk? Can you remember your first trip? Why did you usually go?

We had no vehicles. We only walked everywhere we traveled.

Did you ever have a natural disaster in your town like a tornado, flood, or immobilizing snow storm?

We had a horrible drought sometime in the 1960's and that was the worst i can recall. The first Rwandese genocide in the 1950's was another disaster that i will never forget.

Describe your neighborhood - rural or suburban? Lots of grass or concrete? Did anyone have fancy gardens, a horse, or something "different" from the norm?

My neighborhood was rural and mainly made up peasants and hunters.

Do you remember a new family moving into your neighborhood? Did your family welcome them by sending food; were they hard to get to know; did they join your circle of friends?

There were never new families moving into our neighborhood because all the people had lived on their land which was passed from generation to generation. There were no new people. We celebrated the birth of new born babies and mourned the death of the elders in our community.

What were your favorite board games?

I didn't do a lot playing as a child.We never had time for this but now I love telling jokes to my grandchildren.

Did you ever go door-to-door selling anything to your neighbors? Did you have a lemonade stand?

We only went door to door singing Christmas carols the night before Christmas and people would give us treats. I never had a lemonade stand but used to exchange mangoes for pineapples with my friends.

Would you like to have raised your children in a neighborhood like the one you grew up in? Why or why not?

I would never have wanted my children raised in a neighborhood similar to the one I grew up in because there were no schools or hospitals in my neighborhood and I wanted a good education and the best health for all my children. This they all received and I'm proud of this achievement.

Did you have any imaginary friends growing up? Did your parents play along?

The house mouse that gave money for losing a tooth was a favorite. My parents played along too.

Were you afraid of the boogeyman or the monster under the bed?

I'm from a warrior tribe and we were never afraid of anything.

What were your favorite books, poems or bedtime stories as a child?

Psalms 23 was my favorite scripture to read before going to bed.

Did you go to camp? Did anyone from your neighborhood go with you? Do you remember any of the counselors or groups of kids? What did you do at camp?

I remember escorting my Father on mission trips to Gahenyi in Rwanda.

What did you ever do that got you into trouble with your parents? At school? What were the punishments?

I never received any formal education but my father taught me how to read the bible in Rukiga.

Did you attend a religious school? Did you bring those values with you into adulthood?

I did learn a lot from my father who happened to be an evangelist. I have carried these values well into my golden years.

Was your neighborhood a good, safe place in which to take walks? Do you remember any incidences?

Our neighborhood was good and we only feared lions and the Batwa Tribe in Rwanda who constantly raided our area.

Did you ever want to run away? Why?

There was no need to run away because this was our home and land.

What was a perfect day when you were a child?

That was on the sabbath(sunday). Here there were no chores to be done but go to church and relax.

What were the names of neighborhood landmarks? The ice cream store? Drugstore? Barber shop? Grocery store? Flower shop? Shoe repair shop? What do you remember most vividly about them?

The community administrative center and courthouse.

Now that you are an adult, what advice would you give to a child about childhood?

Always respect, obey, and be kind to your parents and elders. Love the Lord for in him is all hope. Life is worthless without him.

Life in a Small Town

What was the name, state and population of your town?

I wouldn’t have known the population of my town.

What was the main source of the town's income?

The main source of income in our society was produce from soughum, Irish potatoes, sweet potatoes and beans. I used to dig and yield a lot of these products and sell then to earn some money.

Did you have the pride of having a farm or business handed down from generation to generation?

I never owned any farm. When I got married, I owned everything with my husband. We always shared the farms amongst our children. We believed it was wide enough.

What types of food were generally considered for dinner time? Have you raised your family with the same types of foods?

We had to eat sweet potatoes and beans. On special days we got some change in sauce and we prepared chicken or meat. So our main food was sweet potatoes and beans. I still eat and like sweet potatoes and beans. All my children were raised on this type of food.

If you lived on a farm, what was the week like? What was Sunday like?

We were a very hard working family. I spent the whole week working in the gardens. As for Sunday, we dedicated it to God; we never did any work on Sunday. It was mainly dedicated to God. If we did some thing different from that, we went out visiting friends.

How did friendships differ from rural life vs large city life (if you have experienced both)?

I made friendships that I have kept for a long time. Even though many of my friends have passed away, we loved and helped each other in everything. We were always there for each other if any of us got in trouble more especially if we lost our loved ones. We shared and still share things like soap and salt. I actually took a picture with one of my friends that was scanned and sent to Moses, my grandson.

Did you ever dream of leaving your small town?

No, I never dreamt of ever leaving my home town. The time when I left was when I was going getting married.

What invention came last to rural areas from the cities?

I really don’t remember a lot. I only remember how buildings were constructed. We advanced to building houses roofed using iron sheets. It was a modern way of building. We were one of the first people to build such a house.

What did you raise on your farm? How large was it? How many acres? How many buildings? How did things change seasonally?

I didn’t grow up on a very big piece of land. We were an average family. I can’t estimate the size but we had a house, a place for storage and a kitchen. We found them enough for us. The buildings didn’t really change. We maintained them maybe once in two month. It is only our main house that we rebuilt.

Who helped your family on your farm? Hired hands or neighbors?

We were a big family. We were all hard working people. We sometimes had help from neighbors and friends. We reciprocated the help on their fields.

What time did you get up in the morning? What were the sounds of the farm, fields, farmhouse, and barns?

The typical wake up time was 4.00 am to go to the farm and till the ground while it was still soft. Thus before the break of dawm everybody in the house had to be up.

What were your working conditions during the different seasons?

The harvest season was especially cumbersome. We put in longer hours during this season since we had to burn the weeds and prepare new ground for the sowing season.

What animals did you witness giving birth? Were they vet-assisted, or did the family hold the vigil? What do you remember about your veterinarian?

I did witness most of my cattle giving birth. They were not vet-assisted but my husband or sons did the job on most occassions.

You likely saw some death, too. How did you learn to handle that?

I have seen death many times but the death of my children has brought me closer to God than ever before.

Did you take your crops to market? Tell about the good and lean years.

Yes I did take what remained of my crops to the market after I provided for my family.

Who were your neighbors? Did the neighbors form a tight community? Did you ever have to help out in an emergency?

We were a tight knit society and helped each other in emergencies.Everybody knew everybody. One family's emergency was the whole village's emergency.

Do you think weather is the most important component in a farmer's life?

Yes, the weather is the most important component in a farmer's life because I can remember how rough life would get in the drought periods.

Holidays and Celebrations

Do you like your birthday or dread it? What birthday do you remember the most?

I didn't know my birthday.

Did you get to choose the meal on your birthday? Were birthdays considered a "big deal" when you were young? Did you raise your children to think they were a big deal?

2. I raised my children letting them know that they were a great deal but still never celebrated any of their birthdays. I remember my daughter Vasta to have celebrated her birthday. This is when she has started going to school in Bweranyangi girls secondary school.This was the first time that i ever had about birthday celebrations.I guess this was avalue picked up in school.

Did your family make birthday cakes or did you buy them? What were the favorite flavors? What kind of birthday parties did you give for your children?


What were the most important religious holidays you celebrated throughout the year? What was the significance of the holiday (i.e., why were you celebrating it)?

Christmas and Easter days were the most important holidays that my family and I celebrated. Like any God loving Christian, Christmas was outstanding in all the religious holidays we used to have. Christmas was when Jesus Christ was born to us. I believe it was a first step to our salvation. We also celebrated Easter when the lord died and rose again. It is by his blood that I'm still alive.

How did you celebrate each major holiday?

I would have all my children come home to celebrate this holiday and was also a chance to see my grandchildren. We prepared a feast. we invited some relatives to come a share a meal with us. We of course had to go out to church. We carried some of our produce to church. For example we took beans, cabbage and sorghum to church as a way of thanksgiving

What holiday did you especially like? Which holiday was really not much fun for you?

I liked the Christmas holidays because we went house to house singing Christmas songs for our neighbors and got treats.

What were some of the best memories from any of the holidays you celebrated?

My father always slaughtered a cow for the celebration. Everybody was in a joyful mood during this season. I loved seeing everybody happy during this time of the year.

What was served at your holiday dinners? What do you remember about these dinners?

Beef, chicken, potatoes, beans, corn and bananas were served at our dinners. This was a time when our father allowed us to eat to our fullest.

How did you celebrate Easter or Passover?

Yes i did

What did Christmas morning feel like when you were a child? Was it hard getting to sleep the night before? What are some of your holiday religious rites and traditions?

I was usually tired having sang Christmas carols the previous night walking from house to house.So my siblings and I never slept the night before Christmas.

Gallup Organization Questions on Leadership

Let's identify some early role models of yours. How would you describe the parenting style of your mother (father)?

My mother was a very hard working lady. She above all taught us to trust God in everything. She ran the daily affairs of the family. She made sure we had enough food to eat. Above all she desired for us to have an education. I deliberately chose not to pursue an education.

Which famous leaders did you look up to while growing up? Describe why you looked up to them in terms of the characteristics, behavior, accomplishments, etc.

I never saw any leader during my childhood. We only heard that we were under the leadership of King George and maybe the queen. We celebrated some of their important days during the year. I can’t remember some of those days we celebrated.

How would you describe your mother (or guardian) as your leader?

Mother was a very kind and hardworking lady. She was friendly and encouraging in everything that I did. I personally owed her a lot. She loved me all her life. She passed away at an early age. She left her home and came to live with me where I took care of her until her death. She suffered from cancer.

How would you describe your father (or guardian) as your leader?

My father was a God-fearing man. He went out preaching the word of God. He was also a businessman. He did a lot of business especially in Rwanda. In fact, that is where he found my mother.

Who has had the most profound impact on shaping your values and moral perspective prior to leaving home? What did he or she do to shape your values and moral perspective?

My mother had the most profound impact on shaping my values and morals. We were a God-fearing family. This was the basis and foundation of everything that we did.

Where does your philosophy of life stem from in terms of the people who have had the greatest impact on it? What is your life philosophy?

Live in harmony with each other. Help all the people you have the opportunity and ability to help.


As a woman, do you remember telling your mate that you were pregnant? As a man, what did you think when she told you she was pregnant? Was it a surprise, or a long-planned for event? Do you remember telling your parents?

I told my husband when I was pregnant. It didn’t come as an accident. Everytime we had a child, that child came as a comfort to us and for a reason, too. That is how we easily named our children. It was only for my last born that I didn’t expect. I was already old. I hated myself knowing I would die while giving birth. The time I got pregnant with my last born, I had already given up having more babies. I remember telling most of my friends that I was pregnant. I didn’t know whether my parents would know because I would spend quite some time without seeing them.

What are the names and birthdates of your children? What are the names and birthdates of your grandchildren and their parents? Name some of their idiosyncrasies.

I can give you their names in order but I surely don’t remember their birthdates.

I will begin with my first born. She was named Jessica Muheirwe. When I got pregnant with this child, I said to myself that if she comes out as a girl, I will name her Muheirwe. When I told my husband about it, he said that we could name her Tumuheirwe meaning that God her to gave us.

My second born was named John Twinomusinguzi. God gave us a baby boy. We took three months without getting the right name to give him. We were in a period where we were being oppressed by enemies. We were in very difficult times. As I was lighting the charcoal stove, I felt like taking a walk around my fence. As I looked through, I had a voice telling me that Twinomusinguzi. I was so happy and run to tell my husband that we name our son Twinomusinguzi. This was around 5pm in the evening.

Another child was also born after John. I named him Nathan Tindigarukayo. Tindigarukayo meant that I was never going back to sin. I had been through very sinful days. He passed away at the age of one and a half years.

My forth born was called Nshemereirwe Faith. She passed away at 25 years of age. My labor with her took many hours, she was a big baby. She surprised everyone that came to see her. I almost lost my life while giving birth. I asked God to take my life if he so wishes or to give me life and my child. God listened to us and we got a baby girl. I then named her Nshemerierwe which means I’m happy. She remained of good health even through her youth days. She however passed away at a very young age.

Following Faith was also another child who also passed away. We had not yet picked a name for this child. Will leave it at that. When this child passed away, we became low for a very long time. We thought God had given up on us. God then sent some believers to come and tell us that he would give us another child to compensate the one who had passed away. We didn’t believe it.

When I got pregnant, I told my husband that we would name our child Tumwesigye. So God gave us a child and we named her Vasta Tumwesigye. She was relatively a small girl of all my children.

Shortly after Vasta, God gave us another baby boy whom we named Charles Turyahabwa.

After Charles, we then got a baby girl whom we named Pauline Kemirembe. I named her Kemirembe because we were in a period of peace. We had few tribal wars. We were very peaceful with our families and societies.

After Pauline we got another boy whom we named Masiko.

Following him was Mwebasa Gad. I was not happy with myself at this moment in life. I felt like I had given birth to many children. I wanted to stop. So when I gave birth to this child, I named him Mwebesa meaning that I was going to forget the past and go on.

I also gave birth to another boy after Gad. This time I had nothing to do. I just told my husband that we would name him Twebaze David.Twebaze meant thanking God.

I also later gave birth to another child whom I named Kyasimire Lydia. I now had nothing to do. I just thought that it was God’s wish that he gives me all this children. Kyasimire means what God has wished.

I had now grown old. I was really old that I thought I couldn’t go on any longer giving birth. It then took a very long time and there I was pregnant again. This time I knew I was just going to die. Everyone told me that I wasn’t going to produce at this age. I believed them and just became desperate knew I was living my last days. I isolated myself many times ... many times.

As I was growing, I prayed to God to give me life or if he was to take me, then let his will be done. I said that God, if you are to take me, then take me with my child. I kept on praying to God asking for Mercy.

As I went into labor, my husband thought that I was now going to die. He moved out to go and inform people around the neighbourhood. By the time he came back, my baby boy was born easily.

God indeed heard my prayers. I then named my baby boy Akampurira Sam. Akampurira means that God had heard my prayers. That was it with my children.

I had a number of miscarriages. I didn’t mention all that I could have, having given birth to sixteen children.

I didn’t ever give birth in a hospital. I gave birth at home and it was normal.

Why did you name your children what you named them?

Answered already.

Which hospital did you deliver in? Do you remember the ride there?

I never went to any hospital.

How much weight did you gain each time? Was it difficult getting back in shape?

I put on weight before I gave birth but after giving birth I easily got back to shape. I was always helped by a friend to get back to shape.

Were you afraid to become a parent? Why, or why not?

I wasn’t afraid to become a parent.

Whom did you call first to say "It's a boy!" or "It's a girl!"? Can you remember what you said or thought when the doctor or nurse first handed you your baby? Can you remember what your mate said?

I always told my husband.

Did you send birth announcements when your babies were born? Did you have help in the house? A nurse or nanny? Did you have a separate nursery all fixed up? How was it papered and painted? What did the crib look like?

Information went all over the village and I believe many people came to know in time. Many people came to visit me.

What were some of the greatest joys of being a new parent? What were some of the greatest difficulties?

I felt it was a chance to make my husband happy and help him forget about his difficult childhood as an orphan. I also saw parenthood as a chance to extend my family. The greatest difficulties lay in giving birth to these children. The sickness of my children due to inadequate medical care was a great difficulty, too.

The House You Raised Your Family In

Was the house you raised your family in big enough for all of you? Did your kids share a room?

The house in which I raised my children was not exactly big. We later moved to another place where we built a bigger house. Some of my children shared rooms.

Did you ever move? Was that particularly hard on anyone?

We moved from the place where I had given birth to most of my children. We moved to a nearby piece of land which was more spacious. This wasn’t hard on any of my children. My husband had secured a bigger and better place which we all believed was better for us.

What was your address? What was your phone number? What color was the house? Was your house a one-story or two-story, stone, wood or brick? Did you have a garage? What was the floor plan? Can you envision each room and certain things that went on there? What was the view out your front window?

I don't think we had an address.Ofcourse we didn't have phones.

We built a brick house on our new piece of land. We made a fence around our home. I still stay in the same house although my children improved it some years back. I had small gardens around my house. I planted there some trees for passion fruits and egg plants. We never had a garage on the house.

Was your neighborhood that of single family homes, apartments or rural? Were you friendly with your neighbors? Did you ever have a quirky neighbor? Explain.

We were friendly with our entire neighborhood. That was a very important factor in our communities. A neighbor was regarded as a relative. We helped each other in any way possible. We visited each other whenever we could.

I still regard my neighborhood to be of great importance more especially now that I don’t have many of my children around me. I do go to the neighbor’s home to chat with them. I really do not remember any of my neighbors who were odd. I thank God for that.

Was everyone in and out of each others' homes? How did you pick the neighborhood? Was this your or your spouse's childhood community?

The neighbors were always natives of the land. We almost knew everyone staying near us even up to 15 kilometers off our home. We were always in touch with our neighborhood. This was mainly my spouse's childhood community.

Did anyone, except you, do chores for the upkeep of the household? Did you insist everyone make their own beds everyday?

I had to cook for my children and husband everyday. I was not always expected to do the cooking. I enjoyed it. My children helped me many times. All the children washed their clothes and also made their beds. They were disciplined. My husband was very tough on them that none of them would dare misbehave. I was also keen on disciplining them in case any of them did something wrong.

Did anyone, other than family members, live with you? Where did you all go to relax?

Many times my brothers and some of my sisters came over to see me and they stayed for a night or two. They helped me during their stay. My mother also came home several times and she stayed home with us for sometime. She did pass away at my house.

Where did the homework take place? Did you help any child with big projects?

Not at all. I don’t remember ever seeing any homework book for any of my children. I always encouraged my children to love God with all their hearts and to trust in him for hH was everything to them.

What were the rules of the house?

Obedience and respect for parents and elders. Cleaning up after one's self. Do the house chores as allocated by me or an older sibling. No fighting over anything but let the father or mother settle the dispute.

Did you ever have a break-in? Did you ever have a fire?


Add Questions and Family Documents

Please include the questions we didn't ask, or add some family documents. Letters from your grandmother, perhaps, or a family history written by another family member.

What has given you the strength to keep on moving and trusting despite the heartaches and losses that you have suffered?

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