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Medina's story

Nalubega Medinah is the 2nd youngest daughter of her father’s ten children. Born in a polygamous family, her mother was the 4th wife, who gave birth to 2 children; Medinah and her younger brother. Despite the big family, Medinah’s early memories of childhood are good. She was well provided for and attended good schools.

All that changed when the relationship between her father and mother went sour. She remembers being at the police station with both parents but leaving with her father. She got separated from her mother and brother. After the separation, Medinah stayed with her father’s new wife, which she says became her worst nightmare. She became a house help, faced physical abuse and denial of food and access to school each time her father went away for a business trip. She remembers a day after washing dishes and pouring the dirty water into a trench was ordered to pick leftover rice out of a dirty water trench using her mouth. A very hurting experience and would have probably gotten worse if a neighbour had not stood up for her.

Her misery escalated when her father suddenly got ill and had to be admitted to hospital. Medinah became her primary caregiver, meaning she had to stay out of school. He is said to have got poisoned. She thought he would receive treatment and get better. One fateful day, he disappeared from the hospital. Later, his body got recovered. He had been tortured and murdered by unknown people. She believes he died a painful death and often wishes she’d been there to help him.

After her father’s burial, Medinah moved back to live with her mother. She was now her only hope, but life was tough. They rented a room at UGX 10,000/= per month, which she later realized was a bathroom. She remembers them taking shelter at the verandahs of banks with the guards every time her mother was late in clearing the rent.

Medinah realized she needed to pitch in and help her mum if she was to stay in school. She did odd jobs like selling plastic bottles and working at a mobile money shop.

In school, she was working hard and getting bursaries bailed her out. That is how she completed Senior 4. During vacation, she decided to work as a house helper in Kampala at a friend’s home. She thought my life would take a turn for the better but watching herself work as a house helper at a friend’s home was more painful than she had anticipated this forced her to leave.

Back home, she met the father of her child, who promised her a better life, including fees to continue her education. All that changed when she told him she was pregnant! He said she was “spilt milk” and wanted nothing to do with her.

Life became very challenging. She became the laughingstock of the community where she lived. After going through a difficult delivery, she had to find work so as to contribute to the home income. She started working as a cleaner. Later, her mother supported her start a stall where she sold charcoal.

She was the youngest person in the trade within that area. However, that did not deter her. She got mocked countless times though she held on. When she heard about the opportunity to go back to school, she gladly went for it and finally, her dream of becoming a midwife was beginning to take shape!

One of her best moments has been meeting one of her clients from the charcoal stall business at the nursing school studying and in the same class. She approached her and asked if she really was the one. Who would have thought that a girl selling charcoal would enrol in a great nursing school?

Medina is very thankful for the opportunity to be back in school. Her dream is to continue training until she becomes a gynaecologist!