In Memory of Ruth Nakamanyisa

I heard the sad news one after another. My dear friend, Ruth, passed away. I’m devastated for the news.

Yesterday, I mentioned Ruth when writing about James: she worked for me as a research assistant for the Abilis evaluation study. We got along very well during this study and became very good friends. I always liked to communicate with her as she was very thoughtful and she made me feel important. I hope she felt the same.

When I was coming to Uganda for the first time, I wanted to live with a woman with disability due to the focus of my study. I immediately contacted Ruth whether I could live with her to learn from her daily living while I’m in Uganda. But she was just appointed to a job in Lira and was not in Kampala where I was going to base. She was so sorry for not being able to accommodate me but instead introduced Prossy who is her dear friend. “You will feel like you are staying with me when you are with Prossy.” Her words convinced me and even without knowing her, I asked her permission to stay in her place. And as she rightly said, Prossy has become my very good friend.

I brought her a teddy bear among other presents. She liked it so much. When I visited Uganda for the second time, I brought her another stuffed animal. She carried it around everywhere. She said she was afraid if she would leave it to somewhere, somebody would steal it. She was very sweet.

One day, when I came back home, Prossy said I got a surprise present. It was a hen! I had never received a hen as a present in my life, and got really surprised who could ever give such a present to me. It was Ruth. A hen costs not a fortune but a lot of money in Uganda. Prossy then explained me that Ruth wanted to show that I was important to her.

It’s really hard for me to believe that she is gone. My heart is really torn apart.

May her soul rest in peace.