RSCJ Uganda/Kenya Province | Profiles

- Gabriela’s story.


“If all the people were to be kind like you, the whole world would be peaceful”

Gabriella Lolem

Gabriella Lolem

I was a student in Kangole Girls SSS in senior one when I conceived. This interfered with my studies and I had to go home. God blessed me with a baby boy but life became tough and I had to look for a job.

Betty Ogiel Rubanga is a Human Resource Practitioner who uses both her technical knowledge and her life experiences to inspire greatness in people. She is an Author, an inspirational and motivational speaker who overcame the odds of speech loss and impairment to achieve her desired goals in life.

One day on the 24th of July 2004, I was informed of a possibility of training as a hair dresser and I thought this would be great to help me earn a living. Fortunately, I got free means of transport to Moroto from Matany trading center in a pickup. I sat behind the pickup with my baby but a kind man offered to carry my baby since he had a better seat next to the driver.

When we reached a place known as Aok Dok near Nadunget Senior Secondary School the warriors stopped us. Everyone ran out of the car to the bush for safety because these were the days when shooting was rampant. Suddenly I realized that the man who had offered to carry my son was running to hide with no baby for he had left the baby in the abandoned car. I could not continue hiding in the bush and leave my baby in the hands of the killers. I gathered courage, went back to the car took my baby and sat waiting for whatever was to come.

But then Betty’s tuition challenges started biting hard, because her family was not able to give her the much needed support. The tuition balances came to the attention of the school administration which summoned her to explain why her tuition balances were high. She was honest and told the administration that she was an orphan and her family was not able to support her, that she was the one paying her own secondary school tuition. Betty was a needy girl who had the desire to study, was intelligent and had great talent in athletics. Because of this, the school offered to give her a full scholarship under the needy students’ scheme. This enabled her to complete her four year secondary school education, earning an Ordinary Level certificate and qualifying her to go to the Advanced Level of education which takes 2 years, prior to joining the university.

When we reached a place known as Aok Dok near Nadunget Senior Secondary School the warriors stopped us. Everyone ran out of the car to the bush for safety because these were the days when shooting was rampant. Suddenly I realized that the man who had offered to carry my son was running to hide with no baby for he had left the baby in the abandoned car. I could not continue hiding in the bush and leave my baby in the hands of the killers. I gathered courage, went back to the car took my baby and sat waiting for whatever was to come.

The warriors started asking for money which I did not have and this was dangerous. I was at their mercy because they could kill me any time. Surprisingly, one of the warriors knew me and even my family. He started asking me whether I knew him but I denied even though I had already recognized him. He insisted telling me, “Are you not the daughter of so and so?” I denied for fear of being killed if he realized that I knew him. Fortunately another vehicle came from behind and when they heard the sound of the vehicle they took off to the bush and that is how we were saved. The passengers in the first car came back to the car and we moved in convoy with the second car.

The warriors started asking for money which I did not have and this was dangerous. I was at their mercy because they could kill me any time. Surprisingly, one of the warriors knew me and even my family. He started asking me whether I knew him but I denied even though I had already recognized him. He insisted telling me, “Are you not the daughter of so and so?” I denied for fear of being killed if he realized that I knew him. Fortunately another vehicle came from behind and when they heard the sound of the vehicle they took off to the bush and that is how we were saved. The passengers in the first car came back to the car and we moved in convoy with the second car.
When we reached Moroto I attended the short training and started working but life was very hard. I could not get enough to live on. I then decided to apply for a job in Matany Hospital as a nurse aid. Good enough I was given the opportunity to work in the hospital and was taught some skills so as to work as a nurse aid. I was able to administer some minor jobs in the hospital.

The insecurity of Karamoja roads continued to be bad and many people would be brought to hospital after being shot at, either on the roads or in the villages. One Sunday afternoon on the 16th November, 2006 around 2.17 pm something shocking happened. A man was brought to the hospital with severe injuries on his right leg; it was an emergency case. Since I was on duty, I did everything possible to help save the life of this man. To my surprise the patient was the man who ambushed us on the way to Moroto in 2004 near Nadunget. He was bleeding profusely and this made us fearful. I prayed hard for him to survive because I wanted to talk to him and remind him of the incident on the road to Nadunget. On the second day his hemoglobin was low and therefore he needed more blood. The hospital had no blood in the bank. Since we were of the same blood group, I donated blood for him. After a week he became stable though he was crying of pain most of the time.

I used to nurse him well and one day when I was on night duty, I went to chat with him beside his bed. He could not remember me so I took my chance to introduce myself and remind him where we met. The moment I said this tears filled his eyes. He started weeping and apologizing. I then asked him “supposing you had killed me of what benefit would it be? Tears rolled down his cheeks and he kept saying he did not know what he was doing. Then he said, “If all the people were to be kind like you, the whole world would be peaceful and everyone would be a friend to the other”. He thanked me for forgiving him and when I asked him why he thought I had forgiven him he said “When I needed blood you donated and you have never been rude to me like other nurses”. I am grateful that God spared his life and we were able to reconcile.

After some years in Matany I decided to go back to school. I joined Senior Two (Grade 9) and now I have just sat for my “O” level certificate. The man who nearly claimed my life became a good family friend and occasionally he invites me to his home. He is married and God blessed him with three children, two boys and one girl. From time to time on my way to school he buys for me school requirements such as pens and exercise books. His little girl he named Gabriella Lolem after me. I often marvel at God’s ways.