Graduation Pictures

At the College, with Anthony.

Arriving on the field of graduation

A sea of new graduates

Winnie with the band

Winnie with her ‘spiritual mother’

Winnie at her Thanksgiving Mass

The start of Winnie’s graduation celebration involved a Thanksgiving Mass and it really gave her a chance to enjoy her favorite activity; singing.  That’s her proud Mom standing behind her in purple.

Winnie’s Graduation!

The happy day finally arrived!  But only after a night of me being angry with Winnie; she had gone out to do her hair, said she’d be back at 8pm, left her phone off (or never answered it for several hours), then came rolling back at 11:40pm.  She has GOT to learn that Dads worry.  But I didn’t go to bed mad, and we had a good talk until 1:30am.
We got up on the Day early, got dressed out (Gawd, how I hate suits!), took a few pictures and, because of various snafus, got going late.  It was a long and rough trip, but our timing was actually perfect: we missed all but the last 30 minutes of boring speeches before they started announcing the names of the graduates.  Winnie’s norm al ‘driver’ Becky (of which much more will be saids later) had gone to get Winnie’s Mom but all the confusion delayed them even worse)
Their graduation process is to only have the First Class students (which Winnie missed by 4 points) come forward, but the others are only announced and stand (or in Winnie’s case, wave).  Seated as far into the friends and family tent as I was , I could see almost nothing of what was going on, but she knew I was there: when they called out Winnie’s name, instead of the undulating call the Ugandans use (which most Americans would recognize from any Arabic movies they’ve seen) there was the loudest ‘Yee-Haw!’ Texas rebel yell that ever broke the skies of Africa.  The friends and family found it hilarious; I’m sure Winnie found it a bit embarrassing.  Sadly, Winnie’s mom was so delayed, we only ran into her later. But the heat was horrible and very little could be seen, so she missed little, other than me telling you that it was her good work that led to this day.
After awhile, I went to find Winnie and found they had placed her right next to the band (made up of prison guards, no less). I sat behind her to talk with her and looked to my right and there was Yousef and the Kika Troupe!  The performance troupe I’ve dealt with every trip.  I got some quick pictures and video and we quickly decided to arrange for them to entertain for Winnie’s party.  Yousef is insisting on only taking costs, but no way.  We’ll pay a decent wage to each performer.
Got to meet many of Winnie’s friends and classmates; she is, naturally, well-loved. Also professors, the priest and the sour-looking (and apparently sour-demeanored) vice chancellor. (Becky just told me he almost got stoned; not hard to believe at all).
We then spent a bunch of time and mileage finding a professional photo studio to take graduation pictures.  After that, we left to find something to eat.  I had warned the driver his gas was too low, and we ran out in an awkward place (though not too far from a station) we had to be push-started (I had also warned him not to run down the battery).  And I let my irritation get the better of me.   I come here to relearn not to do that; I haven’t been here long enough yet.  We did get to a fine restaurant and had a good time, then went home.  A great day, with just a few bumps in the road.

Graduate WInnie and Dad

Graduate Winnie and Dad

 

 

 

Winnie is a College Graduate!

I’m not sure how I could be prouder of Winnie than I am today.  She has passed out of college, just four points from Class 1 (equivalent to our ‘with honors’ ranking, which Alan got- barely).  But it is the events that surrounded it that left be bursting with pride and massively honored that she considers me her Dad; I’m a sub for the hard-working fisherman that passed on so long ago and I’m sure he’s just as proud in Heaven above.  I know her mother is; it was she that gave Winnie the spirit to persevere that really mattered.

The students were called to the school, congratulated for their passing through, then the administration explained the process; the paperwork, the filings, the celebration, etc.  and informed the cost would be 400,000 Shillings (about $200).

I would have loved to have been there after that.  The meeting that ensued must have been Winnie in full ‘Negotiator’ mode.  All I know is that the administration threatened to throw her out of the meeting more than once.  At the end of it, the costs to the students for graduation: 290,000 Shillings, a savings of around $50 each.  She did not do this for herself; she knows ‘Dad’ will come through for her; but she knows many other students are struggling to come up with funding.  She did this exact same thing before; negotiating the cost of technical training down from 200,000 to 100,000 shillings for all the other students.

This time, the exasperated administrator finally asked her, “You’re going to be a politician, aren’t you?”  More likely a politician’s worst nightmare.  I wish Winnie was here for the current Collin County budget fight, but maybe that’s cruel; 200 armed, upset Sheriff’s deputies would stand no chance against Winnifred Nazziwa.

Winnie continues to Amaze

Got a call from Winnie; she had to leave her radio work for a brief time.  The reason?  Her mother needed help and, even though her wheelchair needed some major repairs, she rushed to the rescue.  Got her Mom in the hospital, got here wheelchair fixed up, worked with the doctors on her mother’s medical rpoblems and got everything squared away and right with the world.  Only then did she call ‘Dad’ because she did not want to leave behind any bills at the hospital and she needed about $25 to clear them.  Naturally, I sent her more; to clear the bill, buy her Mom some better food (she hadn’t been eating properly), and for a little pocket money for my special girl.

You ever think you can’t do something?  Go to Uganda, and watch my Winnie work her magic; you will be humbled!

How Proud can a ‘Dad’ be?

My pretty young daughter is Winnie Nazziwa
Whose negotiating is the toughest you ever saw
Mobility is by wheel
Really tough on the deal
The Devil would surrender in abject awe

I talked to Winnie yesterday.  She’s in her final year of college and is pretty well running the campus from what I gather.  She just finish ‘negotiating’ with the College administration to cut the fees for ‘technical training’ (their internships are something the student needs to pay for).  she didn’t need the reduction herself (because ‘Dad’ has her covered), but it was a hardship on many others.

Actually, I congratulate the school administration for ONLY having to reduce the fees in half.  I’ve ‘negotiated’ with my daughter myself  and you are lucky if you get away with your back teeth 🙂

So proud of her, I could bust!

UPDATE: Scary stuff

Winnie is doing extremely well at school; she’ll graduate next year in October and Dad will be there, even if he has to swim the Atlantic to do it.  However, in the second week of November (2009), Winnie’s entire dorm room came down with swine flu.  One of the five girls, a good friend of Winnie’s was dead in 24 hours!  Winnie and the rest recovered quickly and their quick quarantine kept it from spreading to the rest of the school.  Very scary stuff!