On 31st of July 2017, I drove to my daughter’s school to pick her up. I was over joyed and my bright smile proved it. I had just been paid 3-month salary plus all allowances. In my car, I had over 5 million Uganda shillings. I felt the whole world under my feet. On reaching the school, she was so excited to see me. With open arms, she ran and hugged me and started telling me about her new friends. I did not give her much attention. I kept answering the phone calls. My friends kept calling, we were preparing for a night of partying. The little angel sat in the back seat and kept looking out for something, I did not take a keen interest. I drove through the streets of Kampala, straight into traffic Jam near the electoral commission headquarters, before the roundabout. As we waited for cars to decongest, two street children came and politely knocked at my car window. One girl, one boy. The girl waved at me and asked for 100 Shillings. I opened the window and instead shouted insults at her. “Go look for your parents, you filthy girl.” I closed the window and pretended like nothing had happened. After a minute, my 10-year-old daughter opened her window at the back.
“Go look for your parents, you filthy girl.”
I got so angry and shouted at her. Commanding her to close it immediately. But she opened it the more! She reached for her lunch box, picked a cake, stretched out her small arm and gave the cake to the girl I had refused to give 100 Shillings. She also reached for a piece of bread and gave it to the boy. When she finished, she closed her window and sat in silence. Meanwhile, those she gave gestured in thanks and smiled. They walked towards the pavement, sat down and started eating. Filled with guilt and shame I looked at them eating. They were innocent souls. As soon as I started regretting my earlier actions, the cars started moving. My daughter who was earlier on so excited did not talk to me again. As soon as I started regretting my earlier actions, the cars started moving.
On reaching home, I told my husband about my experience with her. This was the first time I had picked my girl from school in 3 months, her father had always done it. After looking at me for a while and in silence, he responded. “Well, I think you do not know much about your daughter. She keeps a snack every day to give those friends of hers – Those that you insulted. It is something she loves doing.” As I listened, tears started rolling down my cheeks. He continued. “So I guess you do not even know why she asked for a piggy bank.” At that time I was already feeling powerless, wondering how much of my daughter I did not know. “She is saving that money so that she can buy those friends of hers a home.” For the first time I sincerely reflected on my life and with this, my starting point was to apologize to my daughter.