Mothers are our greatest reward for Women’s Day celebrations
Posted Friday, March 8 2013 at 02:00
For teaching us the value of hard work, and insisting that as long as we are good people and honour God, goodness will follow us all the days of our lives, we truly feel blessed.
When I was young, I heard my mother sing, religiously and proudly the women’s anthem. And women’s day celebrations were a must, grooming us into a generation of women to inspire younger women, the daughters of our time. As we celebrate Women’s Day today, I look back to the remarkable women who have inspired me with deep respect.
I am fascinated by the women of letters. Their power to craft stories is almost divine, like Margaret Ogola, the Kenyan writer of The River and the Source, claiming that ‘a home without a daughter is like a river without a source’ or Marianne Williamson in, A Return to Love, gently reminding me that I am a child of God.
I thank Iyanla Vanzart (One Day my Soul Just Opened Up) for teaching me to honour my feelings, Alice Walker (The color Purple) for inculcating in me the desire for social justice, Harper Lee (To Kill a Mockingbird) for instilling a spirit of mocking the critical voice, Goretti Kyomuhendo (The first Daughter), for addressing me as first daughter, Jane Austen (Pride and Prejudice) for making me laugh at the way society views me, and Barbra Taylor Bradford (A woman of Substance) for bringing alive the power of the dream. Who thought Oprah Winfrey telling women’s stories, including her own, could be so transformative?
Equally, I am challenged by women who use their influence to make a difference. I salute Ms Margret Ayiseni, my headmistress of Muni Girls Senior Secondary in Arua District for her commitment to making us look beyond Muni Girls and Muni National Teachers College. I think of her with love and deep respect.
Being a girl, from northern Uganda and West Nile at the time of Alice Lakwena and Lord’s Resistance Movement was a difficult thing. Going to a teacher’s college was the easiest option our parents hoped for, but not Ms Ayiseni, who even pulled up the blanket over our heads.
But I am also encouraged by the women who challenge the status quo, especially those of institutional nature. These are countless in the political scene and other public sectors; I have honoured them before.
Today, I must honour my mother whose determination to give us a good education I still marvel at. I did not make it to the university on government scholarship. But recognising her limitations, she introduced me to my cousin who helped me reflect on what I wanted to do, becoming an able role model in the process.
Although my mother hungered for a lawyer, I had other plans, and she respected it. This single action shaped me, knowing my mother had overcompensated for my education and I had been given a chance to achieve in education what she had not.
I have tried to follow my cousin’s footstep to excel in my own field, remaining humble while meeting my mother’s expectations.
Last week, I realised that my mother has been serving Nebbi District Local Government since 1974, having worked at Arua provincial office before then. She continues to be there for us, managing her rice and groundnuts gardens, and still wake up at 5am every day to say a decade of Rosary for each of her five children.
My mother’s will and strength of character, courage to face the world, and commitment to the family, not to mention the humility with which she approaches everything, gives me the right to feel proud, even though I know she will remind me that pride is a sin. For teaching us the value of hard work, and insisting that as long as we are good people and honour God, goodness will follow us all the days of our lives, we truly feel blessed.
Some people think these celebrations are meaningless. But I have met countless great women like my mother, whose remarkable contributions to the economy will never be quantified.
But in Women’s Day celebrations, we thank God for each of them, while also honouring the wonderful men God has blessed us with, who make life not only colourful but enjoyable too.
Ms Maractho is a development economist.