Heart to Heart

She stuck with him, when her family thought twice

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Charles and his wife Harriet on their wedding day in Lira Town on February 16 this

Charles and his wife Harriet on their wedding day in Lira Town on February 16 this year. Although Harriet’s family was against the relationship, the couple stuck together and have since managed to defy the negative public perception of their relationship. PHOTO BY HUDSON APUNYO 

By Hudson Apunyo

Posted  Thursday, May 15  2014 at  01:00

In Summary

Truth be told, we live in a world where stigmatisation is something that won’t be going away soon. And it’s not every day that you find someone who accepts to spend the rest of their lives with someone with a disability. Hudson Apunyo spoke to Charles Obote Bogere, an anchor with Radio Unity FM and Harriet Ayo, a deputy head teacher, and they shared their love story.

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HER STORY

How did you meet Charles?
It was in May 2012, in church. The first time I saw him was when he was leading a children’s choir. I did not take much interest in him then, although I must admit I liked the way the children sung. When I got to church the next time, I wanted to be a member of the praise and worship team, and he was the first person I met.

Did you immediately develop feelings for him?
No. We first became friends because we discovered we had some thing in common. We both loved music.

Then there is a way he treats himself. He is a no-nonsense man and that was the kind of person I wanted. We started getting along. As our friendship grew, we felt we were getting closer. We started to ask each other simple questions, sometimes we would go for missions, so we would interact more.

Was he your first love?
No, he was not

So, did your first loves disappoint you?
About 10 years ago, I told myself that there was no need to get married, so I drew big line between me and men. I just waited on God to send me the right person. I put aside whatever relationship I had because I felt that if all relationships were like that, then it would be better to stay the way I was. Little did I know that God was preparing me for Charles.

Did you have children in that relationship?
Yes. I had one child who is 10 years old now. However, I have dependents I was staying with even before I got my own child.

How many more children do you wish to have?
Hmm, I don’t know.

Your wish?
I have always wanted four children. But I can do with two because these days, it’s not about the numbers, but the quality of the children you get. But if God can bless us with four, I would be happy.

Did you ever think you would date a man with a disability?
You know when you are growing up, you always draw a picture of what kind of husband, wife, job, home that you want. But I did not grow up saying I must marry a disabled person, no.

All I wanted was a serious man, somebody who can understand me, trust me, and someone to share my passions with. One time, someone told me that if you get six out of the 10 qualities you want in a partner, go for it. I felt I got more than six of what I wanted, disability aside.

Who proposed to the other about marriage?
It’s funny. We didn’t have a proposal. It was kind of automatic you know; we just kept on understanding what the other meant. He is a proud man and strict. He did not openly say, “hullo, would you marry me”. The way he would ask and do things, I just felt something was coming up. But finally he came around. I remember him ‘interviewing’ me. It was a tough and weird way.

Did you have second thoughts about marrying him?
Yes, and there were reasons. At first I got funny reactions from some people. They would tell me, “Harriet, you are making a mistake, think about it”. And then sometimes I would sit and wonder, am I really doing the right thing? Others would say, “don’t rush”. But then I told myself that if it’s your will God, let it be.
How about your family, what was their reaction?
The first time I introduced this to them, they were not positive. But it was just a matter of time before they understood exactly who he is and I assured them that all they needed was to get to know him just a little bit more, beyond the disability. He is intelligent, loving, and normal.

What’s the most memorable moment you have shared together?
I remember the time we went for a mission in Ogur to reach out to people living with HIV. There, he shared with me his deepest secrets and from that time, we developed feelings for each other. I really felt like that was the best moment of my life.

It was a short time and most of this happened in a car. We sat together in the front of the van and we talked all the way to Ogur and back.

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