Past experiences helped to shape our 10 -year journey

Dorothy did not hesitate to say yes when Ivan proposed to her about eight years ago. 
PHOTOS/David S. Mukooza

What you need to know:

Ivan Kajjimu and Dorothy Katwesige wanted to live together when they started dating but resisted the urge because they both came from very religious families that never believed in cohabiting. So at the tender age of 25 and 24, they decided to get married. They celebrated their eighth wedding anniversary early this month.

Before you meet the perfect partner, there are always many things that happen. Sometimes you get in and out of many relationships because you are trying to find the perfect one. Dorothy Katwesige and Ivan Kajjimu met exactly at the opportune time when they were both looking for partners to settle down after toxic relationships.

According to Dorothy, meeting Ivan was quite interesting because they had gone for work upcountry. They were both contractors on the Hoima -Buliisa Wanseko Road project. Ivan was an intern surveyor and Dorothy was an assistant sociologist.

“We interacted on so many occasions in relation to work, and the more time we spent together we became fonder of each other,” says Dorothy.

Ivan says they spent a lot of time talking about life including sharing about their past relationships. What was outstanding was that they were both coming from broken relationships and through sharing advice they became much closer than before.

At this moment, Dorothy shares that it was a good feeling to have someone who would constantly listen to her problems and say the exact words that she wanted to hear. She says this was so comforting and that was when she realised she needed him in her life.

Ivan liked her ‘rolling’ eyes. He shares that Dorothy has a unique character, a good sense of humour and a very good command of the English language that has glued him to her until now. They have been together for 10 years, married for eight and have three children now. (Kayla, Kenan and Kiana).


Dorothy says their courtship was a simple one since they were both young when they met and all they wanted was to see each other.

 “I was still living with my parents so I could only leave home, go out and have lunch or have evening walks and I would return home,” she says.

Ivan adds that as much as they wanted to live together they both came from very religious families that never believed in co-habiting.

“We did not have the money or luxury to go to those expensive hotels but the long phone chats would make our day. Until we officially got married,” he says.

Proposal and wedding

“We decided to celebrate his birthday away from town and chose to go to Kalangala just the two for us. We also wanted to be alone and talk about our relationship and what future plans we had,” Dorothy says.

“So while I was seated on the balcony of our hotel room, he asked how I felt about spending the rest of my life as his partner. Before I responded, he pulled out the ring and asked me to marry him. For me it was an absolute yes,” he says.

Around the time they were preparing for the wedding, Dorothy says, they did not have enough money but they had decided to wed. She remembers as they were organising the introduction ceremony, they did not want to have meetings so they decided to buy items in bits until everything was complete.

“I would get some money buy a 50kg bag of sugar, put it in my house until I got more money to buy other items,” says Ivan.

He says for the wedding they identified close friends and these played a great role in raising funds for their wedding.

“Our parents were also very supportive. They fully paid off some items because at 24 years they knew we could not pull it off alone and for that we are forever grateful,” Ivan says, adding that they also had some savings and they thank God that they avoided any debts.

On August 17, 2013 they walked down the aisle at All Saints cathedral Nakasero.

Ivan says Dorothy has given him peace every man would yearn for.

“She is a tolerant woman, prayerful, persistent, hardworking, developmental, determined, and too focused. She also has a loving heart,” he says.

Dorothy equally relates that she wanted to have a God- fearing person, someone who would understand her with all her imperfections and love her that way and she met Ivan.

“Sometimes words can fail to explain the kind of man that he is, he is just perfect for me, he understands me and my weaknesses and works towards helping me overcome them,” Dorothy explains.

Biggest challenge

Their biggest challenge to date is the death of their second born girl, Kendra Heather (RIP) who was only three months old.

“I speak about Kendra emotionally because I still think she could have died in another way other than choking on milk,” a teary Ivan says.

They recount that bright Sunday morning when, as Dorothy fed her, she choked on milk.

Dorothy says Ivan tried all the basic first aid but in vain until they decided to dash to hospital.

“I remember my legs were still, I did not know what to do,” says Dorothy.

When she later joined her husband in hospital, Kendra was pronounced dead.

“It was a painful experience for both of us,” she says. But they pulled through the trying moment because of constant visits from friends, the church and parents who had gone through the same situation played a big role in our healing.

“We felt the gap in the house every single day and when we decided to try again so we could bridge the gap, we were blessed with Kenan Muwanguzi,” Ivan says.


Ivan and Dorothy advise married couples that love, especially when you get married, changes or grows from just physical attraction like body-shape (figure), nice eyes, legs and others; to responsibility, attraction and attachment such as raising children, paying bills, caring and helping others.


The kind of work that Dorothy and Ivan do requires them to travel upcountry for long periods. Ivan says they learnt to understand and respect each other’s careers and support each other.

“When he is upcountry I stay home with our children and vice versa,” says Dorothy, adding that constant communication keeps them closer to each other. “We decided not let work come between us. So we text, call thrice a day and constantly remind ourselves why we are working. We also communicate to our children daily. We face a lot of temptations but commitment, integrity, fear of God, daily communication keeps us pure as we wait for each other,” says Ivan.

He says they encourage, support and pray for each other and the Bible verse from 1 Thessalonians 5:11 “therefore encourage one another and build each other up”.