It is easy to say rest in peace about our beloved ones but it is always hard to say goodbye and forget them easily. Esther Nandala, a resident of Elgon Region, born 25 years ago in Bududa District was the fifth out of seven siblings. She died on July 29, 2020 immediately after a Caesarean section delivery conducted at Magale Health Centre IV. It is alleged that she developed high blood pressure after a successful operation but later collapsed and died. She left a baby girl.
Esther was a devout Born Again Christian who loved going to church whenever an opportunity presented itself. This ranged from her free time to every Sunday.
“I remember she would attend all the three Services on Sunday. Whenever one wanted Esther, they would have to fit the appointment between Monday and Saturday,” Maureen Nambuya, her sister, says.
Nambuya says Esther was always involved in organising church activities such as gospel crusades.
“To my surprise, Esther would say she did not have transport fare to go elsewhere except church. She travelled any distance as long as it was church or church-related affairs,” Nambuya says.
Esther to me was…
“I describe Esther as the most focused, intelligent, friendly and nurturing person I have ever met. No wonder she used to refer to herself as “big sister”. You would mistake her for our elder sister yet she was the fifth born. She would counsel all of us and most importantly, she paid attention to everyone,” she recalls.
One of the other amazing things about Esther, Nambuya says was her sacrificial nature and she was a good listener. The 25-year-old always listened however trivial the problem was.
“I remember she always listened to our parents when tuition was insufficient while at university. She would call every one of us encouraging us to pray harder for provision,” she says.
She was stoic and never let anyone in on her challenges. For example, she fell pregnant and kept it a secret from the family except Nambuya until a few months later.
Once, she asked me to do her project of distributing nets because she was vulnerable.
“Esther called me saying there was a lucrative deal. ‘Where are you? Hurry, there is a deal here, you delay you will miss out on good money!’ ” Nambuya recollects.
Hurriedly, Nambuya jumped on a boda boda. The call went on, “Kindly go work in my place because I am heavy and unable to do the tedious work. You will give me something small or per your wish, while in the field they would deposit money on the accounts even before we finished,” Nambuya says.
Esther called to alert her sister as soon as they credited the accounts.
Esther always surrounded herself with people. You would never move half a kilometre without her exchanging pleasantries with people she knew.
“I once quarreled with her for keeping me waiting as she exchanged pleasantries with her friends from university yet we were in a hurry. She chatted endlessly for some time forgetting about me,” Nambuya explains.
Besides she was on almost all social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and WhatsApp. She constsntly looked out for her friends, and former schoolmates. To her, friendship would be on top of the list and the rest followed.
The days seemed to be so long. When Esther approached her labour period and felt excruciating pain starting from Wednesday and because she wanted to have a normal birth, she was first admitted to Bupoto Health Centre III but due to complications she was referred to Magale Health Centre IV. At the latter facility, she was told to have a Caesarean section delivery on Friday. As Esther was wheeled into the theatre, she said an unusually lengthy prayer.
“I remember some of her words, ‘God, make everything possible for me and my baby. We will serve you for the rest of our days,’” Nambuya says.
Nambuya will never forget those words, despite the fact that, according to doctors Esther developed high blood pressure, collapsed shortly after operation was done and died. The baby survived and is now under the care of its grandmother (Esther’s mother).
At a glance
Esther Nandala attended Mbale Secondary School for her O and A-levels before joining Islamic University in Uganda, Mbale to pursue a Bachelor of Information Science and Technology. She graduated in 2019.
“As family, our hopes were in Esther and she barely reaped what she sowed,» says Moreen Nambuya, her sister.
“I couldn’t believe it, I was upset and failed to accept that my sweetheart, best friend, only counsellor, and immediate follower had disappeared from me and our family,” she adds.
Dearn Nambuya, a friend at university, says Esther was co-operative when it came to class work.
“Esther died too soon. No words can express my sorrow but my heart is at peace because she fought a good fight and I know she is with God in the right place which He prepared for her,” Nambuya says.