We teamed up to confront bullies

Sunday May 09 2021

BFFs: Diane Nyakira Mwesigwa Nkwansi with her childhood friend Winfred Ithungu. The two bonded on the basketball court. They rarely meet because of different obligations and distance. They however text and talk a lot on the phone. PHOTO/EDHGAR R BATTE

By Edgar R. Batte

Best friends: Diane Nyakira Mwesigwa Nkwansi and Winifred Ithungu have been friends since primary school. Together, they have fought bullies and avenged themselves on administrators. Both are jolly, spiritual and good listeners, writes Edgar R. Batte.

How would you describe your friend?
My friend Winfred Ithungu is free-spirited like me. She is brave, inspirational and occasionally crazy. 
What you look at as a struggle or challenge in life, to Winnie it is almost nothing. She has hustled so much and she attributes her strength to that. 

What is your fondest memory of her?
She loved playing basketball under the scorching sun in high school. Very few could handle doing that.
What nickname did you have for her? 
My Bish an acronym for Brave - Inspirational - Smart - Honey.
The craziest things she did as a child? 
Winnie was in kindergarten and Betty, her sister was in Primary Six. One time Winnie’s class broke off earlier for break. 
However, because Winnie was used to going to her sister’s dormitory during break time, she could not wait any longer for her elder sister. 

Betty used to sit in front. On that day, Winnie entered her sister’s class, walked past the teacher and she pulled her dress up saying: “Betty, labayo bangulidde empale empya ne socks empya” (Betty see they bought me a new panty and socks).  The whole class burst out into laughter.
Winnie cried because she later noticed that her sister was seated at the back on that day.
What is the craziest thing you did together? 
When we were in Senior Two, the Senior Four students were bullies. Just to thwart them, we both bathed in front of their dormitory so that the matron would punish them for the mess.
Were you always friends?
Yes, we have always been friends.
How often did you fight?
We have never fought. We are sisters before anything else.
 Did you ever team up to fight someone?
Yes, of course, during those tough basketball games when losers refused to concede  or played unfairly.

How would you describe Diane?
Diane is kind, beautiful, loyal, resilient, and strong. We have seen each other at our lowest points and got redeemed by Jesus. I am very grateful at how far God has brought us.
What is your earliest memory of her?
I cannot remember at what point we became friends but it feels like forever. 
While in school, we  were on the same basketball team and we would literally spend the entire day on court. 
Diane would fearlessly play against guys (one-on-one). I admired her zeal and confidence.
What nickname did you have for her?
Dee, short form  for Diane. 
The craziest thing she did as a child…?
Oh my goodness! Our lives have had so many crazy things. 
She swam in Lake Bunyonyi, Kabale District and went almost in the middle of  the water body at age 14. This drove us very nervous but she made it back safely.

What is the craziest thing you did together?
We would stay behind in the dormitory during ‘prep’ time and when the matron came by with a teacher to chase us out or  accost us for punishment,  we would pass through the window (which seemed impossible to others). 
So, we made the matron look like a liar. Now that I am grown, I feel awful about it.
Were you always friends?
Yes, we are always there for each other. 
How often did you fight?
We did not. If we did, then it must have been something petty that did not affect our closeness much.
Did you ever team up to fight someone?
Yes. The basketball team was like a sisterhood. Whoever tried to get in our way, we all went after them. That is how we confronted bullies and other things. 
So, Diane and I were on that together.
How often do you meet these days?
Not so often because of our tight schedules. But, whenever I need her, she is always there. 
We talk on the phone and text a lot. When we meet, we catch up from where we stopped.