Girl, 11, walks back to Namugongo after prayers were answered

Catherine Ninsiima, an 11-year-old pilgrim. Photo | Priscila Maloba

What you need to know:

  • Ninsiima, who made headlines last year for trekking from Bushenyi District to Uganda Martyrs Shrine at Namugongo in Wakiso District, has walked back to thank God for answering her prayers.

Faith, they say, can move mountains, and so did it work for Catherine Ninsiima, an 11-year-old pilgrim.

Ninsiima, who made headlines last year for trekking from Bushenyi District to Uganda Martyrs Shrine at Namugongo in Wakiso District, has walked back to thank God for answering her prayers.

Ninsiima, who hails from Kigoma Village, Nyabubare Sub-county in Bushenyi District, yesterday said this is her second time trekking 350 kilometres to Namugongo.

The 11-year-old is among the 27 pilgrims who arrived on May 25 at the Catholic Martyrs Shrine for the annual celebration set for June 3.

She promised to do many more treks to Namugongo to receive blessings.

This reporter found her in high spirits as she narrated how God answered her prayer requests after last year’s pilgrimage.

 She said this time round, she braved the long distance to thank God for having her prayers answered and also to help her achieve her dreams so that she can make her sponsors and parents proud and renew her faith in God.

 “Last year, I prayed to God to give me school fees and I got three people who now sponsor my education. I have also prayed to God to help return home my father who had abandoned me, and he has come back to us,” Ninsiima said.

“So, today I have trekked to Namugongo to thank God for giving me the things I prayed for last year and also to pray for my sponsors to be blessed with more money,” she added.

 Ninsiima said the return of her father gave her so much joy.

 “I used to feel bad that my father was not at home with us, but ever since he returned, our family is complete and we are very happy now,” Ninsiima said.

 Ninsiima said her team have walked for 13 days since they set off on May 13 and arrived on May 25.

“God hears our prayers and gives us everything we ask for when we ask Him and do what pleases Him. I thought my father would never come back, but when I asked God to return him and he returned, then it means God can do anything,” Ninsiima said.

Ninsiima was in the company of her maternal aunt, Ms Jovita Busingye, and the Catholic community of Kigoma whom she said gave her courage to brave the long journey.

Last year, this newspaper published a story on the youngest and oldest pilgrims who had trekked to Namugongo. Ninsiima was one of them and her story of faith earned her school fees after some good Samaritans volunteered to sponsor her education.

The story also caught the attention of the public and Ugandans on X, formerly Twitter, who solicited Shs2.3m for her mother to start a business to support her family since the father had reportedly left them.

She is now in a better school and hopes that her dream to become a nurse comes true.

Ms Busingye applauded Ninsiima for braving the long journey and having a heart that loves God.

“We are nurturing her into a resilient, God-fearing and hardworking woman, she will nurture the other generations when we are gone,” Ms Busingye said.

“The journey is a long one, and when she would get tired, I would encourage her, pray for her and at the end, we made it,” she said.

 Ms Busingye also thanked everyone who has contributed to Ninsiima’s education and other necessities.

 “Thank you everyone for the love you showed us and have continued to show us. May God reward you abundantly and give you more life. We are here in Namugongo praying for you. We may not know everyone that contributed, but God knows you,” Ms Busingye said.

The annual Martyrs’ Day event pays homage to 22 Catholic and 23 Anglican martyrs, who were executed for their faith on the orders of Kabaka Mwanga of Buganda Kingdom between 1885 and 1887.  

Thousands of pilgrims brave the long journeys on foot to come to Namugongo to mark the day.