Introducing my daughter Winnie July 22, 2007Posted by Mike O in family, people.
Describing my daughter Winnie would take too long to make for a readable posting. Much of her story you can read at her old site (recently moved), but I’ll just stay with the bare facts for a start.
Nazziwa Winnifred was born November 28, 1986 to a farmer mother and a fishmonger father. She developed polio early in life, resulting in the loss of her ability to walk. Her father also passed on when she was young and her family (one sister, three brothers) lived in extreme poverty. Such conditions break the spirit and the will of all but a few; for those few, it tempers them into nearly unbreakable steel. My Winnie is one of those few.
I was introduced to Winnie in 2003 by Gordon Nicol, who had a brief interview he had videotaped with her on his trip in December ’02. She had ‘fallen through the cracks’ as it were and was unsupported for school. One brief viewing of this young outspoken girl in her chair and I was hooked. I am honored that she thinks of me as Dad; I tell her a fishmonger watching from above made sure I got sent in as a ‘sub’. I will say that it is of more benefit to me than I could ever be to Winnie. I cannot be more proud of her will, accomplishments, leadership, practicality, strength, and kindness than if they were my own. I will just leave you with my notes from my latest (June, ’07) visit with her:
My time with my daughter Winnie was far greater this time and very enjoyable. Other than the practical stuff of getting things underway to get her in college and get her a new wheelchair, the rest was a lot of father-daughter bonding. She spent several nights at Visitor’s Village (one night with Rose) and we just generally had more time for yakking. She is remarkable and I am very proud to be her Dad.
The big surprise was here boyfriend Joel; I wasn’t even supposed to know about him, but Farida ratted him out. I did the ‘Dad thing’ of meeting the potential son-in-law (and I am convinced that there are some real, if distant intentions on the part of both Joel and Winnie in that regard). I give my tentative approval to Joel; Winnie has been dating him for nearly a year and is very picky, so I’m not surprised anyone she puts up with for a year is a winner. My one disappointment is that I got only a single picture of Joel, though it’s a pretty good one with a smug-looking Winnie.
(July 17th, ’07)
Just got word from Uganda; Winnie’s older sister just passed on; meningitis and other things. Really sad; Joel called and I talked briefly with both her and him; how I wish I could be there! Winnie could barely talk; Lord, let her feel the hug I send her and know I’m with her now in her moments of sorrow.
I never met her sister, but I believe she has 3 kids and was a widow.
Later, I found out Winnie essentially cried for a solid day over her sister; Joel stuck it out all the way through. He’s a real champ; I guess I can figure on him as presumptive son-in-law and glad of it. Wish I had resources to help him financially (he once asked about help with books). Winnie has settled down now; her sister left a will and the daughter (15) is WInnie’s charge. Good choice; the boys went to the father’s family, as is right. I’ll be sure Winnie can handle this.