Her smiling face welcomed us. This is how Joan treats everyone who comes to their home. Especially, if she expects them to have come with good tidings. It is the tradition of people around Kyanika, the Uganda Rwanda boarder.
Being the third last born member in the family, she took up the responsibility of looking after her sick grandfather who has suffered a spinal problem for a long time.
Joan goes to Gatarara Primary School with her other three siblings, while other five are already married. Her mother has to struggle to fade for her family. When it is the planting season, she goes from garden to garden digging for other people. At times, she has to walk a distance of seven or ten kilometers looking for someone to hire her for the day. It is from this pay that she caterers for the family needs including Joan’s school fees and food.
Joan wakes up early to prepare for school, she does house chaos including cleaning around the house and preparing her younger siblings. She also has to cook food that they will carry to school and have it for lunch. This food iS called “impamba” During the holidays, she goes with her mother in people’s gardens to give her a hand, and her presents make the pay double.
Joan barely has time for revising her books or playing with friends, she is engrossed in house chaos and looking after the well being of the family. The water calling that hits Kyanika thought the year also robs Joan the joy of having time to relax and enjoy family and friends’ company, whenever she is free, she picks her ten litre jerry can and goes to the nearest well which is about two and a half kilometers from home, at times, Joan goes without bathing or bathes once in a day in order for the family to us water and soap sparingly.
Joan shares a bed with her two sisters, this is so uncomfortable and she feels it does not give her the rest that she deserves.
At twelve years, Joan looks forward to a time when she will have her own bed, get enough time with her friends and revise her books. What makes her to wake up each morning and go to school is the courage and determination to make a difference in her family and other young people. From what she tells us, her desire is to become a social worker.