Blinded by the monetary handouts from a boy in her neighbourhood, the beginning of the end in Bwibo’s education path was slowly interweaving with each day of the relationship. At 17, Bwibo lost her would-be foundation when she conceived and dropped out of school.
Hell broke loose when the boy responsible for the unborn child, on being told about the situation, the only solution he came up with was abortion. When Bwibo declined to take on the suggestion, it was an immediate transition from a relationship to a ‘never seen you’ situation-ship – single motherhood was staring at her in the face right from the start.
Loyce Bwibo, 18, is a resident of Leresi, a small village in Butaleja District. She is a single mother of one, a primary six dropout from Bunghaji Primary School.
“I was in primary six when I met the father of my child. He is a street boy who works different jobs to get money but it hurts that he abandoned me and cannot even take care of his own child,” Bwibo commenced.
Bwibo explained that while at school, ‘her man’ would give her small gifts like dresses and money for break and lunch. She notes that she was taken up by the offers and immediately started sleeping with him.
“He would give me Shs 5,000 a day. I would use that money for feeding at school so I got blinded and started falling in love with this uneducated boy who later got me pregnant and run away.”
Bwibo narrates that at first, just like is the case for many relationships, her man was the kind she had never seen, with all the love and care he showed. She confesses that at times she would decide to skip school and instead go to the boy’s place.
“He showed me love and I got blinded, I become wild, uncontrollable and stubborn. I would leave home and go to the boy’s place then come back home in the evening and pretend that I was from school,” she said.
Before long, Bwibo realized she had conceived and she addressed the issue to her then boyfriend who in turn asked her to abort, a suggestion her mother rubbished, creating a rift between the two.
“He asked me to abort because he was afraid that my parents would imprison him. He even offered to give me money but since I had explained everything to my mother, she asked that I give birth and stopped me from committing a big sin,” Bwibo narrated.
When the situation became more tense, the boy changed his strategy and instead denied being the father of the baby.
“I was so disgruntled, at first I thought that he wasn’t serious about the abortion. I thought he would change his mind but I got so shocked and shuttered to hear him tell my mother that he was not responsible for the child I was carrying,” Bwibo narrated, barely audible with tears cascading her ashy cheeks.
“In immense shame and disbelief, I knelt down, asked my mother for forgiveness; but all she wanted was for me to keep the baby and she instead begged that I learn from my mistakes.”
9 months later
After nine months, Bwibo was operated on at Butaleja hospital with a c-section delivery after she developed labour complications.
“Bwibo failed to push the baby. After nearly losing her life while giving birth, God was good to us that we managed to pay the huge amounts of money required for her treatment until she got better,” Bwibo’s sister chipped in.
“It was a struggle all through because we always pulled ropes with the father of the child until we gave up and left him alone. After all, mother is taking care of the baby,” she added.
The ingrained impact of teenage pregnancy
While Bwibo was creating an educational foundation for her future like any other teenager, it’s not the same anymore. Even when her mother begged her to go back to school, Bwibo argues that she won’t be able to fit in with other students.
Unlike Bwibo, her mother is convinced that with the little money from her food business, she can still continue educating the daughter.
“I can still educate her with the little money I get from selling food but maybe someone should talk to her about the importance of acquiring an education.”
Bwibo, however, seems utterly uninterested in schooling and would rather gather the financial bits and start a small business.
“I regret the fact that my childish decisions led me to dropping out of school and becoming a mother at an early age. I can never forgive that man. I cannot even let him see his child not until he realises his mistakes,” an angry Bwibo asserted.
“I don’t want to go back to school because I can never fit in with all the children I left, they will only make me a laughing stock. All I hope for is to start a business of selling clothes; the little money I get can help cater for my child’s needs,” She concludes.
It should be noted that previous reports indicate a 25% teenage pregnancies in Uganda which is immensely shooting up with the many cases of defilement, forced sexual participation for material gains by some parents, rape among others that have sprung up during the COVID-19 lockdown.
In line authorities, government and non-governmental organizations are calling for more vigilant monitoring and guidance for teenagers and young adults especially the girl children.