‘My life is a footprint of God’
Originally posted at: https://www.ugandapartners.org/2019/10/my-life-is-a-footprint-of-god/
By Douglas Olum
“My life was surrounded by death, death and death. Sometimes we read about faith in the Bible and doubt it, but for me, I have seen and experienced it.”
Such were some of the reflections of 27-year-old Jane Najale Namangale as she was recognized as the overall best performer at the 4th part of the 20th Uganda Christian University graduation ceremony on October 25, 2019. She scored a Cumulative Grade Point Average (CGPA) of 4.82 out of 5.00. She was among 32 first class graduands out of a total of 1,200 who marched on the red carpet that Friday.
While she was being celebrated, Namangale did not have a parent or relative who accompanied her to witness her victory. In her cheering section was a friend, Kelly Rompel, an American Missionary based in Uganda. The reason for lack of blood relatives was that death took almost everyone around her.
One of six children, Namangale never saw her father because she was born months after his death. Her mother, Mary Auma, died six months after her birth. Left in the hands of her aged grandmother, the baby Namangale could not receive the adequate care needed. A local, missionary founded childcare organization, Good Shepherd, took her and one brother. Three sisters and another brother, fathered by a different man, were taken by that man.
At Good Shepherd, Namangale and many other children received food, medication, health care, clothing, education, among other needs. She also got spiritual nourishment at the center.
However, she was dropped from the organization’s care after she finished her secondary (Ordinary Level) education because of policy issues. But an American missionary family, took her on because she had no home to go to. The family of Michael Templeton took her through high school to acquire the Uganda Advanced Certificate of Education.
But when the Templeton’s left Uganda, Namangale and some of her friends started selling fruits in the Eastern Uganda, Jinja town, for survival. For about three years, she was in this trade before she got a cleaning job with Cherish Uganda, another childcare organization. She worked with the organization for four years.
It was from Cherish Uganda that the grown up Namangale interacted with disadvantaged children, most of who had mental health problems, and developed the desire to practice social work. She wanted to return to school and pursue a degree in social work but her earning was too little to take her to a university.
“I shared my feelings, prayed about it and also asked my friends to join me in the prayer,” Namangale said. “Mine was nothing but pure faith.”
A few months later, one of her brothers from her step dad offered to pay for her studies at the university. Namangale was admitted to the UCU Social Work and Social Administration program. But during her first semester at the university, her brother, Walter Wanjala, who was an architect, got involved in a fatal motor vehicle accident that claimed his life. It was especially heartbreaking as this was her closest relative.
“At that point, I got so angry with God,” Namangale said. “I felt like any other person could have gone but not him because he was the full package of both a brother and parent. I even doubted God and kept asking: Why, why, why? But that was the time I saw God’s hands.”
An American friend to her former guardian, Templeton, came to her rescue. He had been trying to get in touch with her and help her for quite some time. Immediately, he took care of her tuition and all academic related needs.
“I gave education my best because I knew this was the only chance I have,” Namangale said. “If I delayed to graduate, there was going to be no other source of money to see me through school.”
As she graduated, three of her five siblings have all died. The other two returned to their roots somewhere in Kenya.
Despite obstacles and a void of family, Namangale sees her life as “a footprint of God” – one that will enable her to positively impact children with disabilities by establishing a care center for them and to help older students as a university lecturer. She believes that God has a purpose for which he allowed her to go through all the hardships.
To support UCU students, programs and facilities, go to www.ugandapartners.org and click on the “donate” button or contact UCU Partners Executive Director, Mark Bartels, at email@example.com or at UCU Partners, P.O. Box 114, Sewickley, Pa. 15143.
Also, follow up on Facebook or Instagram.