Fading hope ignited back to light
James and Esther Adong cut the figure of a model couple, they do things together, including going to church, attending community members’ events and planning for their family. This was not always like this, and it took a critical accident to get them there.
Esther Adong, 36 years old and James were married and lived like any typical couple. James was a very egotistical and protective man who did not want his wife to associate with anybody. He believed that he could do anything for her because he married her to keep his home and not to do any business outside the home. One day James was involved in a serious motorcycle accident that left him in a critical condition. He could barely help himself. The family spent to the last shilling of their savings to cater for his medical bills. It was at this point that Esther’s husband asked her to borrow money from someone to facilitate his recovery as well as pay school fees for their children.
Unknown to James, Esther had joined Koko Tek Women’s Group one of the 20 women’s groups in the two sub counties of Alero and Koch Goma in Nwoya district supported by Voice under tutelage of LUTINO ADUNU. A close friend happened to be a member of the Koko Tek group and invited Esther after briefing her on the benefits of the group. Upon joining the group Esther was disturbed since the first few training sessions seemed as though the trainer was focusing on her. The trainer focused his trainings on issues surrounding domestic violence, conflict resolution and gender equality. These issues spoke to Esther directly and seemed to address most of the challenges she was facing in her marriage. Yet she persisted since she found that the knowledge and skill gained through the project helped her in restoring hope and happiness in her marriage.
“I was left with no option but to join a group. As a woman, I could not withstand staying without fellow women, worst still without money to cater for my personal needs”, said Esther Adong.
At that point Esther’s husband was a very big threat to her life but the accident made him think outside the box. When James asked her to borrow money, she immediately had an idea of where to go. She went and borrowed the money from her group and later told her husband about the group. Her husband was so surprised and encouraged her to continue with the group. He could not believe that a group would help him at this critical moment.
The situation was still hard for her husband without money in his pocket. Later, he took the initiative to join the group too. He started associating himself with the member as well as attending trainings conducted by LUTINO ADUNU.
One evening, the once egotistical James publicly appreciated Esther for opening his eyes to see things differently. James admitted that he was touched when the facilitator talked on importance of staying in the group, gender equality, domestic violence and benefits of involving both men and women in decision making at a household level. As time went by things started to improve and during one mass, the Parish Priest asked the congregation to consider solemnizing their marriages in wedding ceremony especially those without any reasons blocking them from wedding. James heard a voice. After a week of thinking about what transpired in the church, James asked Esther whether she still loved him, and if she would consider wedding him. Esther was surprised and thought he was joking as usual.
Esther later realized that he meant it and wanted to take her to church and to the alter. She immediately said, ‘Yes, Yes, I will marry you’. A wedded is every woman’s dream, she reasoned.
He then suggested that the wedding should take place after first season’s harvest to raise money to facilitate the ceremony. After a week of praying and meditation, they later approached the Parish Priest for guidance. Shortly, a wedding date was set.
Esther acknowledges VOICE and LUTINO ADUNU for igniting her fading hope to light. Without the trainings, her life would have continued as a sad, meaningful routine filled with sadness.