Kampala Uganda: Roger Waligo Remembered as a Dedicated Social Change Agent MARPS in Uganda States

OBITUARIES


A dark pall overcast still hang over Kyengeza village found in Zigoti county along Mityana-Mubende road.  The 29th July 2017 had many other signs heralding an occurrence about to happen. 

People were heard commenting about what they termed an extended overcast sky  called “kiddedde.” “Kiddedde" is a term meaning a day on which the sun is not coming out fully. This is what was witnessed all these days from 29th July 2017. The dark skies and somber mood were not helped by another reality. 

Today is the day the body arrived at the home where Roger was born to a loving agricultural family. Sprawling lush green gardens with coffee, plantains, maize, sweet potatoes and beans greeted people as they flocked in one by one or in droves to attend the burial ceremony at the adobe brick home.

The village voluntary and social support team had constituted itself into a reception committee. They had mobilized chairs, a tarpaulin to serve as a shed and cleared enough space to host the anticipated mourners. The family was well known around here. Roger had friends and age-mates with whom they went to near-by St. Ambrose Parish Schools and later to a vocational training school in Zigoti. 

Kyengeza-Zigoti is a very fertile area with undulating hills, thick green shrubs and rich loam soils that support a profusion of crops and farming activities. The friends who recalled Roger talked of a reserved, strong and very hard working person. A person who was very eager to learn new things and who turned out to be dependable and trusted. This was confirmed by the staff at the vocational school too.

“Waligo was my friend at primary school. I remember Roger used to turn up earlier and kept in class until end of lessons. Roger always helped the teachers with errands,” said a friend asked by MARPS in Uganda organization staffer who was at the burial ceremony in Kyengeza-Zigoti. 

“During holidays we would look for jobs to earn an extra income. I remember we used to work as part time taxi-conductors. Roger was always liked by drivers because of being trustworthy. Drivers entrusted money with Rogers whose sense of accountability was high for a very young person. We never met again until now,” sobbed another friend who was part of the mourners.  

Kyengeza-Zigoti is the final resting place for Roger Waligo. Roger has finally come home. It is our hope that the family stays stronger. We continue to pray for them and ourselves. As a community we seek solace in the fact that this home is a step away from another in heaven and there Roger will be well received. 

Most At Risk Populations’ Society in Uganda (MARPS in Uganda) was originally the Good Samaritan Uganda started in 1999. We specialized in: praying together under an interdenominational mechanism which we later named Interfaith Mechanism; orphan and vulnerable children care support; writing HIV Prevention articles; HIV Prevention and Care Services; provided a drop-in-center; and a shelter for disowned or persecuted LGBTIQQ/Sex-Workers. By 2003, we were continuously embracing the term “marginalized populations” later it became “at-risk populations” and much later “Most-at-Risk-Populations.” We teamed up with MARPs Network and MARPI around 2007-2008 in the hope of consolidating a quality service base and working together to perpetuity. Perhaps that was a mistake. We only had a Gentleman’s agreement. We shared our expertise, large and extensive networks openly. In 2010-2011 we were forced to reorganize after we split from MARPs Network and MARPI. Originally, we went into this union because we all had MARPs issues at heart and we were hoping that unity served us better. Alas! It was not the case. We continue to specialize in: promoting an Interfaith Mechanism; providing articles to the newsletter; HIV Prevention and Care Services; provide a drop-in-center; provide a suicide prevention hotline; a shelter for disowned or persecuted LGBTIQQ/Sex-Workers; and advocate for the use of holistic health (mental and public health) approaches to advocate for equality as opposed to legalistic approaches only because "constitutional is larger than legal!" 


Roger Waligo was a mobilizer with MARPS in Uganda. With Roger as a mobilizer we managed to reach a vast number of younger LGBTIQQ. We had initiated the Young MSM/WSW programme and Roger with many others helped to identify the members. 

Family members and friends at Kyengeza-Zigoti paying last respects to Roger Waligo


Family members and friends at Kyengeza-Zigoti paying last respects to Roger Waligo

St. Theresa Vocational Training Center served people from Kyengeza-Zigoti and beyond. Some of Roger Waligo's friends studied here. Source: Facebook

St. Theresa Vocational Training Center served people from Kyengeza-Zigoti and beyond.  Roger Waligo's friends studied here. Source: Facebook

Mourners arriving

Zigoti Trading Center. Source: Facebook

Mourners

Preparing the grave

Preparing the Grave

 Preparing for the burial event at Kyengeza-Zigoti

 Preparing for the burial event at Kyengeza-Zigoti

 Preparing for the burial event at Kyengeza-Zigoti

 Preparing for the burial event at Kyengeza-Zigoti

St. Ambrose Kyengeza Parish Curate. Source: Facebook

 Part of the Kyengeza-Zigoti landscape. Source: Facebook

The Mother and uncle to Roger Waligo
Zigoti Town: Source Facebook
Casket about to be lowered
Prayers before lowering casket
Farewell
Farewell Roger Waligo
May Your Soul Rest In Peace!
Mourners

Zigoti Library where Roger Waligo used to do part-time teaching. Source: Facebook

  
Some of the pictures were sourced from Google, Facebook and others were kindly provided by Herman one of the mourners and volunteer at MARPS in Uganda.


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