By Alex Ashaba
The first time Ivan Namanya met Clare Mbaine he knew he had met his missing rib. Clare was 20 years old while Ivan was 21, they were both students at St John’s Secondary School in Ibanda District. Shortly after they started dating, Ivan promised Clare that he would marry her when they finished school. But fate had other plans for the young couple.
A few months later, Clare dropped out of school because her parents were unable to continue paying her school fees. Ivan stayed in school and after sitting his Senior Four exams in 2012, he went to Rwanda in search of vacation employment.
After the vacation, Ivan returned to Uganda to start his A-Level. By this time, Clare thought Ivan had moved on since she had not heard from him all the time he was in Rwanda. But for Ivan, Clare was the only thing on his mind. In fact as soon as he returned to Ibanda he went to her home to rekindle the relationship.
“We resumed the relationship and a few months later, she discovered she was pregnant. She escaped from the vocational institute she was attending and came looking for me,” Ivan says. Unfortunately, Ivan had no means of looking after a child and wife. The best option for him was to take Clare to live with his family as he finished school.
Clare says she was relieved to be far away from her parents since she was not sure how they would react if they found out she was pregnant.
“My parents had sacrificed a lot to send me to school and here I was pregnant before completing my course. I had no idea how they would react but I knew it would not be nice. So, for two years I sought refuge at Ivan’s home. I knew my parents were looking for me but I did not have the courage to show up,” Clare says.
After having the baby, Clare decided it was time to face her parents and get over the fear of their reaction. However, she was surprised by their attitude. Instead, they welcomed her.
“When I returned home, my father’s anger had cooled down and he welcomed me and his grandchild with open arms. However, he insisted I go back to school and finish my course. He offered to pay half of the tuition and asked Ivan to pay the other half,” Clare recounts.
Clare’s parents might have forgiven her but Ivan’s were not as understanding. They threatened to stop paying his school fees but he reassured them that he was still interested in finishing school.
During his Senior Six vacation, Ivan struggled to look after his young family. He did several odd jobs including brewing alcohol.
“During that time, my father gave me my share of the land which I mortgaged in a bank and got a loan to enable me take care of my family and get my university tuition. I used part of the loan to pay my tuition at the University in 2016 at (Uganda Pentecostal University Fort Portal) and also paid part of her tuition so that she could resume her studies. We all completed our studies and graduated,” says Ivan.
All this time Clare was living with Ivan’s family. But then, they discovered they were expecting their second child… Click to read more.