I am called Mzee Ferdinand Karega and I am a 78-year-old. I am a grandfather and celebrated my 50th marriage anniversary in August 2010. I studied Medicine at the National University of Rwanda, in the Southern Province. I currently work as the Customer Care Officer at King Faisal Hospital, in Kigali City.
I want to speak about my first child and beloved daughter whom I lost to sickness. At the age of 47, she was a great mother and wife with two children.
I speak about her because she was intelligent, very hardworking and ready to learn. I think she was very responsible because she was my first child.
When my daughter was born, I always had big dreams for her life. I made sure she went to the best schools before her eight other brothers simply because, I looked forward to seeing and giving her a bright future, which I did.
This is what I wish for all girls and women in Rwanda’s society.
I always kept in mind that girls and boys all have the same capability; I always wished that gender imbalance would be reduced so that both women and men get equal rights. This in turn would kill the inferiority complex among Rwanda’s women.
Women are usually good at what they do when given the chance; for example during our days, the Queen Mother would decide on what she wanted for the kingdom and the king would gladly respect and take her advice.
This was very good for the kingdom because the Queen’s positive advice led to the development of the Kingdom.
Back in the days, women were looked at as property and this I never wished for my daughter. It was so unfair, they got tired and weary at a tender age. In some homes women were more like slaves, and I found this unbearable and inhuman!
While women were cultivating land for food, the men were drinking their brew back home! My dream for Rwanda’s women is for them to be women of substance, who will be able to serve their family and country to the best of their ability.
This could not be done while they were hidden in the backyard. Women should be able to stand up and fight for their rights and have a say in society.
I kept my fingers crossed; hoping that one day things would change and girls would be valued. This is why I gave my daughter priority in everything especially, her education.
Rwandans should know that “When you educate a girl, you educate a nation”.
I must say that it could be heaven on earth if one’s dreams totally came to pass—it cannot happen.
Some dreams will be fully realised, some partly while others never. But I did not give up. This was not easy but somehow I paved my way through the thick mist and fog in order to get the Dreams for my Daughter unwrapped.
I was lucky, mine came to pass: My daughter successfully finished her studies and became what I always wanted her to be. Every parent has a dream for their daughters.
I must say, that I am glad Rwanda is working towards realising the dreams of her daughters.