Beth was born in Masindi district in 1974, the first born to her mother, and third born to her father. 13 children were born to her father’s 2 wives.
For all her early years, Beth grew up with her parents; her mother was a housewife and her father went out to work.
‘There was only one person bringing in money, so it was very hard for my father to provide the necessities. Mum did small business to provide small things. My aunts were educated, so they helped us. My mother was not educated.
I completed primary school with my father’s support, but when I went to secondary , my aunts contributed to my education from S1 to S3 in a boarding school. I was then transferred to Masindi Secondary School in 1992 for S4. I passed well.
But there was still a problem of fees. Through struggling I joined the Kamurasi Training College in Masindi and was there for 2 years, from 1993-95.
After qualifying, I taught at Kibwona for 6 months and then was transferred to Kabalega in 1996. That is when I met my husband Ronald and lived with him for 3 years in teachers’ quarters at the school. We were married in 1997…I was already pregnant with Peter.
With Ronald’s support I went for my 3 year Diploma course at Masindi Teachers’ College. I completed in 2002. I borrowed money from the bank to pay for the course, a ‘salary loan’; the repayments are deducted from the salary each month (@24%)
It is possible to borrow up to 60% of your salary over a period of up to 5 years. (Teachers in Uganda earn approximately 250,000 Ugandan shillings per month which is around £70)
By now our family was too big for my father to afford the fees, so I paid for my 2 brothers’ schooling…I am still doing so; and I may have to pay for further education for them. This is our culture.
So now I have been a teacher for 15 years and a senior teacher for 2 years. I have a responsibility to support my fellow teachers
I now have 3 children, Peter (14), Pauline (8) and Patricia (1).