He was a tall brown full time greyed hair man with something special with his small eyes. The first time I saw him, I was 11 years and I wondered to myself why such a seemingly young man had alot of grey hair in his head. Despite that, he was 58 years afew minutes to retire from teaching. Although, he never taught me in class, he taught me from the rear. His name is Mr Erick Beiheho John!-Ex primary teacher.
Last night, I received a phone call from my mother informing me of his final death 😦 he apparently had been struggling with diabetes and high blood pressure for quite sometime now. Ofcourse I knew about it and I always suspected that it would one day put him down in a twinkle of an eye because I really didnt see how he was surviving in an area 67km from the main hospital. But why did I develop the interest in the 70+ year old man?
This man was a teacher at the school I studied from in primary school. He was at the sametime my dad’s big friend at school since they were all teachers. The first time, he invited myself, dad and 2 sisters to his place for a ‘talk’. Once there, he served us with the best of the best dishes and drinks we could imagine at that time. With that, I became a little closer to him and he was almost an uncle.
In the holiday of 1998 shortly before seating for my final primary leaving examinations, I stayed at his place which was near the school so that I could have enough time to read and attend holiday study. 🙂 Together with his wife, he treated me with a sheer heart of a dad. Even when my dad got an accident that nearly took him out of this face of the earth, he conforted me and advised me to focus far ahead. I will always remember him for his trademark proverbs. iam not good at cramming runyankole proverbs but this one I will never forget it. He said ‘Okurahukiriza kw’embeba kukatuma yazaara abahumiize’..If i may translate that one faster..’The rat produces blind children because it wants to eject them fast from its womb’ 🙂 In his explanation, he told me to be patient and focus-minus tha one, I would be at risk of getting undesirable outcomes. 🙂
Deep inside my heart, I feel extremely struck because I havent paid him back for all the successes he did for me! especially me!!!! 😦 Mr Erick was more than a friend to me! He was an inspiration. Yes, he didnt study alot like other teachers but had an insight into waht modern life is! sometimes, I would doubt whether he was 60! to me, He was like a teenager..forever young, at the sametime, he was mature! I had promised to pay him in one way or the other. I never forgot that in my life! having finished my MPH study, i was hoping to get a serious job and my first salary would be a dedication to him too-I guess, I will have to give that to the wife if she will manage to be alive then because she too has the same complications! How do i feel? I can say, BETRAYED! I have betrayed him although he didnt know my plans! As I write this, iam seated at the Red Cross offices in Mbarara, this afternoon and imagining how it feels!
Mr Erick had always told me that I was destined for greatness. yes, I understand that…but I had wanted him to be part of my greatness! Thats why am like..sometimes I feel like Sh*t, sometimes I wanna quit and just be normal for abit, I dont understand…somebody remembers that song or what? 😦 Iam really dissappointed! Should I go to burry him? Nooooooooooo…my philosophy tells me, he’s gone! I will see him in the after life. But as I write this, I know that may be he is looking at me and smiling. May be he is right over my shoulder looking at my laptop screen as I type this with alot of emotions hauling in my face! I just want Mr Erick to know that I missed him for all the love he has shown ever since I was a little boy..for me and my family. It feels so sad that he’s off!
There is one thing I can do though! Its called ‘Promise’ 🙂 I promise that I will be back to your house! And I will be back to your real grave! I will be there. I will give a small token to yourfamily-I mean your wife on your behalf-Just to show that I had never forgotten every single word you told me even when i was outside the country! 🙂 Even right now, i can see you! I can hear you! I will ALWAYS hear you talk to me and please dont be annoyed or get tired. I promise that i will put the hard-words you told me to heart when you were preparing me to be a responsible citizen!!!!!!!!!!!
Rest-In-Peace-Mr-Erick! I have not seen many men with a heart like that one! and thats why I decided to write about you, so that people will know how and what I thought about you! I dont have a picture with you physically but I have alot of pictures of you in my head and you wont be going anywhere far from my heart.
Your loving son (because thats what you always called me, and thats what I will always be)