This is to inform those who had a direct connection with him and readers of our blog of the death of Kafa Emmanuel on January 9. He was about 20 years old.
We last heard from “Emma” on October 21 in a text message in which he reported getting a green belt in tae kwon do. He attached a couple photos in which he was beaming with pride. He said that everyone there was well and that the library was fine, and urged us not to worry. After that we were unable to reach him.
In Uganda, general elections of the president and legislators are held every five years, and an election was held earlier this year. From about one year prior to the election until several months after the vote-counting, there are always numerous incidents of violence between the ruling party forces, including the military and police, which are commanded by the president, and supporters of the opposition. People are often killed or injured in this violence. The use of phones, the Internet, and social networking services is usually limited. But, based on information from the Japanese embassy in Kampala and BBC News reports, we surmised that this year communication was difficult on account of the pandemic as well as deteriorating security under stricter than usual controls and limits on communication under full alert. All we could do was wait for things to calm down.
(far right) With the children on the site where the new library was later built
(left) Helping children write letters to supporters
10月21日から1月9日までの3か月足らずの間に一体何が？！？ Emmaは小中学生の頃、血液の問題で、Kitgum, Gulu,
なぜ？、どうして？ 問いかけても穏やかな優しい笑顔が浮かんでくるだけです。一日も早くKitgumに戻り、手を合わせたいと願っています。いまはただ安らかに、と祈るだけです。 合掌
So, what happened from October 21 to January 9? When he was a primary and secondary school student Emma was often hospitalized in Kitgum, Gulu, and a large
hospital in Kampala to undergo tests and treatments for a blood disorder. But for the past few years his condition had been stable, and he had not needed to see a doctor. Since entering high
school, he had helped out at the library between his classes. He had a high IQ and EQ as well as a sense of responsibility. Because of his reliability, he was named “head boy,” the student
representative at his school.
Emma was good with his hands and could fold origami as well as any Japanese. He loved music and was a leader of the band at the churches. He got good grades and was in the process of being admitted to university. He hoped to become a teacher and would have been a good one as he was kind to children and well-liked by them. He was full of intellectual curiosity and was interested in Japan and the Japanese language. Under the lockdown, all schools were closed, and Emma was unable to enter university. He could not take online classes for even one day. In the end, like Oyo, Anywar Parrick who died in October 2019, Emma passed away at a hospital in Gulu, unable to get a transfusion on account of a shortage of blood.
When we ask ourselves how and why this happened, the only answer we receive is an image of Emma’s kind, gentle smile. We hope to return to Kitgum as soon as possible and offer prayers at Emma’s grave. May he rest in peace.
Oct. 2020 Joyful at getting a green belt in tae kwon do (his last SM)