My name is Yiga Joshua Mulungi a proud Ugandan; from a humbled family of four children in the Wakiso district of Kampala. I was born with three siblings, but my younger brother and my youngest sister both died to untold illness before reaching the age of two. The following year, when I was only 7, my mother also died suddenly after experience headache-like symptoms for only a week’s time. I can’t remember how they looked or how their voices were, but I know they were wonderful.
It was especially difficult for my surviving sister and I the following year, as my mother was a teacher and taught us at times. In school, we could do nothing but cry and ask where our mother was. Three family members passing in such a short period of time changed everything for our small family; to the extent that my sister and I were taken away from our father, allocating us to different relatives and leaving him alone. I was eventually taken to live with my grandmother in her village, where I could continue my elementary studies. It was during this time — at 12 years old — that I made my first ever sculptures.
I later joined another school to finish my last year of primary studies. This was the year I was first introduced to Fields of Dreams Uganda. A FoDU team from the US was in Uganda, and a volunteer named Tyler White shared some of his story and encouraged me to create art throughout the whole week they were here. FoDU then sponsored the remainder of my secondary school fees, and I was able to pass all exams. I was then the best performing art student in that school’s history and among the best in our home district.
During my final year, however, I lost my grandmother and was then was told to go back to my father after being gone for 11 years. It is always challenging for a village boy to manage education in Kampala, but it was never to me because I knew what I wanted to be and I had Fields of Dreams Uganda giving me hope through all. I managed to do my advanced level national exams and I was one of the best students in the country. This gave me high hopes of achieving my dream of being an artist.
I am now pursuing a bachelor’s degree in industrial art and design at a public university under the Fields of Dreams Uganda education program. I’m currently working on my journey of being an artist and have create dozens of pieces; ranging from still-life paintings and sculptures, to music composition and even an educational board game that may eventually become a game app for phones. I am also a member of FoDU’s Youth Council, an experience which has improved my leadership skills. I am hopeful that someday my art will be bought so I can help support a child who faces similar struggles as I did.
Thank you, Fields of Dreams Uganda, for believing in me from the start, before I even knew what I wanted to be. You support has given me hope to dream every day and to find new things. For God and my country.