By Phionah Nassanga
True love waits. Many parents in Uganda consider bringing a husband home after a degree, a success. Considering that, after her first degree, Ashley Nansubuga 24, an accountant with Coffee Uganda Development Authority was ready for wedding splendour with her man, Bashir Katugga, 27, a software engineer, businessman and farmer. Her father had a twist coming for them. He wanted a master’s degree from his daughter first.
It was early in 2014 at Islamic University in Uganda (IUIU) Mbale, when Bashir travelled to attend his sister’s graduation ceremony, that he spotted a girl that looked familiar. He could not remember her name. Days later, his friend mentioned the name Ashley. Bashir remembered the girl he had seen and asked for her contact. He called her and she picked but excused herself shortly, promising to call back later as she was travelling from Mbale to Kampala. She didn’t call.
“I did not know who it was so I did not find a reason to call back, “Ashley explains.
Bashir was not deterred. “I called her again after two days. This time she was travelling back to Mbale. We decided that I would call round 10pm after she had reached campus,” Bashir explains.
At 10pm, Bashir called her again but she arrived past that time so they turned to a WhatsApp conversation. It was during this chat that Ashley realised they had attended the same schools from primary to secondary. Unfortunately, she did not remember him even after he had sent his photos. The conversation was left to fall around their former schools that day.
They finally met again physically in May 2014.
“We met after my first semester. I physically wanted to know the kind of person he was because even before I could get to know him, he had proved to be caring, something that drew my attention,” Ashley explains. Bashir knowing who she was on the other hand did not have a lot of expectations on that day. “I knew the person I was about to meet. It was not a blind date,” he comments.
For two years, their friendship was mostly kept on phone because it as expensive to travel between Kampala and Mbale. That did not stop him from calling to find out how she was doing, asking if she had eaten lunch, calling at 10am, 1pm and at night every day.
The couple kept in close communication and each time she was in Kampala, they would meet. “What I remember is that each time I was in town, he made sure to take me to his friends’ functions especially during Ramadan but he seemed protective,” Ashley points out.
Their relationship never seemed to shift passed friendship until Bashir was forced into confessing his love for Ashley after seeing messages from another man.
We had had an argument and did not talk the whole weekend. On August 5, 2016, when we met again, I accidently read through her WhatsApp chats, only to discover there was another person chasing after her love. I got jealous and on our way to the taxi park near Bank of Uganda, for the first time, I told her about my feelings for her,” Bashir confides.
Ashley wasted no time when she heard this news; “I had kept telling myself he is the right man for me. However, each time he told his friends I was just a friend. When he found out someone else was interested in me, he then opened up that he loved me. I happily said that I loved him too because I had really fallen for him,” confesses Ashley.
The couple eventually had their introduction ceremony and wedding on August 31st. They tell the rest of the story.