Christmas, for many people, is about family. It is the one holiday in the year that families get together to celebrate the birth of Christ and to share the joys and triumphs of the year.
For families of children killed in the fire at Buddo Junior School in April this year, the Christmas holiday will be a bitter reminder of everything they lost in 2008. 20 girls, aged between 8 and 11, were burned to death in the fire at Buddo Junior School. Investigations into the case have never been completed and those behind the arson have never been found.
Omulangira Leo Kabumbuli lost his nine-year-old daughter, Peticia Namuyanja, to the fire. Holding back tears, he says Christmas will never be the same without his daughter.
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Kabumbuli recalls Christmases past in which Namuyanja looked forward to visiting her grandparents in the village. He says it was a high point in their year and the little girl reveled in the attention from her family.
Kabumbuli is full of regret for taking his daughter to boarding school in Buddo. He says he failed in his duty to protect Namuyanja and is continuously haunted by her painful death. He reveals that he has nightmares of Namuyanja calling to him for help, but he cannot rescue her.
Government recently gave 600,000 shillings to each family that lost a child in the Buddo Junior fire. This however, Kabumbuli says, is too little a price to pay for a life of memories.
The grieving father says neither he nor the other parents whose children died in the fire have given up on bringing the perpetrators of the crime to book. He says the parents have united as one large family, drawn together by their sorrow and the neglect of the authorities.
The families meet regularly to assess the progress of the case, to share their thoughts and to keep the memory of their children alive.
buddo junior school