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First time I met Nsubuga in Oslo, Norway in 2013. He was seeking for asylum. It didn’t take long for me to become friends with this amazing human. Sadly very soon after that he got rejection from Norway and was send back to death. To this day he is in hiding, not managing to find any solution. I invite you to listen to his story:
I salute you all my friends in the whole world. I would like to write my story briefly about the struggles the LGBT go through, especially here in Uganda. Unlike in European countries. where people can make their business, enjoy their life and freedom, here in Uganda it is not possible. It is embarrassing and illegal to be an LGBT as a part of any family, it is not good at all to be open, because life can turn worse.
According to different cultures here in Uganda, people believe that it is very difficult to become rich, if a family have gay people. They are called devils, and people believe that if they just mind their business and ignore the presence of the LGBT, God is going to punish them after death. That is why they can invest their money to hire some professional killers to follow you until finally they do the job, especially during night. Some time back they were attacking gay suspects during the day light, and killing them with stones, hammers and everything else that could be used.
So those who are not yet to be known can work freely without being interrupted, but on hunt it is advisable to keep away from people, since they can start suspecting you being the reason of their poverty. Even in areas where you can be living it is advisable to show that you date a girl to avoid being suspected.
Priests are preaching about the LGBT demons or devils that need to be chased away from people’s lives, and people support their pastor in strong voices saying “Amen”.
I was selling second hand clothes together with other fellow vendors, also others were selling different items. We used to be in different places in the country as scheduled by our committee chairman of the market vendors association. Now it is difficult for me to join them again after having survived the attack that was going to finish up my life in 2012.
So now I’m living far in a village in a difficult situation where there is no reliable source for possibilities of building up a reliable income for my future, I just live to survive.
To begin my story I would like to start with a little bit about my youngest years. I started my baby class in 1984, but there was a war in Uganda that interrupted all schools and people just were on run. After the war in 1986 I continued to carry on with my studies until I finished primary 7. There after I went on to study from senior 1, 2,3 but in senior 3 I got to admire a good looking boy. He was brown, having beards, all his body, he was always making my day, but I had nothing to tell him, because I was a little piece of someone coming from a long way to school by foot, very poor and also my parents were poor, and unfortunately were unable to manage my school fees at senior 4 level, and I was led to drop out of school.
I stayed at home doing hand farming as well as a porter on buildings, until my father died in 2000. Then the world started driving in tears. After being at home for a long time struggling together with my mother, my younger sister and brother, my elder sister came and took me to her home at Busega in Kampala city suburb to start working with her. I started moving with her from one area to another selling second hand clothes and we both started supporting our family with the little we could manage, until I also got to stand on my own, after my sister got sick and became weak.
I joined a market vendors association and we started moving in a big group with different items in different areas of the country. I became a well known figure after starting playing football for my market side, and even was hired to play for division tournaments and be popular in the city. But in between there my sister had her friend who was always pressuring me to marry her, which was difficult for me by then. She was inviting me to her home and used to talk to me in a humble way, but I just had mercy to her and wasn’t interested to be with her.
As I continued with my work, I got a friend called Ismael, who was a bit having some money supporting me at times. He advised me to rent a single room, which I did, and started living at Kyengera. We used to watch football or music concerts together for long time until he became my partner. He liked drinking alcohol, but I was not interested to take any. I told him about the girl, and he adviced me to keep in touch with her, which I did. So life was good for me after Ismael came into my life, we were doing our secret love as I was free in my room. But it was dangerous for both of us and we agreed to always come directly home even if he wanted to drink a little bit. I would not mind whenever he comes drunk, as long as he haven’t drunk more than 2 bottles while he was with me so, we got friends as well but not aware of our plans.
Briefly we lost two friends in one week at my village where I was renting a house but my partner was far so he didn’t attend to both of the burials. But before the death incident of our beloved friends, we had a program of testing for HIV aids. What he did was to go first to the families who lost their loved ones and after he went to a small bar, instead of coming directly to my home as we agreed. He started buying beer while playing pool table arguing with friends about not testing for HIV and starting taking ARVs and medical advice earlier, since this was the main cause of the death of two friends. One of the friends also accused him of being a victim already, and because he was a little bit drunk, he said “me and my boyfriend Nsubuga already tested for HIV aids last year and we are going to do the same within the next month”.
They continued the argument about whether they got it right, until he felt like crazy frustrated and took a motorcycle directly to my home. When he came, he didn’t tell anything by then, he just apologized for being drunk and failing to come in time. Unfortunately, the following day I was attacked at night by unknown people, who came and called me using a voice of a lady. I thought it was my neighbor form across the road who was pregnant, and that maybe she wanted me to help her to get to the maternity clinic near by. I called her name and she answered me while pretending to be in pain and I opened to see. They pulled me out and started beating me, ordering me to sit down, and I asked what I have done. Then one said “your stupid fellow Ismael told us stupidity you do at our village”.
I was in their hands without any way to escape. I tried to fight and they heated me with big sticks, and two of them decided to bring some used car tires to burn them with me. Then I had to fight the remaining three for a do or die. Fortunately having a little training, I targeted their private parts and quickly escaped from their efforts, and ran away with my hand bag with my football bandages and jerseys. I ran through the bush into the main road. Luckily I had some money in that bag which helped me to hire a motorcycle. The driver asked me what happened and I answered that they were unknown thugs, and he drove me directly to Ismael’s home. It was far, but I managed to get there.
When I reached to him, he cried without telling the exact cause. He paid for driver and we rushed to his sister’s clinic, where I got treatment. After that he decided to take me to his mother in Kenya, where I lived for my recovery. Still a long story if I continue to tell, but with that experience I’m aware about what could have happen if I try to be careless about my life.
While recovering in Kenya I used to walk by foot slowly, while making exercise and went to different areas. One day I met some people enjoying their evening, playing draft games and I stood to watch them. I started going to that same place and I asked to play with them and they accepted me. I was good in games and I managed to defeat some of them, including white friends, and I became their friends. At times they used to get temporary jobs, like packing roasted fish quickly to be taken, and I also tried to work with them
One day one of the white friends called Morten asked me to go and buy some cigarettes and soda from the shop, and we relaxed as he was smoking. Right there I felt uncomfortable and adjusted my leg trouser up to check on my wound and he was amazed. He asked me “what happened to you”? I answered to him that it is difficult to tell and he promised me that if it is a secret he won’t tell anyone. Then I promised to tell him if we get to be in a safe place, where there’s no people passing by every time. It was Sunday when he had time for me and we talked for more than 4 hours. He promised to find a solution that could result my life good in a short period, and he asked me to keep it a secret.
That day I went with Mr. Morten to the boat and we took off. I was so scared to look outside, while other people were moving up and down. Even if the boat had stopped somewhere, I didn’t go out, only waiting Mr. Morten to say something. It took a couple of days until he called me and we changed the boat, which was the last one, and we finally reach Norway 15th of July, 2013.
He had friends who came with him and those he met there, they were talking in the language which seemed to be Norwegian, because it wasn’t English. They came to me and advised me to tell police about my life. They promised me that at least I will be fine here and they assisted me to the direction of police building in Oslo. They opened the door to received me. From there I never got a chance to see one of them, no one tried to give me their contact.
I expressed myself to the concerned authorities (UDI) that my life was in danger. They accepted me and I was given good service, like some money to use, a home to stay (asylum reception) and medication for free, as well as to a big number of other migrants who were there by the time.
Life in Norway wasn’t bad for the time, despite the winter weather, which I wasn’t used to experience. I was learning Norwegian at Sjøvegan Videregående Skole as they were still processing my case. After a long time waiting for the answer, results finally arrived to me, but blessings weren’t by my side. The answer was negative. From there I made an appeal, we tried everything we could with my lawyer, and he submitted my application to the concerned authorities. Then it took time while praying to make it possible, but it didn’t change anything. I was denied protection in Norway.
If anyone does not have permission to stay in the country, they have to be deported. Within a few days I was approached by the police and I cooperated with them, they helped tme to bring some of my stuff and I was taken to the deportation camp at Gardnermoen Airpoirt, were I spent one day and took a flight to Uganda. After arriving at Entebbe Airport, I was asked many questions regarding why I went to seek for asylum and why I was deported. I had a document written in Norwegian, which I presented to them, but they said that they can’t read and understand anything. It took me 3 hours while they were asking me questions, giving me a break, and again and again at night.
They told me that I can be subjected to jail if don’t tell them the truth because people are brought back after causing illegal consequences such as transportation of illegal drugs, robbery, LGBT, associating with mafia groups like terrorists and they mentioned Alshabbab. After a long time of interrogation I was given permission to go, but I had to report back as scheduled, as they carry on their investigations until I finally got done with that.
After that test, I was planning to start selling second hand clothes as before. Unfortunately I was shocked by some unidentified people, who were always calling to know where I am and others were threatening to get me at anytime. When I tried to call back to their numbers, they refused to pick up. I was so scared to be killed and I instead decided to face village life where I could be more safe. Without revealing my secrets to anyone else that is how I can stay and try to fight cost of living with a little hand farming, because I have nothing else to do after totally being frustrated up to the wall.
I was trying to foresee for my feature by trying to save little by little money in that I can pay for a stall shop that can be occupied by tenants and manage to have such a little monthly income to help me, but I have no way of getting money for that shop.
So when I think deeply about my situation sometimes I can cry down.
For some years before, I was living in peace without dreaming about all of this to happen to me. Now though I’m very poor, I changed to be always an easy gentleman in many ways as advised by my colleagues in Smug. They promised me that if I keep my identity, they’ll find it much easier to stand for me just in case I get to be arrested for no clear reason or evidence supporting any case against me, so I have to keep smart and stay away from being involved in other illegal offenses.
When I go through difficult situations, there is another experience and strength that comes deep into my heart in addition to what I had before. I’m not the only one facing such a situation here in Uganda.
I have to keep on getting in touch with my good friends, that is why I loved to be a part of Skeiv Verden, Smug and feel love to everybody including those who are suffering in the same way, some of them where burned out of their families, so
I have to keep away from people who could be dangerous to me.
Thank you so much my friends who have never give up to be in touch with me up til now. Keep on, I wish I’ll manage to be there because of you.