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Monday, December 7, 2009

‘I love children so much’

In preparation for the Kampala Children’s Reading Day later this year, Fountain Publishers Ltd has been creating children’s readers’ clubs. On July 29, they visited Buganda Road P.S and with them was Natasha Karugire, who shared childhood stories. Dennis D. Muhumuza squeezed a few words from her

How did you get involved in this?
I was invited by Fountain Publishers as a Reading Ambassador and they are the publishers of my children’s story - Tales From The Past: Nzima and Njunju. It is good to encourage children to read, so I keep telling my own children that reading transports you; it takes you to another world, it opens up our imagination to things we wouldn’t otherwise have thought or dreamt of.

How have you liked the experience?
It is so wonderful because the children are so involved in the story; you see their eyes and they are so attentive. I think if children are provided with books they will learn and they will really soak it up.

You must have a deep love for children
I really do; I love children so much.

When did you discover this love?
I think it was when I grew up and had my own. I feel I can relate to any child because of being a mother.

Do you read for your own children as well?
I do whenever I can and on top of reading, I normally tell them stories; I make up some and ask them to tell me theirs, whether it’s an experience they had during the day or something made up because I think it’s good to exercise our imagination.

Will you tell me a story?
Ha ha ha!!

Besides Nzima and Njunju, have you written other books?
Yes. There is one; an educational book about the value of milk to children; to their bodies, their nutrition and things like that.

Do you plan on writing other books?
I really would like to, maybe in the future, if God gives me the time and what to write about, because I love expressing myself through writing.

Today, you told children that the story of Nzima and Njunju was inspired by the stories you were told from your parents as a child. Were/are your parents such great storytellers?
Yes, but the story of Nzima and Njunju was told to us by our mother. She used tell us stories, especially when we were in exile, I think to keep us rooted in our traditional values and not pick up things from other cultures. She would tell us stories when we were in difficult times and this particular story always made me cry so much. Our father used to tell us funny stories, especially about a man called Ishe Kataabazi - I don’t know if you have heard or read about him; and we would laugh so hard and at the same time learn some morals.

What would you tell today’s children, who because of the influence of television, have not been lucky to get stories like the kind you got from your parents?
In the past, our cultures had some very strong and wonderful elements, with some ethos on mistakes; but a lot of them were correct, so I pray that the next generation will pick up less from television and western influences and pick up more of the good things from our ancient traditions.

How do you spend your leisure time?
I’ve three children; two go to school and there is the little one so I spend the free time I have with them; talking, fighting, telling stories – anything. Yeah.

(She asks me to pose the last question) How is Edwin Karugire (her husband)?
She laughs so hard. Still laughing, she says...
“He is very fine, ha ha, thank you so much!”

--Sunday Monitor, August 9, 2009