Cart
0

Today I Am Smiling

By Peter Anzovule Lagu
Originally PUBLISHED on
SNF
November 29, 2021

I shouldn’t be winning, but I am! This is why today I am smiling!


My name is Peter Anzovule Lagu. I am 12 years old. I come from Bweyale, Uganda. I have lived with type 1 diabetes since 2017. My little brother Jonathan who is 9 years old also has type 1 diabetes and he was diagnosed a year before me which is when and why my father abandoned us. 


My mother is a trader in South Sudan.


I currently live with my grandmother, who is a fish monger. 



I shouldn’t be winning, but I am!


Type 1 diabetes is a financially draining disease. Not long after my brother’s diagnosis, all the family resources were going to pay for his medication. There was no more money for school fees so I was out of school, without hope to continue my education. Then I myself got diagnosed with the condition and my life just stopped making sense to me. I was sad for a long time.


My story does not end there. Seemingly out of nowhere, I was invited to a type 1 diabetes camp hosted by the Sonia Nabeta Foundation also known as SNF. Because of my palpable hunger to learn, my quiet charm and my optimism, I was selected to receive support from the SNF. I also prayed desperately for my brother to be selected and he was. SNF’s special ‘Project Mishra’ provides education scholarships to children like me with type 1 diabetes in Uganda. In the SNF family, we call these children “warriors”. I am a warrior. My brother is a warrior!

So as my brother and I are both warriors several of the schools we applied to would not take us in. It is shocking how so many people believe the misconceptions about type 1 diabetes; it is contagious, it is a curse, it is crippling; so many wrong ideas so schools did not want to involve themselves in this contagious, crippling curse. 


After a long search to find a school that would admit us, we finally got a place at a school near our home. However, the school has no nurse. This means that anytime we need to treat any type 1 diabetes complication like a hypo and a hyper, we are sent home, and we end up missing classes. 

Even though I was able to attend school, my diabetes made many things a lot more difficult. For example, during my Primary Leaving Exams (PLE) I had episodes of hypos and hypers 

Low blood sugar which is hypoglycemia and what we call “hypos” affects decision making and general mental agility, whereas high blood sugar also known as hyperglycemia can cause foggy thinking, making it hard to concentrate and even cause you to urinate a lot. Either of these can make it harder to do well in school or in the necessary exams to move forward. Dealing with these diabetes related complications makes it even more challenging. But I never give up. In fact, I use these challenges to push myself even more. 

When COVID 19 happened and schools closed I was crushed. I had loved being in school and learning. No sooner had my soul been crushed than the SNF’s Mishra Program Manager, Nathan Rubangakene, who like me, has type 1 diabetes, called and told us that there was going to be a home tutoring program so that we keep learning even though schools were closed. This meant that I could keep doing my work without skipping a beat. The personal attention the tutors paid us had a very big impact on my performance. My English has improved very much.  Last year, when I was presented with the opportunity to speak with Halle Berry, who too has diabetes like me, I did so with confidence using some ‘big words’! I did not know her until other warriors told me who she was. Wow! I got to speak to Halle Berry! 

Imagine a very big happy face here. That is my face when I remember all of this.

I am even happier to report that our PLE results were released In July. I scored 10, the highest marks in the entire school. Not only was I top in my school, I was in the top 1% of my whole district, Kiryandongo! Imagine that!

People like me do not get many chances to live beyond just surviving. People like me are not expected to win. However, I am surviving. I am winning. I am thriving. There are many people to thank for this outcome like my mother, my grandmother, my teachers, my nurse, SNF, the Mishra family of California, SNF’s Mishra Program Manager but most of all and above all I just thank God.

He opened the door to these miracles in my life and I could not be more proud of the warrior I am and the doctor-warrior I am going to become. Yes I plan to be a doctor and will cure diabetes one day so remember the name Peter Anzovule Lagu of Bweyale, Uganda.


I shouldn’t be winning, but I am! This is why today I am smiling!

My name is Peter Anzovule Lagu. I am 12 years old. I come from Bweyale, Uganda. I have lived with type 1 diabetes since 2017. My little brother Jonathan who is 9 years old also has type 1 diabetes and he was diagnosed a year before me which is when and why my father abandoned us.

My mother is a trader in South Sudan. I currently live with my grandmother, who is a fish monger. I shouldn’t be winning, but I am! Type 1 diabetes is a financially draining disease. Not long after my brother’s diagnosis, all the family resources were going to pay for his medication. There was no more money for school fees so I was out of school, without hope to continue my education. Then I myself got diagnosed with the condition and my life just stopped making sense to me. I was sad for a long time.

My story does not end there. Seemingly out of nowhere, I was invited to a type 1 diabetes camp hosted by the Sonia Nabeta Foundation also known as SNF. Because of my palpable hunger to learn, my quiet charm and my optimism, I was selected to receive support from the SNF. I also prayed desperately for my brother to be selected and he was. SNF’s special ‘Project Mishra’ provides education scholarships to children like me with type 1 diabetes in Uganda. In the SNF family, we call these children “warriors”. I am a warrior. My brother is a warrior!


So as my brother and I are both warriors several of the schools we applied to would not take us in. It is shocking how so many people believe the misconceptions about type 1 diabetes; it is contagious, it is a curse, it is crippling; so many wrong ideas so schools did not want to involve themselves in this contagious, crippling curse.

After a long search to find a school that would admit us, we finally got a place at a school near our home. However, the school has no nurse. This means that anytime we need to treat any type 1 diabetes complication like a hypo and a hyper, we are sent home, and we end up missing classes.

Even though I was able to attend school, my diabetes made many things a lot more difficult. For example, during my Primary Leaving Exams (PLE) I had episodes of hypos and hypers.

Low blood sugar which is hypoglycemia and what we call “hypos” affects decision making and general mental agility, whereas high blood sugar also known as hyperglycemia can cause foggy thinking, making it hard to concentrate and even cause you to urinate a lot. Either of these can make it harder to do well in school or in the necessary exams to move forward. Dealing with these diabetes related complications makes it even more challenging. But I never give up. In fact, I use these challenges to push myself even more. 

When COVID 19 happened and schools closed I was crushed. I had loved being in school and learning. No sooner had my soul been crushed than the SNF’s Mishra Program Manager, Nathan Rubangakene, who like me, has type 1 diabetes, called and told us that there was going to be a home tutoring program so that we keep learning even though schools were closed. This meant that I could keep doing my work without skipping a beat. The personal attention the tutors paid us had a very big impact on my performance. My English has improved very much.  Last year, when I was presented with the opportunity to speak with Halle Berry, who too has diabetes like me, I did so with confidence using some ‘big words’! I did not know her until other warriors told me who she was. Wow! I got to speak to Halle Berry! 

Imagine a very big happy face here. That is my face when I remember all of this. I am even happier to report that our PLE results were released In July. I scored 10, the highest marks in the entire school. Not only was I top in my school, I was in the top 1% of my whole district, Kiryandongo! Imagine that!

People like me do not get many chances to live beyond just surviving. People like me are not expected to win. However, I am surviving. I am winning. I am thriving. There are many people to thank for this outcome like my mother, my grandmother, my teachers, my nurse, SNF, the Mishra family of California, SNF’s Mishra Program Manager but most of all and above all I just thank God.

He opened the door to these miracles in my life and I could not be more proud of the warrior I am and the doctor-warrior I am going to become. Yes I plan to be a doctor and will cure diabetes one day so remember the name Peter Anzovule Lagu of Bweyale, Uganda.

more like this

Can We Rethink Delivery of Essential Medicines?

The COVID-19 global pandemic has altered the way in which people with chronic illnesses interact with the world. While for most this means virtual doctors’ visits or increased emphasis on social distancing measures, for soon-to-be 13-year old Peter Anzovule Lagu and thousands of other children with type 1 diabetes in Africa, COVID-19 means a treacherous but imperative search for...

Read more
Bojo, A Story of Community

I grew up in Kajjansi, a major suburb of Uganda’s Capital, Kampala. My beginnings although not wealthy, were comfortable with no real worry in the world. Like many city slickers, my purview was limited to Kampala, Entebbe, and Jinja–any town outside these 3, might as well have been another country. I lived what I retrospectively consider a privileged life.

Read more
Between Now And A Cure

Not one single day goes by that I do not think about a cure for Type 1 diabetes. I drift off into daydreams, playing what-if games, but I quickly snap back into reality because I live in a world that I call “between-now-and-a-cure,” my in-between-world. This is a world where even if a cure is discovered today it would be another 30 years before it reached my doorstep.

Read more
Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.