Last Updated on: 22nd November 2023, 12:46 am
Preparations are in high gear to celebrate 100 years of Aber Primary School’s existence and the excellent educational service it has offered to the country since it started in 1923.
Located in Akaka parish, Aber sub-county in Oyam district, the school has been offering the best foundational education to hundreds of thousands of Aberians – including those from other districts. Many who started from Aber primary school are now serving the country and other nations in various capacities and professions.
In the build-up to December 16, 2023, when the celebrations and a Grand Fundraising will be held, tndNews will be running “The Anniversary Series, Aber P7 @100” to allow Old Boys and Old Girls to share their stories, and memories and offer guidance to the current crop of pupils.
In our first edition, Peter Acol, also known as Peter Ocola Obura (1969 – 1976) tells his story. Below it goes:
I started my primary education at Aber P7 in 1969. My first teacher was Apwony Eseza Otima (the wife of Jago Otima). She was a very nice teacher and we adored her. I remember, her daughter, Hellen Otima (‘Awidi’) used to bring for her tea, in a flash around 10.00 am. She would sometimes say ‘Awidi, cai na cukal pe oromo ba!). She preferred to call herself ‘Apwony Akello’.
We had a P7 supporter, Grace ‘Akello Okwanga’ who used to assist at 10.00 am. I cannot forget how she mentored us. She is the late Ajalia Okwanga’s daughter. I am highly indebted to her. I have failed to locate her but will do so soon.
One day, I was late for school and when I reached the school entrance, I saw latecomers being ‘beaten’. The late ‘Moro Aloka’ (Hon. Grace Aloka’s father) was the Head Prefect.
I turned back and went to the late Yakobo’s compound near our house at Corner Aber. There were ‘radio repairers’ there who had rented the late Yakobo’s front room as a repair shop. One of the ‘technicians’ was called Bodo.
So, I decided to dodge school and hang around there for the day. How foolish I was! The best place to hide was ‘Tee Bung’! It was thick and dense, not like now! It even had ‘Ilwa’! We were told, even leopards sought refuge there!
At around 9.30 am, my father, the late Eli Obura, passed by Yakobo’s compound and saw me there. He asked me, ‘Ocola, what are you doing here?’ I told him, ‘I went to school and latecomers were being ‘beaten’!’
He simply got a cane and beat me up to the classroom (P1). When I got there, my classmates were reading a book and the chapter was ‘Atin Lyec Amito Kwan, Obango Abolo Mia Acel…’
Apwony Eseza changed that immediately to ‘Atin Lyec a Pe Mito Kwan, Obango Abolo Mia Adek, Papere te Pwodo……’ It went on for the whole half a day! We used to finish school at noon. That was the last time I missed school while in P1!
A ‘good friend’ of mine (deceased) used to remind me about ‘Atin Lyec a Pe Mito Kwan…’. We used to laugh about it when we were having ‘Nile’ and ‘Muchomo’! That ‘friend’ is the late Kenneth Ebong. Life can be cruel! May his Soul rest in Eternal Peace!
There were two lovers in P7 (I know their names), and our teacher, Apwony Eseza made a public testimony in our class that, ‘If …, gets married to…, an Akello akwo wanga oko’. We were scared that Apwony would get a needle and thread and stitch her eyes shut! We were too young to understand the ‘testimony’.
The two became ‘wife and husband’ for a few months only after P7. That was it! The rest is history! Lesson: Teenage ‘love’ does not go far in most cases!
There is another well-known case, but only a few know about it! Clue: Te-Got! Legends had it that they sucked each other’s blood so that they would be together for eternity! I wonder where they are now?! The last time I checked, they were not husband and wife. We hope to see both of them on 16th December 2023!
Aber has got Talents and Stories!
I passed P1 and was promoted to P2. There, I met ‘Apwony Ayo’. He was very nice and strict. If you raise your hand to answer a question, you should not be too close to him. He would say, ‘Igudu uma’ and would not pick you. One day, something happened and he beat his son, the late George Ongom, beyond! When ‘Apwony Ezesa’ came to find out, he simply said, ‘En tamo ni an Papere pe Apwode.’ We all kept quiet. It was fun but we were well-behaved!
In P2, I had my best friend, the late Okii Olugu. He used to bring me white ants’ paste (ngwen orego) at school. In 2001, when I visited, he asked me in the presence of my family. He said, ‘Ocola, pwod imaro ngwen ba riki?!’ My Wife laughed! On our way to Kampala, we had to pass by his home to pick up ‘ngwen’ to carry to London! That is the power of our friendships at Aber P7.
While at it, our headmaster was the late William Ocen Onek. There was a very notorious P7 pupil called Angim. He was studying and staying with the late Sedolaka Atik at Aber Corner. Angim and a few P7 pupils used to attend ‘Parliament’ in the ‘Forest’ near the school. One day, the headmaster beat the ringleader, Angim very seriously! That day, the whole school was in a sombre mood, and that was the end of the ‘Parliament’ and Agim at Aber P7.
I will never forget that! The late Huggard (Apwony) Atim and the late Odongo Omo, among others, were ‘Members’ of that ‘Parliament’. So, I am told!
At Aber, I had very many friends, especially pupils whose parents were working at Aber: Bua Owot, Okello Phil, Okello (father was a Constable), Owilli Ogwete, Lemo, Otik Okello (late) and so many others.
My OBs and OGs at Aber (some)
Kenneth Ebong (late), George Ongom Ayo (late), George Ebil Obette (late), Edward Owiny Obette, Robert Atim Obette (late), Sam Bua Anyuru, Ebuk (Arok), Bunga, Collin Isoke, Charles Adoko, Akona Odongo ‘Frame’, Okello Alele, Richard Olugu Wana; Alfred Adimo (late), Eduke Okello Japan, Milly Babu, Loy Abang, Loy Alum, Moses Ojok (our Timekeeper), Ogwal Okitte, Opito Obote, Lemo Andrew (late), Oryang Okwanga, Okabo Okello, Bua, Ogipa Olal and Okii Olugo (late).
Others are Okwanga Guy (late), Akello Abwon, Onyala Egwang, Ajwang (used to stay by Uncle David Egwel), Opio Naboth (Onai); Ogang Owiny, Elur Okite, Ogwang Omo, Loy Aguti, Hellen Atyang, Florence Abuk, Joyce Ajolo Otim, Otong Otim, Ojok Otim, Charles Ongwec Omac, Ogwal Opio Leb Lango, Wilfred Okabo, Okabo Obong, Geoffrey Ameny Olila, Sam Olila Ameny, Olwete Lukeri, Agako Lukeri, Okello Madoi, Odongo Abic (late), Middy Okwanga, Asha Okwanga.
Opio Ameny, Acen Ameny, Oyo Simmy, Grace Akite (late), Okello Ayoo, Peter Abola Ogwang (late), Obong Okono (late), Agwa Okono, Willy Odongo Apuli, Bua Epila; Ojok Epila, Amony Ojok, Ajok Olek, Otia, Ayena, Ebong Ongweo, Nam Anyati (1 term only), Okii Otori, Ameny Olwa, Susan Amuge Olwa and her Sister, Acire Okite.
Okii a Laban, Bua Atem, Onyera Atem, Okite (Goalkeeper), William Omara Obonyo, David Aganya Obonyo, Amuge Obonyo, Opio Awany, Opio Dafala, Obonyo Okite, Ogwal Okite, Bunga (late), Ebuk Bua Aben (late), Charles Atim Opio, Engola Atim and others, too numerous to mention!
We have carried our friendships up to now!
Big Boys and Girls (Movers and Shakers)
David Okwanga Otim, Dr Francis Odyek Ayo (late), Okii Otim (late), Dick Awany Otyang (late), Okii Okwanga (late) Huggard Atim Okwanga (late), Akwar (Ogwang Ginnery Fitter), Grace Akite (late), Margaret Abang Otim (late), Grace Akello Okwanga, Akite Okwanga, Fred Ameny, Ongoda a Bua, Anyuru a Bua, Semmy Apio, Hellen Acen, Robert Ameny (Bung), Caroline Adoc, Oryang Obote, Okello Madoi, Okello Omara, Adero Joyce Ameny, and Owiny (we call him Anim, do not know why?) He’s uncle David Egwel’s brother: He has been overseas since 1970s.
Owiny ‘Can’ Obote, Sira Ogang, Semmy Apio Munno (late), Milly Akullo Obura (late), Hellen Acen Munno; Otwal Egwel, Chris Opio Otwal, Etot Ocet, Oyugi me Obapo (late), Okello Omara, Otwal (Opabo) (Head Prefect), Simmy Oyoo (Head Prefect), Okabo Odongo, Otim Ojok and others too numerous to mention.
I continued at Aber P7 up to 1976 and I was one of the first graders! I later went to Layibi College in Gulu in 1977.
What I remember about Aber P7
We had wonderful teachers: Eseza Otima, Apwony Ayo (late), Apwony Ongiro, Apwony Opio Oluma, Apwon Owiny (late), Apwony Atanasio Ngole, Apwony Olwa Olok, Apwony Erem, Apwony Zedekia (late), and Apwony Obong Ewal. That is how we used to call them.
Note: I looked for Apwony Obong at Aboke when I was working in Uganda, but he had gone for a weekend. I managed to track down Apwony Ongiro at his home at Dog-Apio, but the meeting was at night.
Hellen Acen and I met Apwony Eseza in London in the early 2000s when she visited her daughter, Hellen ‘Awidi’. We had a wonderful time! I reminded her about her testimony of 1969 regarding ‘Nyom Odongo… gin kede …’! She could not believe that I could remember that!
I will try to track down those teachers of mine!
Apwony Ocen and Amonon Okello. They were very good headmasters. Apwony Okello ‘Aedi’ was very instrumental in my life, I am indebted to him!
Games and Sports
We had talented boys and girls in sports! I remember two deadly strikers in football: Okii Okwanga and Odongo Omo! Leave alone, Okello Aran’s two sons (Amuri and Okabo), those two! Not to forget Oryang Okwanga.
Generally, the late Ajalia’s sons and daughters were gifted. I cannot forget Middy in High Jump (it was her own) and her younger sister, Asha! We had Atim Ejong, Opio Onai and Okite, and Oyat a Gila Gi (these were goalkeepers). Then we had Ayena Ogwang, who studied only for a year! I am still looking for him! He is in Adyegi! If anyone could play number 9, Ayena Ogwang was the one! Akwar, 100 meters and Atim Okwanga, 400 meters runners, together with Angiro ‘Opuk’! Aber had talents!
We had a one-man football fanatic, in the name of the Mzee late Tom Orwenyo! He used to provide football ‘nets’. This was the net used for trapping animals! That is one of the reasons I gave one of our academy balls to his son at Corner Aber. I did not tell him (son).
Incidence not related to sports
In 1970, some mischievous pupils from Awelo-makweri stoned late Denis Obua’s car (a White Mini) when he was coming to visit his parents (Jago Otima and Apwony Eseza) at Gony Aber. They were apprehended and only got slaps on their wrists. I know one of them! The name is withheld in case the Uganda Police Force reopens the file!
Aber P7 was a powerhouse in Aber Sub-county! We left a record in 1976!
Note: As a way of giving back to our former school, I and the late Kenneth Ebong taught for one term pro bono in 1984 when we were on vacation. My ‘pupils’ know themselves! All in all, Aber was a very nice school and the pupils were very disciplined and dedicated.
It is my sincere hope that we bring back Aber P7 to its former glory!
Appeal to the General Public: If you would like to support the fundraising efforts or would like to donate to develop the school, please contact the Chairperson Organising Committee Mr David Egwel at +256 772852356. Thank you in advance for your generosity.
Are you an OB or OG of Aber Primary School? Do you have a story to tell, or memories to share? If you have, share them with us at: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com or via WhatsApp No. +256700702961. Share your photos as well.