By Hope Mafaranga
Georgina Gatoranye commonly known as Kaaka Katorane, the oldest person in Ankole diocese had been laid to rest on Thursday at her home of Rubeho village, in Masha sub-county in Isingiro district.
The bishop of Ankole diocese Sheldon Mwesigwa said Katorane was discovered after the dioceses did a survey to find out the oldest person last year.
Before her death Saturday Vision visited the old lady and had chat with her on who she was managed to live for so long.
“If you are looking for Kaaka she is in her bed resting and if you have come to mourn Uncle Moses, his grave is right there,” Osbert one of the kids who was found at her house said as he welcomed me into house.
After knowing that I was looking for Kaaka, he rushed back to the house passing through the behind door and called Gorreti Gayore, the last born of Katorane to allow me speak to the 135 then.
I was ushered into the house, in the living room; there was unmade bed, small mattress on the muddy floor and relatively disorganized old chairs.
After exchanging greetings Gorreti with the help of the Rubeho Church of Uganda catechist William Sabiiti, entered Kaaka’s bedroom to help her to come out.
Looking at her being lifted from her bedroom, you could not imagine that Katorane could even speak, hear neither see.
She was supported from her bedroom to the sitting room until they sat her down. She could not walk by herself and even when she is supported Katorane cannot stand upright by her own because of her back.
Nabashemererwa baana bangye mwebare kwija kundeeba, Ruhanga nabakunda kandi abahe omugisha literary meaning : You are welcome my children , thank you for coming to visit me God loves you and He will bless you”. I was told that she gets excited whenever a new person comes to see her.
Katorane still have steady voice, sees clearly and hears very well without any difficulties.
Her memory is still intact as she can remember all the events that happened to her country of origin Gabiro in Rwanda that led her and her family to Uganda over 95 years ago.
“When German colonialists and missionaries arrived in Rwanda in 1897 I was there and a young woman of about 18 years and that’s when I was baptized and given the name Georgina,” she remembers.
She however explains that Rwanda was first colonized by the Germans and in 1919, under the Treaty of Versailles; the territory of Ruanda-Urundi became a United National protectorate and was put under Belgian control.
“When the Germans were fighting with the Belgians we moved to Rwashamaire in Ntungamo district for safety. That’s how I ended up in Uganda and Ugandans could not pronounce my name well so they called Katorane which I have accepted as one of my names,” she narrates.
She later got married to Joseph Tabaro whom they have 12 children 8 girls and 4 boys including three pairs of twins. Six have since passed on. Her first born Tetu Furasiya is still alive. She says that she about 106 and now stays in Kamwenge district.
However their marriage came to standstill, after one of her cousins came to stay with her and Tabaro admired her and choose to marry her.
She said it was one of her darkness days in her life because she could not imagine losing her husband and a father to her children.
In sad tone, Katorane says that she pleaded with her husband to allow stay in the kitchen so that she can continue taking care of her children, but he refused. Even pleads to give her a pit latrine fell into a deaf ear and her husband was happily enjoying life with her cousin.
“ I begged him to allow me stay in the kitchen he refused, I went for an extra milo I got house nearby which did not have a pit latrine so I came back to him to ask him to allow us use his pit latrine as we did not have one, he still refused. I lost my marriage like that and that was the begging of my suffering,” she added.
She says she started doing odd jobs to support her children and went back to her father’s home who gave her two cows which she sold and bought land in Rubeho where they are currently staying.
What she used to eat that has kept her for years
Katorane says that they used to eat Enjuba (blood that they used to get from cows. They would roast it and sometimes cook it.
“I attribute to my long life to enjuba which we used to roast and eat like how you can eat posho. I also used to eat (karo) millet, sweet potatoes, milk, cassava which I still now. I never ate matooke,” she said.
Any other old person of her generation, Katorane does not eat chicken, eggs, grasshoppers and she does not eat any type of fruits.
Gorreti 66 years is Katorane’s last born and she is the one taking care of her. Gorreti says that her mother rarely falls sick and she is health.
She says that when all of them got married, the old woman was left alone in her house with no to take care of her and she took to her home she is adjacent to hers.
“She is old and living her alone in her house was not fit so I picked her to stay with her so that she can have her grandchildren around her and myself to look her,” she says.
Gorreti says she has not encountered many problems taking care of care because she is not complicated.
“I thank God for her life and she has not changed much. She is still the same mother I knew and even age has not changed her character like other old people,” she said.
To reconfirm her daughter’s statement, Katorane tempted to dance Ekitaguriro for the New Vision writer but should not stand up. She just raised her hands to demonstrate her capability of being healthy.
She even asked for her basket to continue making it as she is soon going for her thanksgiving ceremony, she was making baskets where offertories will be corrected from.
“ I am still strong, look at Gorreti she is almost two times my age but she is wearing glasses,” she said as she laughed.
The Ankole dioceses bishop Dr. Fred Sheldon Mwesigwa said that Katorane has lived longer because of her attachment and closeness with God.
“She is one of the senior citizens in our dioceses and she is a very prayful person,” he said.
William Sabiiti one of the catechists where Katiorane used to pray from says that at age she still offers baskets to the church.
“She is a good Christian and now she is too old to walk to church so we bring services to her home once in a while and pray with her. In fact last Sunday we were here and we are helping her to organize a thanksgiving for her soon,” he added.
Katorane has more than 100 grand and great grandchildren.