What does one say about a Dad like mine?! If I say he is perfect, you won’t believe me – but my Dad is perfect for me. When God created me, He absolutely knew that I would need a father like my Dad. His name is Rev Canon Benoni Mugarura Mutana. He is the most loving man I know. He has loved me through my trials and triumphs. He has loved me whether I deserve it or not. He has modeled God’s love for me – he accepts me as I am, he does not expect me to be perfect, but he still pushes me to be all that I can. He gives the best bear hugs in the world. He is funny and silly, yet serious at the same time. He always tells me he loves me and that he is proud of me.
Three incidents are forever etched in my memory – one is when I was about 8 years old, my mom was not at home that day, and my dad attempted to plait my hair. He did the best he could and I will never forget that gesture. Second, when I was in high school, a few months before sitting my A-levels, my dad came to see me at school and he gave me a small card on which he had written these words; “Read like you have never prayed, and pray like you have never read.” I diligently followed his advice and I passed my exams very well – I got AAB and a distinction in General Paper. Thirdly, just before my Dad was transferred from Namirembe to work at St. Francis Chapel at Makerere, he called me and my sisters and told us about his impending posting. Though we didn’t like the fact that we were moving from Namirembe where we had grown up and where we had friends, the fact that he told us blew me away. He wanted to include us in his decision. He was mindful that his job was not just about him, but was about his family too, and he wanted to prepare us for the move. In the end, we thoroughly enjoyed our time at Makerere University.
My Dad is a great keeper of secrets and I have confided in him a lot over the years. I know he listens well, he does not judge, he empathizes, he cries with me, he laughs with me and I know he deeply cares for me. And before he gives advice, he prays. I know my dad prays for me daily, to this day (as does my mom).
My Dad is a person of good repute, so I am never ashamed to say I am his daughter, and any time I invoke his name, I get favor. When the Bible says that a good name is more desirable than great riches, to be esteemed better than silver or gold – it is very true. My father has a good name, and I am proud of him for that.
My father grew up in poverty and he always confessed that he was not good at managing money. We literally saw him hand over all the money he made to my mom for her to manage the home affairs and this worked for them. I know that anything they have together they have built together.
I have watched my Dad be not just a father to me, but to countless young people through his ministry in the church, and that too endears him to me. So many people call him Uncle Ben and I know so many people are fond of him. He loves young people and they love him too. My father loves music and he knew that this was a great tool to reach out to young people. He combined his love of music, his love of young people and passion for God, to pioneer the Anglican Youth Fellowship(AYF) – one of the earliest gospel music bands in Uganda. My dad traversed Uganda with AYF, singing and preaching and reaching out to young people.
Now in his old age, I have seen my Dad become a grandfather, and he takes this role very seriously. He is always happy to see our children, plays with them when he can, or simply sits and talks with them. Above all, I appreciate my Dad for loving my Mom and for showing us how a man is supposed to treat his wife. When Mom is happy, we know it is because of Dad. He has been her support, he helps out with housework and he has been her dear friend all these years.
Today I celebrate my Dad and I wish him many more years. May he live to see his children’s children’s children.