The Many Shades of Motherhood: Denise Kayigamba

To celebrate Mother’s Day, Denise Kayigamba, UGHE’s Director of Contracting & Procurement shares her experiences on motherhood of a teenager during the Coronavirus lockdown, and her message of solidarity with other mothers at the time. 

The Many Shades of Motherhood: 

My experiences of motherhood  during the Coronavirus Lockdown…

Being a mother is a lifelong role that involves multiple different functions; as manager of the house, a nurse, a teacher, psychologist, and so on. During lockdown, these difference functions have become more apparent than ever, as families stay at home together in isolation. Here, I give you a little glimpse into my current roles;

Mummy Manager of the House: 

At the beginning of COVID-19 confinement we were focused on the stocks of food, medicines and other things.  It was an opportunity to clean the house thoroughly, tidy up the cupboards, and do the housework. However, there were other things to think about also;  how do you get a rebellious teenager who refuses to leave his bed to clean his room? My solution? To turn off the wifi.  As a mother, from time to time it is important to take these sort of radical measures. 

Nurse Mother: 

April is usually rainy in Rwanda, with all that it  entails like flu and other seasonal diseases. Thanks to the TV and internet, the children are just as, if not more informed than we are. Recently, I allowed myself  out of the house once to go to the bank, and  two days later we all started coughing. Already very aware of COVID-19, my  son started to panic, and asked if  we should call 114 (Rwanda’s emergency services).   Knowing that the security measures had been respected at the bank and in my role as household nurse, I helped calm the situation and we started to monitor our temperature every two hours. It all ended well in the end, but far better to have taken precautionary measures. 

Mummy Sports Trainee: 

In the past, the concern of mothers was to keep the children calm inside the house which is still the case for children under 12 years of age. But then they reach their teenage years and you wonder; how do you get a teenager out of his room during lockdown? But I found a solution; to make my son my sports coach. Of course, the real goal was to make him exercise, which is how we learned to do cardio, zumba and skipping rope together. The funny thing is that it turned against me because he took his role very seriously , and now I can’t be lazy even when I want to be! The upside is that he’s learned to coach himself.

Mummy Teacher:

Whilst school hasn’t yet reopened  , schools have taken the trouble  to send homework to students.  It’s important for the children to study and work whilst they are away from their classrooms.. It has to be said that I didn’t have too much of a problem when it came to supporting homeschooling as my son learned to organize himself. I take my hat off to all the mothers of young children who had to balance work at home at the same time as looking after the little ones, and then also playing the role of teacher on top of that. It’s exhausting and frustrating because you realize, that by the end of the day, you haven’t had a chance to finish any of the tasks you set out to do.


Above all else the confinement has allowed my son and I  to strengthen our bond. Since lockdown, we have enjoyed and shared in  a lot of activities, rediscovered board games, and discussed various topics of conversations that previously we hadn’t had time to discuss. If I had to draw a conclusion on lockdown, it’s that the confinement has a silver lining. It  allows families to rediscover each other and to strengthen their ties.