By Felix & Aluma Clement
Arua. He started from scratch as classroom teacher with chalk dirtying him in classroom for several years.
But his hard work, resilience and optimism led him to greater heights. Now West Nile Press Online exclusively spoke to Anguyo Pariyo 67, born in October 1949, in a poor family who excelled to become one of the revered head teachers in Arua district.
When I was a child, there were conflicts of interests where my father liked only drinking yet for me I had liked education. I grew up in a mud and wattle grass thatched house which was the bed room, sitting and for us children to sleep in also.
When I reached five years, my mother pushed me to start going to school and completed junior in 1962. And I always thought of becoming a teacher because I wanted to achieve both my dreams and that of my mother and the respect and dignity teachers were given that time.
So I went to Makerere University where I offered Bachelor of Science. Then I started Vurra Secondary as only O’level school in 1981 and was the first head teacher appointed by the education service commission. It was later elevated to A’level too.
“Being a head teacher is a big task because there is too much expectation from teachers, students and parents and entire community. They want you to nurture their children with high discipline and pass well. But you need to understand the issues of the students and once they like you, they will have no problem with you. And this made me have a fairly smooth administration,” he said.
L-R-Mr Anguyo Pariyo receives a certificate of recognition by Teachers Association from Arua Municipal Mayor, Mr Charles Asiki. Photo by Aluma Clement
Success in life does not come on a silver plate. He started developing his career in 1978 when he was a teacher at Kabalega Secondary school. Though life in administration is never smooth. There are many temptations and forces that keep driving the students and teachers towards hating an administration. There was attempted strike in Vuraa S.S in 1995 where students refused to eat potatoes saying they are meant for pigs.
The second attempt was in 2002 when students matched to the DEO’s office accusing me my absence in school. Not knowing that I was appointed as chairman probe committee of a staff strike in Kuluva hospital. So this took most of my time and students did not understand my situation.
And the third was in Maracha S.S and this was a bit serious because the students attempted to burn the whole school on grounds that the posho was ‘bitter’.
Best and worst moments
The best thing is the children that I have who are my pride and making my retirement comfortable. Secondly when we formed Arua Head Teacher’s Association and I was the General Secretary and eventually became the chairman.
But the worst this is when my first beloved woman, Betty Ocokoru (RIP), whom I cohabited with from 1974 to 1980, died and had four children. The second wife whom I married was a Nurse and married her in 1982 but died in 2004 due to cancer of the Kidney and we had no children.
So I married thrice because after the death of the two, I married Grace Candiru in 2008, who is now a teacher at Vurra Secondary school which I started. We wedded with her but we agreed not to have children and we are living peacefully.
Now my first born, Anthony Pariyo is prsuing his PhD in Plant Breeding in Makerere University, second born, Emily Gutu is a teacher, third born a Nurse working at Arua Regional Referral hospital and last born will be graduating soon in Orthopedics.
I earned my first salary in 1978 at Shs 1, 300 and at the end of the month I find myself remaining with Shs 600 when I was a teacher at Kabalega Secondary school. I was earning this every month. And there were incentives teachers get which motivated and teachers loved their work. But now I feel sad that teachers are being tossed on issues of salary. So there is no reason why we should talk about improving performance in schools when teachers are not motivated.
With the Shs 1300, I could even go in the evening and buy some beers, plan for food and other items though I was still alone. And at that time we had no issues of ghost teachers or validation exercise because government had trust with less corruption. But now teachers are frustrated.
I retired in 2008, but there are two big diseases retired people face: seclusion and redundancy. And I made it also, because I did not have enough preparation. When not prepared, it leads to misery and people die faster than expected. But I had to move quickly and joined politics as District Councilor for Vurra Sub-county. I thank the people who gave me this mandate because of the things I did for them previously.
Mr Anguyo Pariyo during the interview in Arua. Photo by Felix.
But also, I was appointed as Chairman Finance Committee of St Peter’s Church Ayelembe. And these have kept me busy.
Pension and gratuity
It takes long to come for many people where others even die without benefitting from it. After my retirement, I missed my November package because I retired in October. But later it was compensated in December. I think the problem also comes due to poor documentation. But I was lucky that I kept my documents well and used some OBs who were working in the Ministry and following it was not so hard.
I received certificate recognizing my work in starting Vurra S.S and Teachers Association which is still alive and more improved now. It is my pride to see it going strong because we need to all use it to strengthen education standards in our district.
Oh yes I started writing a book titled: “Destination unknown.” But unfortunately this book got lost at the time we were fleeing from the 1979 war. But still I liked reading books of mainly African Writers like Walk to Freedom by Nelson Mandela, Chinua Achebe books, Ngugi Wathiogo and Stanley Gardner-it was an investigative novel.
Prominent people taught
I am proud of Dr Pamvuga, a Veterinary doctor who was my student. Mr Aggrey Tata (RIP), retired head teacher of Mvara S.S, Dr Kibaleshua, Mr Ezaruku Ezati, now Chairman Board for Arua Regional Referral hospital, Eng. Joseph Mademaga who was one of my brightest students and was the best in the country in exams. But others are now in police.