Rehema Apio

As interviewed by Lila Madden, March 16, 2013
"Both the government and the rebels were fighting and when the two elephants fight, it is the grass that suffers. All the people in Northern Uganda suffered."
Rehema Apio

Introductory Profile: About Rehema Apio

My interviewee’s name was Rehema Apio. She is a 43-year-old women from Northern Uganda. I was originally interviewing her about women’s rights, but for a section of the interview, we talked about the governmental problems and protests for a new system. Most of the problems lead back the other. At one point she spoke about how the school board wouldn’t give her her salary for an entire year, and she stood up to them and got them to pay her. That definitely stood out to me over all the subjects we covered, but all of the responses from the questions I asked taught me something new.

Rehema is an African-born American. She explained to me that Texas is her true home, and she calls herself an American. She has long, plaited, black hair that she usually wears up, brown eyes, and she is about 5’ 8”. She is extremely friendly and sociable. In Uganda, it is normal to ask someone where they are going, how they are doing, and even just saying hi to a stranger. In some parts of the U.S, if you ask someone you sat next to on the bus their name and where they were going, they would be like, “What do you want; why are you talking to me?” She is very talkative and every question I asked had a long response. Most led to new questions and delved into information I didn’t even ask for, although I learned a lot more as a result. In Northern Uganda, where Rehema lived, the people were oppressed, while in Southern Uganda, where the president is, the people had more rights and freedom. This was one of the reasons I learned so much about the oppression – Rehema came from a part of Uganda with more effects of war.

Despite the fact that the interview and transcript were the same content and words, they both felt very different to listen/read through. During the entire interview, Rehema was smiling and laughing, even during some parts others would normally express with more sadness. Despite the rough topics we covered, not once did Rehema seem sad or even mildly depressed. Every time she laughed and my dad and I joined in – I had to edit it out of the transcript. This made it seem much more heavy and depressing than it originally felt. Rehema also used her hands to help communicate and get the message across. One example was when we were talking about how men in Uganda did not allow women to wear short skirts and she often used her hands to gesture how short the men could wear their pants and how short the women were allowed to.

Overall, I learned a lot about social injustice in Uganda from Rehema. She was happy to help me and answer all my questions, despite the sometimes depressing nature of the responses. We managed to not only cover my original topic on women’s rights, but the government and other issues Uganda currently struggles with. We covered the war along with marriage issues. We even managed to cover the educational system problems and how all of Uganda is improving. That is why I think I had a successful interview with Rehema Apio.