By Irene Lamunu
Born to Modesto Aliti and Jokamina Oleru in 1976, Eric Ezati’s dream was to become a Priest, an idea his father did not buy because he was the first born in the family and he could not let him because he wanted grandchildren. That did not stop Ezati from following his dream of serving the Lord later on in his life; Ezati said he loved going to church as a small boy and made sure he didn’t miss mass at any cost.
At his young age, he would tell his aunts, younger brothers and sisters to sing church songs and then after, he would preach to them what he heard a Priest preach in church then after his action, he would tell them that he was the Priest. This became a routine that one of his aunts was sure he would become a priest someday.
When he got to the age where he could attend catechism instructions, it was just about that same age that his father wanted him to start primary school but Ezati instead opted for Catechism instructions rather than going to school. When his father told him that he had to go to school, he told his father that he was not going to school but would rather go for catechism; His father had to beat him to force him to school. In 1982, he began school at Mbura Primary school until primary six in 1987. In 1988, Ezati moved to Yivu Primary school where he sat for his Primary Leaving Exams. In 1989, Eric was admitted to St. Joseph’s College Ombachi for his senior one to senior four. Then, he moved to St. Aloysius College Nyapea in 1993-1995 for his A-level.
While in Ombaci, Ezati had the opportunity and chance to follow his passion of serving the Lord. He joined the school church choir, became an altar server, and also joined the Young Christian Society so he could serve the Lord better. In Ombaci, he also served as the chairman for Maracha students association.
In Nyapea, he continued as an altar server and a choir master because that was where his passion was. Ezati’s desire to be close to the Lord grew deeper as years got by. During his senior six vacation, he began to look for ways of surviving, so he taught in many schools while waiting for his results. One day, as he came back from teaching a school in Kasoga Buikwe district, he got hit by a vehicle; he was rushed to Kawolo Hospital, where he was placed on a very dirty bed with nothing to cover himself, and with no doctor or nurse to care for him until the following day. While he was lying on the bed, a thought crossed his mind that instead of teaching, he should join medical practice so that he could show compassion to patients because he saw that they needed it so much to begin a healing process.
Ezati applied to Mulago School of Nursing and in 2001, he was admitted at the school where he stayed until 2003. He got a job at Reach-Out Mbuya after school and worked with HIV positive people. Eric said that he felt that was the job he needed to do because it brings a lot of joy to him and the fact that he is able to serve God by helping the people in need. In 2010, Ezati did a diploma in Palliative care from Makerere University.
Today, Ezati is happy that he did not become a priest because if he had, he would have missed out on the opportunity of working with his patients. Eric says he works in a very high risk situation but he is happy doing his job because it’s his dream job. Eric is happy when his patients appreciate him for the good job he has done. He noted that when some of the patients go to Reach-Out Mbuya, they are so weak and lost but when they go back to appreciate him, they are so happy.
Since he had the desire of becoming a priest, and his father had denied him the opportunity, though the desire has never gone away, he had already given his father the grand children he wanted so much and he was free to do what he wanted. But, it was too late for him to join priesthood but he knew there should be another way in which he could serve God better. Ezati has been reading about saints and he admires and idolizes some of them and their works. It drew him closer to God, but he felt that it was not enough. One day, a friend of his told him about the Comboni Lay Missionaries but he was reluctant about to learn about them.
But a while later, he was invited by his friend to a see session, which he reluctantly attended. While at the session, they were told stories of St. Daniel Comboni’s life, a story he fell in love with and decided to attend the following sessions. Then, he became regular at the Comboni lay missionaries’ House. He eventually was admitted to the formation after one year. On 10th May, 2015, he took his first commitment as a Comboni Lay Missionary. He says he loves his job and tries as much as possible to evangelize through it at Reach-Out. Not only does Eric interact with his patients from his office, he has made it his duty to follow them up to their homes and always comforts them and tells how much God loves them.
He is one person who has understood the nature of his work and spreads the word of God by the way he lives in the community. He says that is how the Comboni Lay Missionaries are expected to live. He added that as a lay missionary, patients should be able to differentiate his works from other medical personnel. Eric’s prayer today is that God should give him the humility and courage to do his work. He says that he admires a number of saints and their works of humility towards people they worked for. Eric has also been allocated babies and the youth as his clients. He says it’s nice to work with the youth who are on discovery of life but sometimes, their stories of challenges bring tears in his eyes during counseling sessions.
Ezati says what he realized is that the youth only want to be understood and not blamed. The best moments for Eric was the time when he took his first commitment as a lay missionary, and when he attends a re-collection because those moments bring him close to God. His desire is to act as a link between God and the patients and he has always encouraged patients to get closer to God. What Eric loves about Palliative care is the fact that they also teach patients to know God and get closer to Him because God brings life to them.
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