Hilda Bahati’s life is a cradle of comfort for those in despair. Every morning, she gets up to uplift downcast souls and put a smile on their faces.
This means counselling, inspiring and pointing people in the right direction. She couldn’t have asked for more. Bahati, 29, is a professional counsellor based at Dynamic Broadcasting Services, located in Namirembe.
Imagine receiving a phone call in the dead of night. Someone is contemplating suicide and you are their last-resort lifeline to avert the tragedy.
“I have to do everything within my powers to prevent this and in the last month, I have received eight such phone calls,” she says. These are usually from students whose parents have high academic expectations of them.
To this end, her emergency line, 0757117117 is open 24 hours, seven days a week. She also runs counselling shows on Bob fm and Spirit fm. As a child, Bahati dreamt of being an eloquent speaker.
“I wanted to be a message deliverer and was later inspired into public speaking, especially after I watched the Oprah Winfrey show,” she says.
This dream was further nurtured as ‘D-Zombo’, as she was popularly known among her school mates, who became a good listener to many a person’s problems, including teachers. This was during her six years at Bishop’s Senior School, Mukono.
“I became a soft spot for those who were depressed and had relationship, health, family and financial problems so much so that I would even get mature people coming to me,” says Bahati.
Today, she is one of the most renowned professional counsellors. In a day, she counsels more than 25 people. She looks forward to developing a rehabilitation centre where she could grow a large team of counsellors. Although she has many successes in the counselling field under her belt, Bahati says she hardly gets any ‘me time.’
There is also the challenge of many male clients ‘hitting’ on her.
“Although they do, I know my boundaries, and given my reserved nature, I do not let them into my life,” she asserts.
On dealing with her own problems, Bahati says she has a personal counsellor.
When Bahati convinced her teachers that she could help them dictate notes to students in their absence, the teachers cringed to think that a student like her could do so accurately. Still, he who pays the piper calls the tune, and Bahati got what she wanted – confidence in the art of public speaking.
Soon, literature became her bedfellow and this widened her vocabulary. This career was further nurtured, when during her senior six vacations in 2004 she worked as an on-air presenter at Spirit fm.
Today, she speaks at different fora such as corporate and non-corporate workshops, prisons, hospitals and churches.
From the Shs 500,000 savings she made whilst working at Spirit, Bahati set up a shop dealing in electrical parts in Kayunga district. This was after her graduation from Makerere University in 2008.
Today, the shop, ‘SB Links’, has expanded beyond Kayunga to Mukono and another is soon opening in Kampala, at Kireka.
Childhood amp education
What stands out most in Bahati’s mind whilst she was growing up is how they had to go through the Indian Ocean to go to church.
“My family and I used to live on Likoni island in Mombasa, Kenya, and we had to use a ferry every Sunday to go to church,” she recalls.
She is the first child of Patrick Dzombo and Christine Kaligirwa’s six children. Her early schooling was done at Anandamanga and Likoni primary schools in Kenya. She completed standard six at Likoni before her family came back to Uganda. She later completed primary school at Bweyogere Christian Academy before joining Bishop’s Senior School where she did History, Economics, Geography and Divinity at A-level.
Bahati then enrolled at Makerere University in 2005 for a bachelor’s degree in Information Technology (IT). But IT has never been in her line of interest. Pursuing it was a result of peer pressure. To chase her counselling passion, she enrolled for a bachelor’s degree in Guidance and Counselling at Kyambogo University. Her research in human relationships that she is currently conducting will be the final icing on the counselling course.
Bahati is in a relationship with a gentleman she describes as hardworking and innovative. His pick-up line will forever remain etched in her mind. He said: “I have found gold in you and I am going to do everything in my power to preserve it.”
Source : The Observer