Berys wife speaks out


Being Bery’s partner for more than 30 years, I am in shock of the false accusations made by one person. At first I was restrained communicating with the media, as I have experienced in the last few days, how they report. However after receiving so much support from so many different people, from all over the world confirming their faith and trust in Bery, I gained the strength to speak out. Bery is a very open, warm and loving person who believes in the good intentions of each and everybody. He is an open book talks openly to each and everyone even, about sensible subjects. He likes to advice people based on his live experience and medical education. I would never support him emotionally, psychologically nor financially in our SHS project knowing he would do any harm to one of the girls. I myself am emotionally bonded with most of the girls who are with us for a longer time. My financial situation does not allow me yet, to spend more time with them, however I look forward to my yearly visits. I am aware that sometimes girls sleep in the same room as Bery does, the ones with bedwetting problems on special mattresses on the floor and when the house is full in vacation time, it is very likely one has to sleep next to, not with Bery. Also when one is sick, Bery allows her to sleep openly in his room for comfort and peace.

I know that since Bery became a cancer patient and now also suffers from diabetes, his legs cramp in the evening and the chemo caused his skin to be very dry, so when I am not there to take care of this, he asks one of the girls longer with us, to put moisturizer on his feet, calves and back. The girls don’t seem to mind especially as these particular ones would like to become a nurse later.

I understand for newer or younger girls this seems awkward or abnormal as the Ugandan culture does not show any physical affection and care as openly. We, Europeans, are brought up more spontaneous in showing affection towards each other. I remember two years ago all girls giggling at the breakfast table when Bery and I kissed and hugged to wish each other Happy Valentine. This was unusual to them.

Over the years more and more girls were brought to us by parents, relatives, teachers and officials. Regardless the length of their stay, we cared and care for each and everyone as if they were, are, our own daughters. As responsible parents we feel it is logical, us informing them about personal hygiene, (having vaginal irrigators and crème available if desired to treat infections and STD’s), their rights to say no, and how they can prevent becoming HIV infected and or even pregnant (demonstrating how to use a condom properly on an artificial penis, instead of using for this a banana, as we used to before).

Also by giving them aid to pursue an education our only objective is to give them a chance to have a worthwhile healthy future. Good that my husband has been granted bail, I am positive the legal battle can now start as Bery is out and can speak for himself. I hope all will be cleared soon as I seriously worry about the health of Bery and this again traumatizing experience for the girls we care for and love.

Ingrid Dilen, Belgium