Dark.Darker.

“Hey.  Wake up,” shouting voices.

“He is still breathing”. A collective sigh.

“And it wasn’t too long ago.  The engine is still running”

I want to respond.I have the answers.  But some tight force is holding me back.Someone is trying to get me into a seating position.  My will is weak.  I can feel hands going down,  past the elastic band of my riding suit. They connect with my skin. I want to protest.  But what the heck.  Let me just sleep.  It’s easier to sleep. The hands tug at my belt.  They go deeper. Someone is going for my pockets. I move my left hand,  but my fingers cannot hold. The many voices keep me off sleep.  My eyes flutter.

Tell them what they want. They will leave you alone and you can be in peace soon after. 

I sit up. I can sense renewed interest as more people surge forward. My new position cuts off progress into my pockets.  Some one curses under their breath. I can’t remember where I am or why I am on the ground.  Or even why people surround me. I am helped to my feet.  I struggle for balance.  Someone lifts up the increasingly heavy bike. ” Let’s go”,they call out.

A  breath and flutter later I can hazily make out the entrance to Maddu health centre. I live right opposite it. But where are we from then?

“You have a broken arm,”Mr Kalundu announces. “Two bones. And a simple fracture on your femur.

As if on cue,an intense wave of pain washes over me. Now the broken arm explains the failed touch. I see darkness slowly swallow me up.  I want to  scream.My  breath is short.  My voice is stuck in my throat.

Then quiet.

Peace.

Dark.

Finally!

***

My new friend.

My new friend.

I hadn’t moved.  I swear I hadn’t.  That girl was lying.  How could I even move, I was on double clutches-actually one pair of clutches under the wrong arm.

Having both  left arm and right leg broken and in Plaster of Paris meant I had no balance. Heck I couldn’t even use the communal toilet! Having your whole leg in cast does that to you. You can’t bend to seat, let alone squat. So why she insisted I had moved got me angry.

The doctor found my bone had shifted out of position hence the swelling and excruciating pain.Maybe she feared the doctor would blame her but I was the one in pain here.That and weeks of unchanged sleeping position make you something else. I read every book I could find.  I became more conversational-not with the several visitors whose constant greeting  is Ngolabye! Eh! Said with grim faces you think they know something you don’t, like you could die any minute.

So I constantly assured them I would make it, really! I had heard no talk  of amputation.  And it was just a few broken bones.  So I learned the art of conversation to steer things quite quickly from my pitiful state, to bigger concerns like world peace and the ozone layer,or mother Thereza’s  sainthood.  Have you noticed it shines so fiercely these days! I would wonder with so much drama they had to agree.  Then I would wheel my chair around in so much thought if their only line of conversation was my bones they would leave soon after,  speak to my mother or whoever in my support structure they knew.

Moments like this make you reevaluate your entire life. They make you question God,if only for  awhile. Waves of fear grip you regularly. What if I can’t hold again?

What if I lose my leg.Or both leg and arm.

Will I get married? How do I get a job after that?

Every call from work gets your  nerves standing on end. If it’s your boss, that  Oh My,they are letting me go! I did cause an accident after all.

Probably killed someone.

***

I revved my Suzuki TX ,strapped on my helmet and checked my tyre pressure again. Those bikes made famous by veterinary assistants I was called musawo.

It was a routine I was used to .The 94 kilometers of rough road awaited me. I had  to go fast. Riding after dark was both  against the manual and I needed some rest.

I looked my manager through the visor. She had just denied my approval to stay in a guest house nearby. As anybody knew, I would have just gone home. But I didn’t argue. I had done this several times anyway. It’s the reason I had been posted to the farthest  project region. I was the youngest on the team,and I didn’t fear speed.The machine obeyed me.

The heat out of the plastic riding suit, the thick sweeter within,and a helmet strapped on tight  soon produced a sweating sensation. The humdrum of the gravel and bike tyres pushing forward was all the noise I could hear for a while.I could have dosed off,even if for  a second. Till I turned the corner and the only good side of the road had a man,riding his bicycle about 50 metres close.

An impact was eminent. I sharply turned into a brown pond in the road,towards my right. He turned to his left,his rightful side. I turned back to avoid him.All that in few seconds. It was too late.

I can’t remember so much soon after.  I woke up two kilometres away,three hours later,a kilometre after my rented project home,headed where,I couldn’t tell.

A theory was reconstructed in the next week or so. My riding glove was found in the morning,it had  slipped off my broken arm,next to  a broken helmet visor-and a drunken man sleeping peacefully within a pool of vomit .  A very loud reek of alcoholic vomit.Even flies kept away.

He was moved to hospital that day. I had received faster care. We would meet later-with a threat of court action,given my NGO working credentials and assumed money,and he,being part of a community we are meant to weed out of poverty. I couldn’t win.

To date,what really happened is hazy,but what is incontestable is that I fell twice,once after impact,only to get up an in a daze -with stone cracked helmet. I rode again-how I cant tell, only to lose consciousness and falling by the way side,heavy bike a top leg, hence the broken femur.

She struggled with the guilt of a denied application to stay. She constantly called.

We grew farther apart with my nurse. I was glad to hop away after a few weeks with my POP bright in the sun and an overgrown beard.

What made the accident worse,from my perspective, is that on closer scrutiny,my permit had expired a few days earlier.

The way things were going, it hit me, I may have to  tick more off that list. Each one of us has a list. Things so bad they cannot happen to us? That list.

Lose someone you love.Check.Check.

Have a serious accident.Check.

It seemed like losing a job and going to prison were coming fast.

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We Are Too Good Together To Be Together: The Cookie crumbles

Sean saw no reason for apologies  for  hitting  on a girl in her presence.In her dad’s house. The other girl,  her cousin.

As things stood ,she hit on him.He was the victim. He reasoned. In a rather shallow manner.

Carole knew no  amends. In her world, whether wrong or wronged,she was right. Always. Beauty and brains give you such rights.Only one thing worried her.The night seemed too long to end.She had made several visits to the bathroom,not only to wash her face  but once or twice to throw up.

Trudy loved Carole more like a sister than a friend. She was also jealous. Being Carole’s friend relegated you to the shadows. Besides, the boy was fun. If she had to live  with a  boyfriend- snatcher tag, she could as well earn it.cookie

It was with these thoughts making the rounds that Carole took her Aunt’s offer to holiday in Dar. The coast.The sand.The allure.

She was to return four months later-without planning or announcement.Having lost her baby.His baby. Emotions in turmoil. She had all through managed to keep both her destination and condition secret.

It now all seemed that in gelling so well together,they lost themselves individually. Therefore much as their union  brought out the best in each,it also mirrored the worst in each,sadly through the other,now in double quantities. Instead of love,everyone aimed to hurt,without thought.

The sex was great,even sore,but just as the tingling wore off,the aches softened and more desire coursed through the  veins once again.It came with fierce demons,whose fire was announced with yet more intense love making ,and cursing and fighting. There in lay the first cracks.

Sean,frustrated, could hardly work for the first month. He had called,texted, e-mailed and visited. No news of her whereabouts. It seemed no,one including her cousin and brother wanted to tell him  where she was.

Trudy, on her part, was not proud of her actions at the party.But what was a girl to do! It wasn’t that she had forced anyone to her derriere,however irresistible men found it. It wasn’t her fault. Her sweater in Sean’s car then gave her reason to call him up and promise to pick it up,later,at his place.

It had been months and Carole refused to take or return her calls.

So one thing led to another.Hot abs and bosom meeting for frequent coffees,then walks, then sex.

Carole rapped the door had.For the third time.  It opened a chink,then wider.The face that welcomed her was first of surprise,then shock, then anger. He was shirtless. He stepped away from the door. Their eyes met. She,all emaciated and sweaty,her all oily and toweled,shoulders bare. Carole and Trudy.

She fainted.

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A Flight Into The New Year:If You Think Iam Making This Up,Change Your Drink

You don’t just walk into the new year.Even amble into it .You have to do it  with class.Like take a flight into the new year. Yes,I said class,and what you drink tells a lot about you …and the company you keep.

In 2012 , Heineken  in Uganda planned a party,nay flight into the neighboring year. Set off was at 8.00 pm.New years take some flying to. We would disembark the other side in 2013. But don’t worry,you will be well taken care of. The invite said.And they did,Heineken welcomed you at the gate,serving pretty,smiling beauties. No. Wait. I mixed that up.

With  drinks all taken care of,music checked and trays of eats making the  rounds,I wouldn’t have cared for a long flight.  But 2013 was soon upon us and allwe could do is dance,welcome the year and  toast to it. Did I say the take of party was at  the classy Seventeen Apartments in Kololo? Now I have .

Heineken party

Heineken frequent flyers

So before fireworks there was the lovely performances;the MITH rapping and Lilian soulfully singing and yet more beer.

It’s a flight you want to take regularly,so if for some reason you missed this,Heineken has made a home in Uganda.Talk to your favorite barman. Surely 2013 can only get better.

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Jack Of All Trades: The Genesis

Jobya is a small village west of Kampala. It is nestled delicately two miles off the main Kampala-Masaka Road at 64 kilometres. It is not in Masaka.  Masaka is a far away as Kampala is.  It is so small its houses can be counted. When the Resistance Council (RC) system was started in 1986, the village   did not have enough adults to form an independent RC I council. The residents there could not form a complete committee of nine, unless all of them stood for office. But then there would be no voters. So it was joined by a much bigger Kabira,to form Jobya –Kabira RC1.It has since changed to LC.

Even the Catholic system of forming cells did not find the small village with enough religious individuals to form a Cell or Kabondo as we call it, it was jumbled up with Kabira.

The Education system was even harsher, when a Primary School was started, by, I believe, the White Fathers, and they determined the patron saint to be St Jude, the name of the school took the team into much discussion, till they agreed, with divine intervention , I presume. The new name?  Buyijja-Kabira. Buyijja borders Jobya to the North,while Kabira is the Western neighbour. Nothing could be more belittling.

A large road runs through the village,as if to symmetrically subdivide the even smaller village, eleven households fall to the left while thirteen or so fall to the right. Remember the road. It will be important in this story.

Houses have since increased, as children build close to their fathers and till the land and start families. A few grow up and find bigger ambitions in Mitala –Maria as shop keepers,bodaboda riders in Buwama or hawkers in Kampala. I did neither, although I ended up in Kampala myself. Some will use their time well  at  school and they will become famous and very useful in the country. A few may even come back home with political ambitions, to represent their constituency in Parliament.

The village is beautifully surrounded by streams of water, to the right which forms a border with Kibenge and Kabira, and to the left which borders the government forest reserve-now almost gone thanks to charcoal burners and the reclamation of virgin forest land for vegetables and pineapples- and Kabango.

To its credit,Jobya has three wells,well,four if you count Kitolo, though in Buyijja,it is where the top north residents go to get clean water. I would ride over to get clean drinking water. It is what my Dad insisted on. He said it was pure, you could take it without boiling if first.

One’s trip to the well was the first sign you were growing, or becoming more responsible, you could be sent for errands. The size of water container told more of your age, or strength.

But I secretly believe my dad’s praise for the well had more than meets the eye. See, his father’s land bordered the well in Buyijja and he had grown up drinking from that well. It is true it had very clear and cool water and the runoff watered our  yam and banana gardens nearby. Buyijja is not only my ancestral village; it also holds our burial grounds-in a valley the family shares with the well  whose actual name is  Kitolo.It is in that swamp that we would frolic for nziru,mpafu,jambula,matungulu and kobe, the latter which we would eat roasted.

If you were coming from Nnyondo,a village made famous by Paulo Muwaga-he had  his country home there- you could almost see the end of Jobya village even before you enter it. Nnyondo is also my mother’s ancestral village. We loved the passion fruits there after church in Kabira, when our maternal grandmother allowed us to visit. My parents therefore, I can safely presume, did not meet at some mall or restaurant. They are none in Jobya. It was the old time tested dating of walking over mountains and across swamps.

From our home, your sight will stretch beyond the iron- roofed school buildings; we would know just how late it was by simply looking at how many pupils in yellow school uniform were seen at the horizon. We have all attended that school. I rose in hierarchy to become assistant class-monitor; some of my  siblings have performed better. Across the school to the North East you will see the hills of Bumbo, the area where rebel leader Nkwanga holed,with Kasirye Gwanga and it is  rumored ,Museveni too,for a few weeks trying to root out Nkwanga’s FEDEMU. To the South your sight will be arrested by the thick forest which separates our village with Bongole, another village, but also Mitala Maria, the education, health, religious and trading centre. Mitala Maria is where the catholic parish is domiciled. It is where such important functions like confirmation and mugigi were conducted.

When one passed their Primary Leaving Examinations ( PLE) really well, they joined  St.Balikuddembe SSS in Mitala Maria.It is over seven  kilometers away, and we would make the walk for mass, and later to school for my brothers and sisters.  I am the only one yet in my generation no to attend the family school. My father studied there too. I went to Kisubi Seminary instead, and then to Masaka-at St Henry’s College Kitovu. That is the first time I visited Masaka.I enjoyed my two year stay there. But I don’t come from Masaka. Despite intense political re-districting my home is still in Mpigi district.

To the North, the road stretches to Buwungu,near the late Anthony Sekweyama’s home, past  Ntolomwe-the Late BOU past  Governor Kiggundu’s ancestral home, and if you followed it long enough you would end up in Gombe, known for the hospital. If you did not make any turns, you would find yourself by the main road once again, the Kampala-Masaka Road,at Mpigi. But if you had made a slight turn to the left before Gombe hospital, you would go all the way to Kabulasoke,and  Maddu in Gomba and either end up in Mityana or Sembabule,past Kisozi,having crosses the  Katonga river. I rode those roads for some years in my first employment. It is on that road that I had my first serious motor accident-the one which got me thinking about death, and terminated employment due to disability and got me to start my first business; Jobya Farm-after the small village that gave me life and provided me with lifeskills.

Through Kabira  though,we know the road will take you back to Nnyondo, and the  main road and to either Kampala or Masaka, depending on your business. I went to Kampala before I visited Masaka, as a young boy who in his P.7 vacation had planted a somewhat large garden of tomatoes with my elder brother. It did well and we found ourselves, in turn, taking the overnight truck, with our ware in pine boxes to Owino market to sell tomatoes. Later, my Dad,who had gone to school and worked in Kampala  for years, would give me a guided tour of Mulago, Crested towers, Makerere University and Parliament.

My choice of first business was not surprising, for the first part of my life, farming was all I knew. My banana garden afforded me quite a number of chips and chicken plates at Mickey Mo in Wandegeya later when I attended university.

Such a small village does not have very frequent graduation parties, so my first one was intriguing. The graduand was fetched from Makerere in full honor by the grandest car in the neighborhood, an ambulance, and the priest who acted driver that day put  the siren to good use. I felt a rush of adrenalin and if not a tinge of jealousy for the graduand, he who had gone to Makerere, that all famous hill of the wise and came back with a degree. As a primary school pupil, it seemed a long long way, if I ever got there at all. So far I had only one example to look up to.

It therefore came as no surprise that the first person I requested for a meeting was Frank, when I was in my third year at Makerere University. I had sought audience to garner some knowledge on how to negotiate the world of job seeking and street stamping. It did not help matters for me, I believe, since I had studied the much despised flat course; Social Sciences. He had studied the   same degree course, if he had managed to find a job, he would guide me how.

“Do you feel threatened by the so called professional -course pursuing students?” Frank asked me.

To be honest, I envied them. We were sharing course units with some of them, the almighty SWASA and Mass Communications. They were on their way to becoming well-decorated journalists and NGO bosses.

“Don’t be. You will be surprised just how differently the ball bounces when you leave University. It is not the course, or even the grades, although they help, but what you can do.” He explained, with all the calmness of one speaking to a slow child. I only partly believed him.

And the ball did bounce wildly. I got my first job with Concern Worldwide, a job my professional-course fellows would have envied ,got the  day before I graduated. I had applied for it straight from the School of Education Library from a  New Vision paper clipping. The proximity to the free library internet services and newspapers informed my decision to locate in Nakulabye,a suburb well known for pork, local brew and if a bit of prostitution. But houses there come cheap and it is a walk-able distance, not only to the University, which I then missed, and Kampala city, for one of those days when I had no taxi fare.

But that had been nine months since my last paper, and a lot had happened. That started the journey of NGO jargon and motor biking and making the world a better place through aid and capacity building.

Until that fateful Monday evening in January when I woke up in hospital, with no recollection of how I had got there, but the certainty that my helmet was cracked off my head, that I could not hold with my left hand and my right leg was broken in two places. My perception of employment changed then.

To be continued…

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Premiering SKYFALL with two years in blogosphere

Premiering SKYFALL with two years in blogosphere.

Premiering SKYFALL with two years in blogosphere

This post comes to you several weeks late.Anniversary blues and all.

But by now you must have realized that SKYFALL, the new James Bond movie is showing in a cinema near you.

Look out for her. Good with target.

I attended the premiere with more reasons of my own. It coincided with this blog’s second anniversary,and the first commission to promote something-blog related,with more than beer for pay, that is.

The Heineken and Cineplex teams made sure every one had a great time.As soon one walked into the green dome, there were no less than,well, many girls smiling.

This conversation took place that night:

Hey,great to see you.

(Really? She knows me?)

Would you like a beer? Heineken?

How could I say No?

Kindly get your picture taken,settle in and I will let you know when the movie is set to start.

(Huh! They get this good!)

And please remember to switch off your mobile phone,inside the cinema. (Glittering teeth.)

Can I leave it here with you? I can then pick it up later…

He he.You are funny. Enjoy your movie.

Hint,hint.I only eavesdropped because I was in line.

Someone must have been getting in character,Just like the 50 year -old franchise lead character James Bond is not known for many things;he kills really well and he is smooth like that.

Now,I came across this story from Forbes,detailing just how you -mere mortals -can learn to work like Bond.I picked out a few.

Don’t Bother Giving Motivational Speeches –Who needs motivational speeches when there is action. Just do it.People,and dogs can smell confidence from a mile away.Have it and they will follow without question.

Don’t Be Afraid to Go It Alone  – Not a team player? Who cares. As long as you get the results delivered. Have you ever heard of a James Bond Strike Team? Any more questions?

And the killer tip:Master a Few Skills and Be Passable at Everything Else – “Bond isn’t known for being a gifted musician, artist, or businessperson. He’s a master at just two things: killing and wooing. That’s it.” Get known as a consultant in a few key things,and learn your way as you go. Connect the dots, backwards if you may, as the journey continues.

Improvise.

Of course the story goes on for quite  a bit.What got me talking after  watching the movie is that Uganda gets mentioned-with stealing elections-in the same breath.As if Kony and Idi Amin have not made us famous enough.

But that is SKYFALL.
November marked my second year in blogosphere,and boy oh boy has it been a ride!
I will take some time later,after cake, to write you a full post.

For now,Go watch the movie.It is a great movie.Drink Heineken,the new girl on the block.You know how cool girls be. And do visit here once in a while,and leave a comment. We are on twitter.Follow. Do tweet a story every now and then and keep the conversation going.

We be growing

Two years later.Grab a piece.

Posted in straight from the heart | Leave a comment

Premiering SKYFALL with two years in blogosphere

This post comes to you several weeks late.Anniversary blues and all.

But by now you must have realized that SKYFALL, the new James Bond movie is showing in a cinema near you.

Look out for her. Good with target.

I attended the premiere with more reasons of my own. It coincided with this blog’s second anniversary,and the first commission to promote something-blog related,with more than beer for pay, that is.

The Heineken and Cineplex teams made sure every one had a great time.As soon one walked into the green dome, there were no less than,well, many girls smiling.

This conversation took place that night:

Hey,great to see you.

(Really? She knows me?)

Would you like a beer? Heineken?

How could I say No?

Kindly get your picture taken,settle in and I will let you know when the movie is set to start.

(Huh! They get this good!)

And please remember to switch off your mobile phone,inside the cinema. (Glittering teeth.)

Can I leave it here with you? I can then pick it up later…

He he.You are funny. Enjoy your movie.

Hint,hint.I only eavesdropped because I was in line.

Someone must have been getting in character,Just like the 50 year -old franchise lead character James Bond is not known for many things;he kills really well and he is smooth like that.

Now,I came across this story from Forbes,detailing just how you -mere mortals -can learn to work like Bond.I picked out a few.

Don’t Bother Giving Motivational Speeches –Who needs motivational speeches when there is action. Just do it.People,and dogs can smell confidence from a mile away.Have it and they will follow without question.

Don’t Be Afraid to Go It Alone  – Not a team player? Who cares. As long as you get the results delivered. Have you ever heard of a James Bond Strike Team? Any more questions?

And the killer tip:Master a Few Skills and Be Passable at Everything Else – “Bond isn’t known for being a gifted musician, artist, or businessperson. He’s a master at just two things: killing and wooing. That’s it.” Get known as a consultant in a few key things,and learn your way as you go. Connect the dots, backwards if you may, as the journey continues.

Improvise.

Of course the story goes on for quite  a bit.What got me talking after  watching the movie is that Uganda gets mentioned-with stealing elections-in the same breath. As if Kony and Idi Amin have not made us famous enough.

But that is SKYFALL.
November marked my second year in blogosphere,and boy oh boy has it been a ride!
I will take some time later,after cake, to write you a full post.

For now,Go watch the movie.It is a great movie.Drink Heineken,the new girl on the block.You know how cool girls be. And do visit here once in a while,and leave a comment. We are on twitter.Follow. Do tweet a story every now and then and keep the conversation going.

We be growing

Two years later.Grab a piece.

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Two Pigs!

Two Pigs!.

Hygiene is the last thing I will envy a pig for. I know where they play.In the sty.

I have shaken hands,um hooves with pigs once,and you can guess how I came out of it. Stinking.

You see,by nature pigs may appear friendly,but the are dirty,even when they play,they will only roll you in the mud,and their hooves are spiky,whatever intentions they will only tuck you harder in more muck,full of their waste.

I am done with these two. I have since realized  their minds and intentions  stink too. But I have walked away before,and spent alot of time cleaning up.Despite the  short encounter.

You may call on on  me now. Sing all you like. What comes out is a grunt. I wont play. You smell the same. Dirty.

You can justify how good you can be.You make pork and bacon.Yeah.

When you are dead.

So this is what I give you,the finger. It signifies bye.I learn fast.
You are who you are. Pigs.

Go write another letter to the Board.Pig!

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