Yes, Variety is the Spice of Life

So it’s been a while since last I said a word here partly because I have been so absorbed in registering the wonderful satisfaction of reading but also because I have not felt the unction to write and even while I type this blog right now the desire is not there but a wise man or woman (political correctness is a thing in my circles lately) once said that the ones that make it are those who fight on even when there is no more fight left within them so am taking up that wise counsel and writing through my lack of desire for writing (I hope you notice that this whole first paragraph is my way of stalling while I figure out what to talk about).
For some time now I have been actively engaged on the Ugandan twitter scene (you can follow and engage with me @brightJajja) and aside from the usual animal instincts of the giants first of all naming themselves giants and then lording it over the rest of the world (like we have a shortage of dictators), there has been a spike in people doing their best to fit the narrative; our fear of being wrong is corroding our authenticity and individuality. We all seem to aspire to be like everyone else and this sameness is what I am fighting against in this blog. Of course this is not confined to twitter, it’s all over social media. First of all, let me warn my moral ambassadors early on, I am going to piss you off just as much as I will piss off any religious cleric that’s stuck in crusading against right and wrong and everything in between. Secondly it’s my strong desire that while expressing my anguish towards what I think is our obsession with morality, I will clarify what I stand for without requiring you to agree with my values. They are my values; you have yours and it is allowed and okay for both of us to live together as brethren lest we perish together as fools.
The premise of my argument then with regard to moral issues is that for you to be right, I do not have to be wrong. As a heterosexual African society (I doubt there is a homosexual one though), we are a people that have demonized homosexuals and rightly so, homosexuality to me and to most of my friends is unnatural and all sorts of crazy and weird but the homosexual is bound to disagree with us and should be allowed to do so first because Uganda as a country has not addressed the real issues affecting the everyday Ugandan like unemployment, corruption (there is a theory that the minimum wage legislation might not be signed to attract “more” investors), free health care, a proper education system that’s tailored to the African experience to such a satisfactory degree that they have the moral license to tell people how to have sex. I just don’t think we should waste national resources legislating against it when we have homeless children dying from malnutrition and on this note, I don’t believe the church should even celebrate with the anti-Pornography commission; it just wastes money on a problem you cannot solve through government policy. On the flipside however, due to the growth of the homosexual movement, it’s become near sacrilege to disagree with homosexuality in the name of being “politically correct” and this I have a problem with also. When Voltaire said that “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it” I think he meant the freedom of people on both sides of the aisle to say what they have to say without fear of being ostracized. In other words those who are pro-homosexuality should be aware that it is okay for us who don’t agree with their choice of living to voice our opinions without being branded insensitive, intolerant and backward. Homosexuality is wrong to some of us and we are going to raise our children in that awareness (Kevin Hart should not have apologized on this note). Now as a Christian, if my child ended up being a homosexual, it is incumbent upon me to love them and pray for them not only because they are my child but also because together we are created by God and He has demonstrated His love toward all mankind. I may not be able to change them but I would continually submit them to God in prayer for He is able to do exceedingly abundantly; above and beyond all that we expect. We can disagree and still remain brothers. It’s not that cat people should completely annihilate dog people; if we did this, we will annihilate each other to extinction. This same argument goes to my dear feminists; as a man raised for most of my life by single mother, I have an appreciation, respect and love for women and equality of the sexes. However, like most isms (most of which border on the extreme version for what the particular “ism” stands for) some proponents of this theory want to do away with men altogether. It’s like one cannot be a feminist and a mother or a wife. Your either a feminist or some other thing altogether and I beg to differ. While for some feminism might be a job (big shout out to all working women) or an education; the highest there can ever be, for others it can be raising young boys and girls with inspirational examples of their fathers and mothers about manhood and womanhood and how one is not exclusive of the other. The family is the basis of all learning in our lives. Therefore marriage is not exclusive of feminism; she can be married and a stay home mother and still be a feminist. Independence is not just about broken homes if anything independence thrives best within a healthy family environment for it teaches that ultimately independence does not mean an alienation from the community but that rather a cohesion of all our independent lives into one; a family, a community and eventually a country that’s not trying to hold back the aspiration of some while promoting the ambitions of others and eventually into a world that advances together even with differing views and opinions and lives combining together to build communities and advance the human experience. The church (even mosques are churches by the way) is not exempt from this experience. I will confine myself to the Christian experience because that’s who I am even while I am aware that all other sects have their own drama over beliefs and dogma. Every generation brings with it a fresh renaissance about what we know of God and his son. Now as custodians of the revelation of Christ we ought not to focus on what divides us but rather on what God through his grace has revealed to us and devote our lives to bringing this revelation to the next man. It is therefore not of God to instead break our families up over dogma or our young people for that matter because of what they have come to believe as the way.
There is a call therefore upon us to live with each other in spite of what divides us. Love is a deliberate choice; to love each other even when we do not fully understand each other. We were not created to be the same that’s why some like dogs and others cats so be different and give others the opportunity to be different without apologizing for it. Be nice and be humble. Take a second before you type that comment and ask yourself, how do I feel if I were told the same thing? Be intentional about building other people up and see the satisfaction that brings to you. The world has enough hatred, anger, discrimination, stereotyping, binary thing but very little love, joy and fun so if you and I have to be something today, let’s be LOVE to someone today.

POETRY AND ME

POETRY and ME.

And then one day I read about a dog in Kivuulu. It was form two maybe form one but having not grown with pets of any kind, it was weird that I recognized that dog in Kivuulu. I have never lived in Kivuulu also. We had animals around our home growing up but all of them were fed to be eaten over Easter or Christmas. So rabbits went. Chicken disappeared after sometime. Our neighbors’ goats just kept on decreasing in number and the last time I visited the hood, it seemed like people were beginning to disappear too. That’s how I know this government has screwed everyone when parents begin to eat their children because the chicken are done. So back to the dog in Kivuulu, this poem awoke in me emotions I did not know I would have for a starved dog and this started a life long relationship between me and Songs of Songs in the bible; the Lamentations were particularly interesting. I have not looked back since. Words have been to me what a man becomes to a woman after living with him for 50years. LOYAL.

Poetry has been abit challenging though because in most cases, it involves reflection on self and a certain increased level of emotional awareness that I’d like to distance myself from as match as I can. Plus I have met so many talented poets that it would be grossly inappropriate to even consider myself a poet compared to some of the outstanding people out there who have made a name and some a life for themselves through poetry.

But then also am a big-headed fellow; I love to oppose and disobey and go against the tide and that’s my purpose for writing today after so long. To share a bit of my privacy with you and to also encourage anyone who feels that their writing or poetry is inadequate because of the levels of talent out there that it is okay to be a lousy writer or poet as long you don’t give up writing or poeting for that matter because all writers whether good or bad have something to say and they should be allowed to say it. That notwithstanding am not saying that there aren’t any bad writers or poets, some people out there are shit writers. So shitty that the local shit dealership disowns them but they too should still write and share a part of who they are with the world around them. That’s the only way the world will learn to live with this shit bunch of people. Otherwise my Uncle Trump would seem like a genius for most of his ideas but after reading Art of the Deal or watching the Apprentice, you just know he is just another over-privileged douche bag who believes in the supreme power of wealth more than the intrinsic value of mankind and our ability to unite together and confront the issues that threaten us together.

Let’s go back to poetry and me before I give my opinion on the man with the Yellow shirt and cowboy hat who in a few years will be too old to lead based on our current constitution but then of course our constitution is not written in stone some of our friends across the aisle might insist.

I’d like to share two poems that I wrote sometime in the first quarter of this year based on deep reflections on life and death and everything that happens in-between. Am normally a shallow guy like most of my friends know; I enjoy Guinness; a good dub and is scared shitless of horror movies, shallow right? But on these two occasions I transcended the Guinness and dubs and wrote from a whole other level of human experience about moving on and a careless world so please enjoy. And like they used to say in my High School Christian fellowship, please ignore the voice and be touched (wherever you would like to be touched-this is my addition).

COLD WORLD

A man dies..,

His brains spewed on the sidewalk.

People gather; pain, fear and amusement gather with them

How can a head so small be so bloody?

A lady passes by; Looks at the sidewalk and nothing shifts

Not her pace and not her pose…

She jumps over a few pieces of brain and walks on…

For death to her has a familiar face; she has seen this circus show before

And its no longer funny or moving in the way death so brutal moves people

She reminds me of a time so quiet yet so frightening…

A place deep within me that goes numb in the face of horror

A time where I am but a lost soul trying to reach out for the light

Only to commune with other dark lost souls that live in a world so cold.

A DATE WITH THE DEVIL

So one day soon I won’t remember any of it at all;

The salt of your sweat slowly ebbing towards your navel

While your nails drill for the blood deep within my back.

It all won’t matter to me how you had brave names for my parts while we hid in our private enclave

Or how the Gillette aftershave brands me with the guilt of your memory

I love that aftershave but how am I supposed to use it when all its scented with is everything you were;

Yet I still revolt and use it some more;

For maybe after a few years or decades, you might not even make the footnotes in my history collection

Along the way I will meet the devil and ask her out to dance and she may even lure me to pay her bill so I can sip the sweat off of her back; She might I hope have a way with me that you never had;

A way that makes me feel whole again; like a man anew

And when she leaves at the end of the evening without letting me suckle at her hard perk of a tit,

I will be left thinking of how many different ways I would have handled it or nibbled at it;

It is in that moment that you will not matter anymore and neither will the reverberation of your moans that visit me many a night as I sleep

You won’t have as much power anymore; that will be the day I start to forget a part of my life I never thought I would;

That will be the day my default settings shall completely erase any memory of you I will have left;

You will become just another sand particle on the beach and I will walk on that beach with my devil and her hard tit.

So there you have it; the genious of Guinness drinking dub loving horror fearing man.

6 LESSONS; 6 HIGH SCHOOL YEARS ( #UgBlogWeek)

As  a Kampala raised Primary graduate in the cold environs of the Kigezi region, I thought I knew a lot about everything until a school I hardly knew anything about in small bits and pieces spanning 6years of our relationship mirrored back to me my own ignorance and taught me in its own way a few lessons most of which have gone on to define my outlook on life but also have helped me in a way to improve the quality and objectivity of my perspective of life and of people and places as I go along for we are all different yet in that difference is the bond that unites us all; our humanity or love as some may call it so these are my lessons broken down in six parts;

It was mid July of 2005 and we were in a History class in my first year of High School when suddenly the bullets rung out. It was my first time hearing a bullet and I quickly learnt shortly after that that it wouldn’t be my last. I was among the smallest guys in my class so in that instant most of the bigger boys and girls flew over my head and the teacher who was dictating notes ended mid-way a sentence and just disappeared into thin air. The “Kampalaness” in me hadn’t until this point picked a lesson on flight or speed or even hiding. I just froze while those countryside lads and lasses just shot out of the windows mostly using my head as a springboard to a future while I was stuck in the present which was as bleak as they come. It was a strike over bad Posho and paraffined gnuts like as if we expected public school to order KFC for us and within 15minutes, we were expected to vacate the school and this is where my first lesson about life was birthed; SPEED and PRIORITY. In 15minutes we were supposed to be out of the school so I needed to know which of my items were important enough for me to carry along yet light enough to allow me run as fast as I possibly could from the police’s whip. I had a big brother who did the priority part for me and the fleeing part is really easy when fear is the motivator; especially fear of canes. Now these skills have come in handy during my time at MUK and over the course of my relationship with Besigye on Kampala streets.

The night was 5th Feb 2006. The new students were reporting to school the following day so this night was our initiation night otherwise known as the night when our “tails would be cut off”. Our class was different though. We had a few muscular guys who decided that we would join forces and fight off anyone who came to cut off our tails. It was a rather violent process involving barbed wires, whips similar to those used in slavery; the initiators clearly preferred the old school methods of torture to prove your worth. We begged to differ. They agreed. So we bundled up in our class with stones in our pockets and “mayonza” fruits in our desks. If these guys came, we were ready to drown them in either stones or mayonza whichever worked best. We waited for them the whole night prep and only one guy came towards the end of prep. We were insulted. Where we worth one guy?? Just 1 like this!!! He commanded us to rid ourselves of our weapons for we were in a safe environment so there was no need to walk around with stones in our pockets. He said by arming ourselves we were asking for war and had therefore proved ready enough to be members so there was no more a need for our dearly coveted stones or mayonza. It was all love now. We trusted him and disarmed ourselves. One of my closest friends had even carried a sickle just in case. He was also a Kampala boy so yeah I guess you see the point. Prep ended and we were suddenly sandwiched by a gang of boys led by the one we had dearly trusted and this is where my second lesson comes in; TRUST. It was a surprise attack Shaka Zulu style simply because we let our guards down on the word of a stranger. We survived the night to tell the story but not without scars to prove it. This hasn’t helped me at all. Am still learning it every day!!!

In my third High School year, we had to choose three more subjects from a wide range to add onto the core seven and make them ten in total. All the high I.Q guys who have gone on to become something important in life chose additional mathematics otherwise known as “addit” and as you might already be guessing I chose it too. Who doesn’t want to be known as a genius after all? Well I shortly found out this subject had a few textbooks written on the subject…Big Volumes on just Math!! To cut the long story short, I had 6 out of 50 in my very first test and I immediately switched subjects to French based on advice from an intimate conversation I had with myself while looking at my test results. My third lesson is about TRYING THINGS OUT. My failure in addit spanned my desire in French. So I have learned to try things out; when I get an idea, I want to execute it and I may fail and I have failed many times before but that in a way has made me realize passions about myself I hardly knew about. Try and fail but never fail to try. That’s the first proverb I ever learnt; I just did not know what it meant. You want to know how far I went with the French….hehehe that will be for another day

In my final O-Level year, we spent most of that year fluking milk tea and bun privileges for student leaders. At that time, it was something of a Senior Four privilege silently agreed to by everyone in school apart from the student leaders. It was fun though it was illegal and stupid; it was awfully fun having free break everyday without spending a penny. We would run around the school with buckets of milk and packets of buns well “they” would; it does not necessarily have to be me. Me I would just wait for the runners to relax and I would come running and bench for some of the milk and the buns. It was fun. It was also stupid but it was fun nevertheless. My fourth lesson is that it is never right to beef on or pass up on having a GOOD TIME. This has helped me a lot in just HAVING FUN. As we grow older, we build up walls around ourselves that focus majorly on seriousness and mature appearances but take time out with the people that matter and just do stupid stuff; throw away the facade of maturity as an excuse to be numb and robotic. At the base of us all is a child who has peed on themselves a lot so don’t be too self conscious all the time; try being stupid ONCE IN A WHILE…. Run in the rain, race with a chicken…eat your food without cutlery. Just loosen up.

The two years of my A-level were really fast and mostly lifeless because at that point most of the people who had fought for tea and buns were already too busy tacking-in and keeping neat hair  to enjoy themselves so not much really happened but I learnt two short lessons. The first being that the so called MATURE PEOPLE CAN BE STUPID too like that night when student leaders  broke into an office and stole  snacks  and soda which was actually theirs for the next day’s meeting…..Oh!! the shock on seeing those empty crates!! . It was one of the most funniest moments of my High School life only such an expression fits that experience. People in suits and ties can break into your office kitchen just to eat all of the food you have stored up for tomorrow because some of these student leaders now work with you in your offices which brings me back to my second lesson don’t TRUST everyone you work with or live with. They may have a thing for that pizza in your refridgerator so bad that they break into your house for it. Wouldn’t that be a FUN experience…especially if you are the mugger not the “muggdi”!?And if you have these sorts of urges too, don’t worry you should TRY having a go at it just for FUN. Just don’t get caught.

The second lesson from my A-Level would be to always treat people that you respect not like family but as FAMILY because they are FAMILY. Around this time, I had made friendships with people whose tribe wasn’t similar to mine or whose skin tone or complexion or accent wasn’t similar to mine but they were family and even while I was very far from home, they made Kigezi more homely than any other place. They invited me into their homes and families and to my death, Kigezi will always be home and these people will always be my FAMILY because some debts are impossible to pay. Their love cannot be equaled and they gave of all they had only Providence himself can bless them for it. Now this like all other lessons I did not and could not learn from my Chemistry class or from any Shakespearean tragedy; these lessons could only be learnt by going out of the classroom and experiencing the people and the community; And with all the gaps in our education system, you can be 100% sure that if you go out of the classroom and experience the energy of the people and commune with them, yours will surely be a memorable High School Memory. Of course it’s important also that we master the art and science of cram work that our system requires for us to succeed in the Ugandan way of things.

 

WE CAN KILL DEATH

She had just graduated and then she died. We were beginning to do well in life as a family when my father passed away. A few weeks ago a man about to marry the love of his life died when he was ground while at work at Nile Breweries. All these deaths and many more leave the affected with hoards of questions but a lack of answers.

What is there to say to a mother who has to bury her lovely daughter? Or to the lady who in the midst of trying on wedding dresses learns that she instead has to look for words to eulogize the same man she wanted to father her children?

A friend of mine who has had to raise her siblings on her own after the passing of her mother comes to mind; Brilliant and beautiful with a smile that’s as beautiful as the morning sun yet at a time when she was supposed to be pleasuring her youth, she instead was given a home to look after and children to raise. I don’t see her much anymore but when last I saw her, I realized that after a while the bills have to be paid; after a while those that count on you to put food on the table will come calling; that after a while you learn to conceal the pain within the pressures of life and survival. The memory might never leave but after a while, that memory is the only thing we are left with to push us on when we feel like we cannot give anymore of ourselves to the obligation that is now ours.

Death has a way with those it leaves behind. I think there is no such thing as someone saying they understand what you’re going through simply because they have lost loved ones too in the past. Nobody can really understand the pain that you have to deal with as an individual because of losing a sister or for a father losing a daughter but what we all have in common is that when the mourners leave to go chase their own personal dreams, as a home you are left needing leadership and guidance and for me that’s the difference between the home that forges a future with one less soldier and the one that falls apart.

Yes,  I agree that for a time the family may or will recede because of the pain and the trauma and the memory of life itself in its raw form but when the school term starts, the children need confidence  and hope and that cannot happen unless the family as a unit realize that we rise and fall together and that at times, Dad may not know what to say to the family to hold it together because for him, he’d like all parents never imagined that he would have to bury his only son and that is when the reins should be held by you. Because see, at a time like this leadership has no real owner or custodian so the mantle moves on and around and together as a family you build yourself around each other because the life that passed on is the very same life that courses through your DNA so depending on how you look at it, the late would have wished for the bills to be cleared on time and for everyone to do what they have to do to be the best they can be and yet you also have to mourn and weep and depress and soliloquize and grieve all of which is paramount.

We are all building blocks and there will be times when we have to carry the weight of others just so the building can be complete. The pain we feel is a result of the love we have and we can use that pain and love to make dreams come true; to build monuments and to make our roads safer and our environment cleaner just so that we can do our best to save another life just so another father or mother or older brother or sister does not have to raise a family on their own but all of this cannot happen if we leave the rebuilding to others for we should be what we desire in times like this. That’s the true test of humanity; to rise above our grief and pain and create from the ashes a glorious thing. That for me is the ultimate legacy of loss and the pain thereafter. That’s our one chance of making good on the dreams of those no longer with us while protecting the lives of those to come. That’s the only way we can all kill DEATH.

 

LETTER TO MY CHILDREN

Hey Future,

The start is hard for someone like me who has not written anything in a while. Life’s been racing by like a rollercoaster and I feel like I don’t got the balls to live my passions, am all about the money chasing you know  that’s how we live life today, it got me wondering how do u live life now?

I just graduated so first off am broke. but even when am broke, most of my friends are somewhat worse than me so literally they are worse than broke but we studied and passed with good grades and we are therefore part of that brand of people who are educated but BROKE!!

I got a job and it’s not the kind where you wear a suit every weekday and enjoy health benefits, NO….that’s not my kind of job. I manage someone else’s businesses in about four districts but not the kind of management where you wield power, am the manager that’s not very different from those I manage. I am told what to do most of the time by the real MANAGERS if you know what I mean and whatever it is am told, I tell my workmates and i make sure that they do just that or else…that brings me to my next point, the only benefit I have is to FIRE and HIRE depending on performance but we do not have official standards of performance assessment so it’s more like I FIRE at will just like I could be FIRED at will by the REAL MANAGERS so generally I also do what am told to do exactly how am told to do it or else…

of course because there are people who do the donkey wok while I make sure they do the donkey work and keep them interested, I get some free time and I spend most of it hiding out at my place watching movies and eating junk and that’s why i have resolved to start writing again; to let the steam off in an environment where I am literally a nobody and that’s this blog of course. By now if you are not dumb you already know that am back to writing because am bored so it’s not because of any life changing moments so don’t expect to read interesting adventures like the exploits of Huck Finn-do you even know the guy?

At this time in Uganda, (where I live and grew) most talk really revolves around whose sex tape is coming out next because it’s the treat we get these days for behaving well by adapting to technology so access to sex videos is excitingly viral and the moralists are bitching about why the sex tapes are leaking and am wondering whether they are dumb enough not to have seen it coming when instead of “Prosperity For All” which was the original plan, they instead achieved android “Phones For All” which i think is a pretty exciting thing to achieve, they should be proud of this government for making sure we can send videos of each other to each other behind each other’s backs showing each other what life really meant for Adam when God tasked him to have sex shortly before he ate the forbidden fruit which began the advent of clothes to cover up our decency. From my corner I think we need the innocence of Adam so if it were up to me, I would ban all forms of body coverings effective now to restore dignity value and esteem in who we really are; a people created by God without Fear or Favor or Ill-will so why COVER IT UP damn it?!

Of course the politics is a damn bore, we are ruled by a man old enough to be my grandfather and he has been running this thing since he was a boy. It’s kind of disturbing you know because he believes that with all his growing health complications, he remains the only man with real VISION and as long as he has not yet seen another suitable to carry on his compassionate plans for this country, he is going to fight to the death to stay running things. Of course that to me implies that he may see his holy successor when he can no longer really see anything so technically he won’t see him so he will fight to stay. I may sound like I am agitating for change politely but that’s not what I mean because see, the guys fighting him are his age mates or even older so while I don’t see any hope in the old man chilling things, there is surely no vision in his opposition. Same Old guys, just in different positions. One in that of controller, the other in that of noise maker. You maybe wondering where we the young people are; well it’s a sad true story to tell. Most of us are drunks; or addicts of some sort to television or sextapes or social networks or maybe thieves and occasionally, some of us are hired assassins. In short we don’t care for the Future which technically is you so I wonder how you’re going to cope because see if you blame us, we will blame these old people who by then will be dead and buried for passing on a crappy country but they also love to remind us just how foolish those before them were so it’s simply a cycle of blame; Of course you can choose otherwise by stopping the cycle and doing something redemptive. So basically that’s how we doing politically

But the technology is really awesome you know. We now live online. We sneeze and the whole world catches a cold because we let them know we have sneezed. The world is together now you know like my small village in the mountains except that in my village we were all equal. In this new world, we are closer yes but my dear, Equality is far from reach. while the Ugandan downtown mumbles about having tear gas for lunch, the uptown Ugandan is spitting chicken wings and technology has made it possible for us to keep each other updated because in the past downtown really did not know what went on uptown with all the high fences and scary dogs come on how would anyone know? Of course Africa undoubtedly the cradle of mankind is playing catch up with the North and that involves sucking up to the weirdest policies ever thought of on earth. The other day there was an outbreak of a deadly disease in about two West African countries and a Rwandese family-Rwanda is by the way in East Africa, the furthest from the West but this Rwandese family living in America have children who were denied entry into a school simply because there was fear they could infect there school buddies and it got me thinking how can the hub of technology not know that Rwanda was an Ebola free country but then very quickly I was reminded of ideals like Ignorance and Racism and the effects of a poor knowledge of Geography are no respecter of persons or state, they are evident even in the greatest nation on earth; the Home of the brave; land of the free.

Over the next few weeks, months maybe years, i will keep you posted on any relevant subjects such that by the time you get here, the choice is yours; to either seat and wait for a savior from the heavens or fight to your very death for the ideals that protect and nurture and love and respect not just the people we know and love but also the people beneath us; the people we lead and the people that really need a voice.

Until then I remain in a humble manner,

Your Ugandan Past.