Dear Nevender, this is about me.

Dear Joel, I used to find eulogises posted on blogs and social media platforms really weird. I doubt people in heaven get a break from whatever people in heaven do, to check their facebook notifications or something.

Then you died and for the life of me, I can’t stop posting things about you and that’s when I realized , it really was about me. I don’t know how else to mourn your death except through lots of words posted everywhere.

I skipped the first stage of grief and went straight to rage. I found out a few hours after your passing when #RIPNevender was already trending on twitter.

For all your denial of being a big wig, you really have people sad. Out here where pain still exists.

The day you died, I had just finished reading your review of the queen of Katwe. I wanted to text you and say I agree with you but I was low-key mad because you hadn’t responded to my last text.

You were never the friend who didn’t respond to texts, so I figured it’s because you were busy with the Uganda Blogging Community meet up. I told myself I would call you later because I didn’t want to explain why I didn’t show up and as it turns out neither did you.

You were somewhere, dying. When I specifically asked you not to. You can understand why I started by being mad.

But today, as I travel for your burial, the anger towards you has been replaced by pain. It’s like physical pain without the specific body part to match. It’s in my chest then in my head. Then in my stomach. It’s everywhere and nowhere.

You were incredible. I doubt I told you enough, because God forbid you took my compliments. You were always too busy building people up that you didn’t allow yourself to be the center of all my cheering. Or maybe I knew that and milked your selflessness for everything it was worth.

I can’t believe I am writing about you in past tense. We have so much unfinished business like going to great burgers and me replacing your tired purple scarf.

I even saw a purple scarf the day before you died but it just didn’t feel like the one. I guess I should thank you for saving my money.

I miss you;

Your conversations about God.

Your poetry. Oh your poetry.

Your ability to be strong in the face of excruciating pain.

Your resolve to write through it.

The quiet way you paid attention.

Watching you steer the conversation about writing and reading in Uganda at all the bloggers happy hours.

Thank you;

For gathering us and making sure we stayed.

For being honest.

For being vulnerable when you needed to be and being strong when you didn’t have to be.

For checking on me.

For allowing me to call you Jajja.

For calling me muzukulu.

For writing that book even though we haven’t had a party to launch it.

For introducing me to the song, “Learning to breath”

I hope;

That there are grapes in heaven and music by switchfoot and lots of paper and pen.

That you are allowed to check your social media pages , so that you know how much you touched thousands of lives through your gift.

That we can uphold your legacy as a blogging community.

That your death doesn’t tear us apart.

Rest in Power Jajja Nevender.

Photo Credit: No idea. It was on social media.

Leadership in Uganda is a boys’ club and a big joke a.k.a about #FasiFasi

What were doing yesterday at 8:30pm?

On your phone while watching TV? Stuck in traffic? Having drinks with friends? On a date?

I was sitting on a couch, in front of a TV, feeling all kinds of pain for being a way from my phone and watching Fasi Fasi. A show whose debut was last week on NBS TV. The point of it is conversations about women empowerment.

The literal translation of its name is make way . Let me volunteer some context about this name.

In down town Kampala when you hear a yell “fasi fasi”, coming up from behind you, you move to the side as fast as you can because the person telling you is carrying luggage big enough to cover his eyes which could hit if you don’t make room for him to pass.

Before it aired there was more hype on social media about the show’s hosts (Becky & David) who have been in our media spaces for a while than it was about the message. I am guilty of tuning last week just to watch them host and maybe that’s why I tuned in again last night but I stayed and I feel good enough about it to write a review.

The conversation was about the perception of women in leadership in Uganda. It’s 2018 and this conversation is an emergency considering how exclusive leadership positions are in this country. 9.9 times out of 10 our media outlets will host an all male panel and justify it as having called women to show up but they didn’t’. Every week social media is awash with angry feminists asking for inclusion of women on social, economic and political panels in media and every week nothing changes.

It’s one of the most infuriating things to watch men make decisions that affect women without so much as a consultation for example reproductive health rights being discussed by a male headed health committee. Patience Akumu one of the guests on last night’s show puts it rightly; “Uganda is like a family run by a very bad father and we are still playing by patriarchal standards”. Watch every gomesi-wearing- kneeling -for-votes-as-she- campaigns- for-a-seat-in-parliament woman and you will see her point.

The problem or at least one of them is that “politics and public offices have been crafted around the man and it will take more than affirmative action to make it a truly human space” says Jackie Asiimwe a human rights lawyer and a guest on last night’s show .

We need to stop treating women leadership as a token, “hey here are a few parliamentary seats for you.” Women aren’t a minority because in Uganda 51% of the population is female, and we need to “stop treating exclusion of women with gloves”.

There are a few places to start schools for example shouldn’t be teaching children things like the father is the head of the home. It’s that type of messaging that creates a bias against girls taking positions of power.

Men have historically had so much power and we can all agree, they have done a horrible job at leading our communities and country. Therefore having women in leadership isn’t just the right thing to do as human beings but it’s also the smart thing to do as an economy.

Otherwise how are you doing?

Did you watch the show? What are your thoughts about it?

The Politics of Comfort because it’s a better title than 2017.

One day while I sat in church I randomly started thinking about how I value my comfort above a lot of things. I don’t even know why I was so distracted but I got my phone and wrote, “The politics of comfort” knowing it would make a great title for a blog but..
I have a friend who is so bad at texting he replies to my texts every 6 months or four if I am lucky. (I hope it’s not just me) For my own sanity I saved his number with the initials WTB, (Won’t Text Back). Anyway said bad texter recently found the Lord and for about 10 minutes he was responding to my texts and told me about a product he is making with a very weird name. When I asked him what inspired the name he said no creative juices were flowing at the time of composition.
Kind of what happened to my blog on the politics of comfort. After church no creative juices flowed but I love the title so much we are keeping it.
This is also going to be a long read so thank you in advance for enduring it.
I woke up at 4am today to head to my village for Christmas. Why 4am? If you are the family member who ate the school fees for driving school, you travel when those who graduated say you travel or you get stuck with public transport which at this time of the year could buy me my own little car or at least a Tuku Tuku.
So I am writing this on the road. Travel and early mornings are also supposed to make me a writing genius & Alicia Keys’ “This Girl is on fire” is playing on KFM so that’s a sign.
I will start with something cheesy like ” What a year!”
2017 has been two years for me.
In the first year I was a student, whose greatest worry was how to survive writing my dissertation without killing myself and or my supervisor.
I survived and ended up on a graduation list which made my mother ask how much money I would need to purchase a graduation outfit. I was telling a friend recently that if I knew that was the last time my mummy would ask me how much money I needed, a zero would have been added to the figure.
Graduation came, gifts were exchanged & legs broken from playing the extreme sport called wearing high heels.
Then I entered the second year. This second 2017 is the year I got lost.
For the first time I cried myself a lot to sleep & blamed allergies or poor sleeping posture when asked about it because I honestly had no idea what was making me so damn sad.
People really should give school a lot of credit for shielding us from life’s harshness. The surge of emotions came full circle as I was confronted with my new reality. Like “look, you are an adult now, here is a list of demands. First what are your plans for the future?”
I missed my friends because they all decided to follow the natural course of legal career events & join the bar course immediately. I couldn’t join with them because my brain and I decided during the last semester of school that we would take a break from the study of the law at least for a year. Not the smartest choice according to numerous sources but well, my brain and I decided. Which means I had to find some new friends, something I am not so great at despite my rather pleasant personality.
I also missed fellowship so I struggled with what to do with most of my evenings. There was a crisis of faith for some time and I found myself failing at doing the bare minimum like praying.
Due to all the self induced chaos in my mind, a lot of writing was done but non of it deemed worthy of sharing, but in the spirit of Christmas I would like to summon my sentimentality and give this year a worthy balanced review. I thought it should be a 7 days of Gratitude Series but who am I kidding?
Enough jibber jabber let’s start get in to.
2017 Thankfulness.
All millennial whining aside. I had a great year.
1. Everyone I love is alive and well. Mother dearest called me every beginning of month to remind me of how special I am( probably part of the reason I am not coping is because the world is not quite treating me the way my mummy does). She prayed for me, preached words of encouragement and some times told me she loves me. My sister dropped me to work when it rained in the morning even though it meant I would have to lay her bed for a month.
2. I made some new friends. The most incredible thing about this new phase of friendship is all the food involved in all the gatherings. Food eaten with good vibes is really the most therapeutic thing that has happened to me this. Some of these new friends have even been extra special to sign me up for paying side gigs where payment was never delayed. I don’t even know how to say thank you.
3. Graduation.I loved my graduation. It was a long time coming. It made my mother happy. I looked like a million bucks and then some. I got plenty of gifts and cash plus my mother told the crowd how she didn’t raise me to wear short things and therefore Kampala has spoilt me. I translated that to mean, I have grown and become my own person.
4. Reality check. In May I was privileged to participate in the Reality Check conference on employment, education and entrepreneurship organised by the good people of Konrad Adenuer Stiftung. It taught me several things, put me in a room with some great people and put me up in a hotel for a week. It was almost immediately after school and God knows I needed the break.
5. The job. My job is exactly where I thought I would never be but one of life’s little miracles. I knew I didn’t want to go to school straight out of undergrad but I had no idea what I would be doing and then all of a sudden, I was rafting or drinking the nile, getting filmed by CNN, sitting on panels, travelling, ziplining, hanging out with the coolest people on a daily basis and getting paid for it. (Wish me luck explaining what exactly I do for a living at the family dinner later today)


2017 FIRSTS.
I did plenty of things for the first time but most notably;

1. I went to the cinema. It’s 2017 and I had never been to any cinema to watch a movie. It’s one of those things I didn’t understand. I am more of a series kind of girl and there are no cinemas where I can go and watch an entire season of Grey’s anatomy yet. Finally someone convinced me that I am not saving an lives by not going to the, movies and I have gone to the cinema two more times since. I still would rather binge on Grey’s anatomy but oh well

2. I contributed a story to a book project. I didn’t even believe I got the job until it was a week to the deadline for submission. I was doing it with some of the best writers, photographers and illustrators in town. I spent a lot of time being intimidated and smiling in disbelief but alas, I summoned all specialness my mother tells me about, enlisted an editor in chief in the form of my Xhosa Girl Sinawo Bukani and wrote a story. I can’t wait to know what being published feels like.

3. I started jogging and exercising for the time since I left high school and despite my inconsistency I had myself convinced I was fit enough to run my first marathon so I participated in MTN Kampala Marathon and discovered that I was not fit enough after all. I slept for 6 hours straight after and felt pain in places I had no idea were on my body the rest of the week.

1. Choosing boda bodas that have both side mirrors.
Merry Christmas . Don’t drink and drive.

Why are you running?

If running/ walking 10kms and sleeping 6 hours straight after  doesn’t inspire me to write something here, then I may as well hand in my resignation. Yesterday I participated in my first ever marathon. I was overwhelmed by the number of people or companies that have paid 20k to a telecommunications company to just sweat it out on a Sunday morning until google told me that, more than 800 marathons are held throughout the world each year.  So I guess we are not special.

Despite all the other races in this city  the MTN Kampala marathon has to be the most anticipated  maybe  because it started this whole sweat for a good cause business before any one else in Uganda as far as I know and there is always something to be said for pioneers of things. The causes that filled our billboards/ TV screens for which we ran this year are , to improve maternal health and reduce children’s exposure to cancer by removing and replacing asbestos roofs from classrooms.

I never picked a cause. I knew I was running for myself , just to try the marathon once. See if it will kill me. Use it as a yardstick to measure my fitness. Break Sunday morning routine. Push myself. Take  a nice picture or 6 and say I accomplished something other than graduation in 2017.

I coped better than I had hoped but I reached some place and I was officially done running, so I started observing and asking friendly people why they are running. The conversations went like,

Me: Hey

Friendly Humans : Hi

Me: So why are you running?

Friendly Humans: Huh? What do you mean why am I running?

Me: Why are you in your running shoes on  a Sunday morning, sweating  in the middle of the city and ready  to pass out?

Friendly Human 1: I was an athlete in school, so running is a passion of mine.

Friendly Human 2: It is a once in a lifetime opportunity to work out for the rest of the year.

Friendly Human 3: For fun. I have been doing this since 2008. It is a lot of fun.

Friendly Human 4: For the cause.

Me: Oh which one? Do you know you are the first person I have asked who has said they are running for the cause?

Friendly Human 4:  I don’t know what you mean by which cause. Does it matter?

Me: Of course not.

Friendly Human 5 : For the cause. The one that has to do with cancer.

Friendly Human 6: I am running for myself. I have been practicising and everything.

There is supposed to be a deep mysterious analysis from these responses but I am in  no position to do that considering my own reasons.  One thing is for sure though, the thousands of us who decorated the streets of Kampala with our marathon kits, perspiration and body odor  on the day of the Lord in the name of a good cause care very little for the same.

It  is both a blessing and a curse. The blessing is, a whole lot of  money is still collected and if MTN Uganda and it’s partners treat it with more respect than it does our data bundles, then we have accomplished things our own government is seemingly incapable of. We are  doomed if they don’t, because we most likely won’t be paying attention to ask  for accountability.

For now we shall enjoy the thrill of reaching the finish line intact, hanging out in our corporate tents with friends, bonding, taking selfies, posting them with long inspirational captions,  until the next marathon.

Otherwise how are you doing?

Photo Credit: Someone at New Vision






Don’t Die on The Inside

You have spent the last few months trying to write and failing miserably.
Laziness is a powerful weapon.

It messes with your creativity long enough to know that you caught the disease with no cure called writer’s block.
Then before you know it, your smart phone runs out of space, and you remove the blogging app to create room for videos of the parliament’s fight club.

Your computer catches slowness syndrome and you convince yourself you suck at writing anyway (not in a sad way but in a life-is-teaching-me-something way).

Until you go for a run.

It was supposed to just help you feel less guilty about your junk consumption but while you lie panting on the ground, you remember this is the most alive you have felt in a while.
You run to your phone to write #somethingabouthealthyliving on Facebook and realize you really shouldn’t be making any kind of commitments to this exercising thing.
But you want to write, you re-download the app and do those things of resetting password because you are determined to write something today and that’s all that matters .
It’s also a new month and some thing about new things is supposed to be inspiring.
You feel inspired.

Enough to say, the writing struggle is real.
But whatever you do, don’t die on the inside.

Continue reading

Of Storytelling & The Future

DGnTUpPU0AAA-Jp#UgBlogWeek is always a welcome opportunity for me to psyche myself into thinking I can write consistently everyday for an entire week. Today is day three & this is my first post but who is counting?

This time we are envisioning the future of storytelling. We are already in the future if you ask me because I almost fell in love based on emojis. Before you judge me, I saw a tweet the other day about BBC having an emoji translator, so first be humble.
According to google average human being with access to the internet spends about 5.6 hours a day on their phone.
While book stores are still in business most are struggling because  we are the generation that prefers the sight of a swipe on our phones to the sound of paper turning.

We would rather have our discussions on topical issues in whatsapp groups, brainstorm ideas on slack and open links on Facebook than sit in a book club. The book club community in Kampala is unknown to most. It presents both a problem and an opportunity.
A problem because Uganda is a country with the youngest population t(at least according to a fancy report by World Population Review on google) and if that population doesn’t read, we are in trouble.

We may not have a country to grow old with if that happens. It’s an opportunity because, there are numerous platforms from which we can tell our stories. There is a joke among twitter users twitter users that, the revolution will start on twitter.
I don’t go the stall to buy newspapers because I know that when I open twitter in the morning, all the news making headlines will have been summarized for me, maybe in a thread or a link while facebook  will  have caught me up on all the world’s problems in an attempt to manipulate me  into “typing Amen”

When I am not in time for my favorite South African soap, Scandal, because  Kampala traffic is having a worse day than usual I just catch up on YouTube.

I can miss a concert and have enough information about it to write a review and blogging has made all of us who want writers.
The way we tell our stories has evolved, the platforms are endless and this is the part where convey our gratitude to the inventors of internet and their cousins who made smart phones.

It  presents us with an extra ordinary opportunity to reduce books into blogs of 500 words and newspaper articles into 140 characters so that our minimal attention span can cope.

We have seen hashtags backed by proper execution create successful campaigns (Ask any #savesomeone )  and overnight stars being born because their dance video went viral.
So while we mourn the death of reading of white pages with black ink,  & while book clubs are tight knit circles we also have a lot of power.

To shape the stories the 78% young people in Uganda consume. I don’t know if Mills & Boon, Sydney Sheldon,  Daniel Steele,  John Grisham, JK Rowling are still teenage favorites,  but I know that the 1st thing my 17 year old sister asks for whenever I pick her from school is her smart phone (which by the way is better than mine).

What she reads, watches or talks about is up to everyone who considers themselves a story teller. Flood this place with Ugandan stories, pictures, videos nebirala and I can guarantee, if she spends 6 hours every day staring at that stuff the entire month she is on holiday,  she will start to think it’s cool to wear an outfit by a Ugandan fashion designer, attend Bayimba Festival instead of some pop star’s  concert in Hollywood or just read a Ugandan blog in instead of an article advising her on how to keep up with the Kardashians.

We are already in the future, consider yourself invited to define what it should look like . The Writivism Festival is a good place to start. ( This is not an Ad😀)


Drinking the Nile.

My relationship with water except the one I drink and use in the bathroom was no- existent until yesterday when it turned abusive, then exhilarating then almost romantic.

A combination of work, an opportunity to be interviewed by CNN, recklessness and the wrong friends, had me rafting on River Nile.   I have always wanted to try it. Wearing the helmet and life jacket felt like preparing for an epic battle. I couldn’t wait to have a picture taken in my rafting gear.

It was all fun and games until   I fell in the water for the first time for a training session on what to do in case the boat flips in the middle of the rapids. I decided in that moment between breathlessness and yelling at me not to panic, that I had drunk enough River Nile for the rest of my life.

I wanted out. There were 8 of us on the  team and I was ready to be labelled, ‘chicken’ “quitter” and every other name that comes with giving up, what I was not ready for was dying in the name of the Nile. I was so scared I could swear I felt my troubled heart shaking. Pep talk was fully launched by the rest of the group.

“Just focus on your breathing”,said Daudi as he practiced with me.

“ DNA,we are all scared I promise, but we got you. We can’t let anything happen to you.” implored the Kreativ Adikt

“Sunshine you will be so glad you did it after,” encouraged adrenaline junkie Joanne

“It’s going to be fine, you got this”, Bob said.

“ Fionah, listen ,nothing is going to happen, you will actually have a good time, ” Joel Jjemba , another very reckless soul voiced.

“This river is 1000% safe. It is the safest in the world.  There are no crocodiles, There will be kayakers at the end of every rapid to get you in case you end up being a swimmer. The safety boat will go ahead of us and you are wearing a life jacket just lie on your back, breathe and someone will get you, stated the comically  accented instructor, Big J.

It went on for a while and my answer to everything was,

“No I will not be partaking in this cup of crazy, thank you. I am out of will. Take me back to the shore. See you later. I just graduated.  I am too young to die.”

I thought I had convinced them to let me go when I was asked to leave the boat and join the kayaker, except I did not want to get off the boat into the water. I managed by the power of an unexpected push from Big J. The team continued their training as I enjoyed my kayak ride to what I thought was the shore. I relaxed, closed my eyes and started a conversation with Sula the kayaker.

I have never experienced so much treachery in my life than when I realized that Sula was taking me back to the boat not the shore.  My heart hurt. It’s not like I could swim my way back to the shore. I could hear the rapids or what we named, “the sound of recklessness”. The only shot I had at surviving the Nile was getting in the boat, holding my oar, putting my game face on, and hoping that God doesn’t punish us for the stupidity we had engaged in, despite missing the training.

We stayed on top of the first rapid for a few minutes as we waited for the filming crew to set up. It gave me an opportunity to summon whatever brevity I had left but it helped to have no choice.

We got our signal to go and down the rapid we went. Big J kept yelling things like, “Paddle forward, harder, get down….”. I have never followed instructions so dutifully in my life.

The first one was a 3 meter waterfall named “overtime”. I was staring at it’s beauty, floating at the bottom, and whispering a “thank you for not swallowing me”. I was feeling things too. A little thrill. A little fulfillment.  A desire to worship God in the beauty of His creation. A need to break into a victory dance among other things.   We went through two other rapids. One named “retrospect” and the other whose name I have forgotten. Which you can blame on the amnesia caused by the events of the last rapid- Itanda it is named.

The short story is it was  the highest or the fastest I don’t know. These rapids are measured in numbers. 6 is the toughest of them all. Nobody rafts on it unless they have the training and have signed in what Big J called, “The Black Book”.

Itanda was a 5. Big J did not tell us that until after. Prior to that, someone asked if the boat was going to flip so we can have the full experience.I hoped not but Big J had a mischievous look on his face

Also unlike the first 3 rapids we rafted on, we got a chance to see Itanda beforehand. All I saw was whiteness. All the fear at the beginning came back to me, but it was go big or go home time. I had come too far. Nothing was going to get in my way. We double checked for the tightness of the helmets and life jackets, waited for our signal and set off.

I did not raft on this one. The last thing I remember is holding on to the rope of the boat, realizing I am out of the boat and letting it go. I was not going to fight the Nile.

Remember those instructions? The only ones I remembered were, “relax, lie on your back, breathe, and don’t die.” I floated, disappeared into the waves, came back up and floated some more until I got to the bottom of the rapid.  This all happened in the shortest quantity of time. A kayaker saw me or I him and I found my way to the boat. Out of the 8 of us, four stayed in the boat when it flipped or did not flip. Control freaks I shall call them.

During my rapid dance with the waves, away from the safety of the boat, I was not scared anymore. I gave up control. The powerlessness of that moment was liberating. I can’t explain it in anymore words than these, except dare you to try it at least once.

What we were told by the people of Raft Uganda is, only a handful of Ugandans participate in these activities on River Nile. I wouldn’t blame you if you didn’t even know they exist but now that you do, go either with us on the next #koikoiug trip or with your other reckless friends. Lose some control and drink some of that Nile. After all we are the source. Let’s tell these Ugandan stories.

Graduation- The Speech

This week has been  one of putting this off.
I thought of all the things I have written in my life,  writing about my graduation would be the easiest because I have written it so many times over the years . 

There is a long draft in it’s honor, that has gone through serious refinement. I am in shock it has not made the cut, but I have also  been an adult long enough to know that nothing ever goes according to plan. 

Today being a week later, let me write about the day that has been 20 years coming and  move on with my life.

The day was 7th July 2017.

A lot of rain. A lot of traffic. A lot of hunger. 

A lot of prayers.

A lot of tears and a lot of waking up early after sleeping late.

After nearly two decades and several attempts to drop out some more successful than others, mother dearest got her moment. 

The length of said moment  was the duration it took for my dean and his fancy accent to read my name and for me to walk a few meters on a red carpet turned pink from the down pour. And that was it, all my blood, sweat and plasma and throwing the phrase “law student” around like it pays bills came down to a name call and walk.

I had made an agreement with the sun, to mobilize all her sky friends to stop and give me a standing ovation when they read my name, but she bailed and sent the treacherous rain. The earth was supposed to rise a dramatically racing dust that in my language they call; “akairiringo” but none of those things happened.

I went through the same routine that the 1136 others, on that graduation ground did and the millions that have come before us. Which is something similar to this;

  • Waking up so early
  • Having heavy breakfast because graduation ceremonies are long and hunger giving.
  • Dressing up.
  • Getting side eye from mother about the length of the dress.
  • Praying.
  • Getting into the car.
  • Having heart felt conversations on the way to school .
  • Arriving at school.
  • Learning on that the shoes you bought were not made for walking any distance.
  • Taking the pain from the heels like a champ because slaying must cost something.
  • Finding your friends 
  • Taking a lot of pictures.
  • Paying zero attention to the ceremony until minutes before they read your name or until your phone blacks out.

Not as glorious as I envisioned except that the joy of graduation is not in the ceremony. 

It is difficult to be a graduate in this country because the ratio of jobs to graduates is about 40000:8000 and school does very little to equip us with the shock absorbents to deal with that little fact. It is even more difficult if your entire clan is trusting that your  academic transcript shall be their key to the kingdom of wealth.

So what is graduation about?

Why did I buy an  expensive ‘inappropriate’-according to mother dress,  painful shoes and leave the warmth of  my bed into the rain to attend this ceremony?


Gratitude that’s why?

That I learnt  how to read and write and how to use a computer and the internet and hashtags so I can participate in #klarestaurantweek.

That it put me in  rooms  with multiple strangers and we bonded over coursework and nicknaming teachers and brokeness and abrupt tests and annoying lecturers and bad school food and Jesus. 

That those strangers are now the family that I chose. 

Boom 🔥

That I was caged  for more than  two decades of my life which means I am  qualified to rant about “adulting”.

That mother dearest is proud of me and herself because after working herself to a breaking point, she gets bragging rights among her peers that she produced a lawyer. (That means everything in my village of Kanywankoko).  

I watched a video of Rihanna giving a speech at Harvard where she said  something along the lines of what  any person really needs  is a chance at life.

And I am grateful that education is  my chance at life.  The sun may not have stopped  for me on 7th July but hearing my name being read in Dean’s fancy accent and my mother’s accompanying ululation  means I got my chance. My shot at life.  

To learn.

 To unlearn.

To fill my head with cases and laws for which I am about to find out the purpose 

 To grow.

To make mistakes. 

To learn from them and make others.

And somewhere between universities to find myself and my voice and this blog.  

I know education is not about to hand me the world’s treasures and the  clan may have to cut pressure on the trust they have in my rather impressive transcript, but it is a gift I was lucky to receive. 

It may not be the key to success but that key opens a few doors and those doors lead to other doors. And for that I am grateful. (Cue Sandra Suubi’s Nsiimye)  

Let’s see what “the real world “, like its fondly known has got. 

Congratulations to me. 






The Story of Atim 

Graduation is tomorrow.

If I had any doubts about it, mother’s arrival today confirmed it. 

Tomorrow adorned in a gown covering a dress I suffered to find, in the company of people who love me, I will raise up earlier than usual and go sit in a tent for a ceremony that just involves reading my name. 

I hope the sun stops for me. 

I had a brilliant idea of sharing my story of law school.

Then it occurred to me that sharing my friends’ stories is an even more brilliant idea.

I asked, many agreed, few proceeded to write and even fewer were chosen.

So for the past few weeks leading up to 7th July, I have been sharing their stories.

Why their stories?

The idea was to capture the journey of a few of us in law school and publish it on my blog.

It was inspired by the conversations I had throughout our last semester, which for some reason felt very weird

A lot of my friends  did not consider it  an achievement to have finished this chapter of their lives  especially  because  of the horror stories we have had over the years about  the bar course, that is if you even pass the pre-entry exam to get in.

I wanted to change that, maybe just to have company in the “excitement lane” or to have content for my blog. The plan was to challenge them to count their blessings and what better way than writing about the journey, the milestones, low moments, lessons and everything in between.

This is Atim’s story. It’s the last of them. I hope you enjoyed reading them as much as I did sharing them. 

Meet Atim Esther Mercy Hadassah. The Girl friend in God. Gangsta in the gospel. Head of the naturista cult. Fashion designer in another life. Photographer in another one. Chief Planner. Creative Director. Always ready for a picture. My school person. Cell Leader. Queen of the thrift market. Slayer. Drama Queen’s side kick. Let’s me judge her.

Today my piece will appear in THE Komusana’s blog. Mama, I made it!. I made it!.
Hello Komusana’s people. 

My name is Atim Esther Mercy. If you don’t know me or do not follow my blog, then you haven’t heard the good news yet. Let me break it to you: “Ladies and gentlemen, brothers and sisters, children of the most High God (pronounced GHAAD) this girl is graduating from law school tomorrow. Can someone join me in ululation!” Thank you.Thank you. 

So her royal highness Komusana asked me to tell my law school story ages ago (covers face). 

I thought that all I needed to do was grab my phone, jog my memory and write away. Well, we had a plot twist…it was a flop. I didn’t know what to write about and how exactly to write it, but thankfully, now I do, and that’s what matters. No? So, stick around here and read one girl child’s story to empowerment and emancipation! Hahaha. I’m kidding. I meant to say stick around here and read my law school story.

Law school for me  is the closest I’ve had to a story literally unfolding before my eyes. I’ve watched a story begin, take shape, and begin to Unfold. I’m excited about telling my story and I decided to be a celebrity about this and actually do a question and answer kind of thing instead of making it one llloonnggg story. Today, you are my water hyacinth. Get ready to be circumnavigated. Let’s roll!

Ucu was my first and only choice. I did not apply to join any other university. Yes, I belong to the 1% Ugandan students (my own statistics) who don’t think MUK is the only place to be in.
How did I end up there? I somehow got to know about it, and liked everything I got to learn about it. So I chose it, applied, sat for the pre-entry exam and passed.  

Hehehe. If I were answering this question orally, this would be the part where I clap my hands, throw them onto my head and say “Who sent me to look for this kind of trouble! Was law the only course I could think of doing!”  Lol. That’s how my first day in a law class was, and this continued for pretty much the entire first semester of my first year. It was just one rollercoaster of confusion! I learnt close to nothing, and forgot almost everything. I didn’t understand nothing and I was pretty nonchalant about it.
First of all, for my very first lecture, I thought I was in Stream A instead of B, so I missed all B’s lectures for that day, then I didn’t want to go through the whole process of heading to stream B, getting a new timetable, meeting other new people, etc. So I absconded from class and went back like on Friday. Lol. 

Yyyeessss!. Yes! I was very excited. This was because I really wanted to do law, it was my first choice course and I chose to do it without anybody telling me whether I should or shouldn’t do it. So being in law school was one of my dreams come true, so yeah, that was exciting. 

Well, I’m not going to lie that it was just a never ending cycle of excitement, neither am I going to say I’m not excited about law and being a lawyer anymore. The thing is, just like everything else beautiful in life, the excitement comes with a BANG, until you get the hang of it, chill around long enough to experience the hurdles that come with it, then the excitement starts to wear down, and then there are moments that remind you of why you are actually there, moments that give you reason to be happy that you chose to be where you are. So I had my moments…moments of difficult course units, moments of complex exams, moments of too much work on my plate, moments of failure even when I put in my very best foot forward, moments of uncertainty of the future career-wise, etc. I had those moments, and they were not exciting. But when the moment is gone, and the happy ones are back, I’m excited and happy that I’m in law school, and that one-day I’ll be a lawyer.

My absolute highest will be 7th July when I will be graduating and also September this year, when I’ll be joining the Law Development Center for the bar course (by God’s grace). For now, that will be academic achievement to me. However, I’ve had a few highs, for example when I found Course units that were not as difficult as others, those semesters when results came back and I had over and above the marks I had wanted to have. Those were my highs. 
Lowest, was my first year, first semester when I hands down FAILED a course unit. It was the first time I was experiencing something I would acknowledge to be academic failure or even pretty much failure that really meant something significant, so it stung me too bad! Boy! the lessons this one failure taught me!.

Wow! This should have been a topic for an individual blog post. Haha.
Anyway, yes, it has. What is an experience if it doesn’t come jam packed with lessons?! Here are some of the lessons I’ve learned:
1. Don’t forget to live. Life doesn’t start and end with the law or being a lawyer. Before you are a lawyer, you are a person. Do people things. 
2. Run your own race. I can’t emphasize this enough. In law school, it’s easy to be taken up by the academic picture painted by some people that you may be tempted to run a race you don’t even know how to start, another comes crashing, because crashing always happens.
3. Believe in your self. This is my biggest lesson!. God knows I got through some very tough course units by believing I can do them and putting my beliefs to work. 
4. Girl, please sit down and read your books. Yes, you are smart and intelligent but you know life would be much easier if you just read!. 
5. Mind over matter. This phrase came ALIVE throughout my law school journey.
6. Some things are too overrated. School is one of them.

Another individual blog post we have here. Hahah. I actually did a blog post about law school gratitude on my blog, so I’m just going to copy and paste what I’d written there. I’m grateful:
For the life lessons learned, both the easy and hard way. 
For the failures and set backs that came with a greater measure of growth.
For the strangers that turned to friends and now sisters/squad.

Of all the food we could have eaten on her birthday. This is what she had us do.

For the course units that made law school easier, normal and fun (Hello Law and Christian Political Thought, Environmental Law, Clinical Legal Education, etc. I owe you).

For even the course units that convinced me that law school should be added to the crime of torture (Hello Equity and Trusts, Jurisprudence 1, etc). Boy! did these course units teach me total faith in God, hardwork, dedication and resilience.
For the unexpected twists and turns I encountered through out this journey. The negative gave me lessons, the positive gave me memories to cherish forever. 
For all the non academic activities I indulged in. Thank you for keeping me sane and free from depression. This is where I say Hello Komusana thank you for being my friend who always has plot. 
For very many other things I am too tired to remember.

Regrets? Absolutely not! Would I have done anything differently? Yes. Academically, I would have mooted right from  my first year. I mooted just once in fourth year, and this was because I was doing an elective where mooting was compulsory. After that first experience, I wished I had been doing this right from the start. It was 20 minutes of feeling and thinking like a lawyer in practice and it was one of my greatest feelings, second to the feeling I got after conducting my first cross examination exercise that we did for the same course unit. I think I should summarise it by saying “I should have been more intentional about making my experience of the course more practical than theoretical by being involved in whatever could make me achieve that.”.
For life in general, I would have lived it up alot more!. I only started to really live it up and enjoy myself in fourth year, which made me realise how much living it up I’d missed when I was so engrossed in whatever I was engrossed in.

Yes. I am meant to be a lawyer. I know it. I feel it. I want it. I am meant to be a lawyer. 

Dear child, 
1. Read hard. 
2. Be involved. 
3. Live it up!

Yyaasss. Generally, my after school plan for probably the next five years or so is basically career oriented. I pray it’s God’s plan for me too. 
More specifically, I want to accomplish three things for now. Which are:
1. Get into Law Development Center
2. Get a masters degree.
3. Start my career. 
Huh! The questions are done already. I was enjoying my few minutes of fame. Anyway, that’s my story. I’ve enjoyed writing this, I hope you will enjoy reading it. 
Have a great day.

This picture, I just love, so why not?

The Story of Achola.

Graduation is looming.

Mother’s dress is picked out and my dresses are hanging, somewhere in my closet waiting for me to pick them out and slay.

I had a brilliant idea of sharing my story of law school.

Then it occurred to me that sharing my friends’ stories is an even more brilliant idea.

I asked, many agreed, few proceeded to write and even fewer were chosen.

So for the past and  next one day leading up to 7th July, I have been and will be sharing their stories.

Why their stories?

The idea was to capture the journey of a few of us in law school and publish it on my blog.

It was inspired by the conversations I had throughout our last semester, which for some reason felt very weird

A lot of my friends  did not consider it  an achievement to have finished this chapter of their lives  especially  because  of the horror stories we have had over the years about  the bar course, that is if you even pass the pre-entry exam to get in.

I wanted to change that, maybe just to have company in the “excitement lane” or to have content for my blog. The plan was to challenge them to count their blessings and what better way than writing about the journey, the milestones, low moments, lessons and everything in between.

This is Liz’s sstory.

From the time I started school I always believed the best moment or the highlight of the entire school experience would be graduation. I think that time at Waterford nursery and primary school in 1999 when I  graduated from top to P.1 played a major role in this. That day was great, I ate a lot, got gifts, I remember we did all the fun little things that day, I was even allowed to stay up till 11pm!



When I learn’t that I would only be able to graduate again so many  years later I was sad. I wanted to graduate and eat and get gifts after every class, but unfortunately the world  did not revolve around my 5 year old dreams.

I joined law school on my own accord, not because I thought it would please my parents,  but because I pictured myself in a nicely tailored suit in court throwing questions to the  witnesses just like I had watched in legally blonde and also it was a nice save from the pain of mathematics.

It’s 17 years later, and graduation is just a day away so when Komusana requested me to write about my law school experience I thought I should wait until graduation, because according to my  5 year old self in me that’s still the highlight of every school experience.

She refused to work on my schedule  and also I have got everything covered (Thank you God). So far being on that graduation list, picking my invitation cards and getting my gown and hood, has been the highlight of my law school experience.. The journey hasn’t been that obvious for me.  Conquering those books, the late night  and early morning classes, the extremely difficult exams and everything else makes me a very grateful child right now.


Meets after. Meet Liz, Achola, Loveliz Elizabeth. That girl with the loud ring tone in 1st year. Former blogger turned free lance writer. Taker of both cruises. Life eater

Law school has not all been bad.  There have been more great memories than bad ones.. I can say I sailed through, the winds and storm of course its was all God.

I have met tonnes of human beings. Some became friends and others we shall forever be acquainted. I am thankful  that I have had consistency  with my friends since first year, otherwise the world out there would have been a cold harsh place.


From September 2013,I have experienced some of the most beautiful things  I have zero
regrets. The greatest lesson being letting go of disappointments and setbacks in life in
exchange for hanging on the promises of God. I have also learn’t not to overthink things,
spontaneity has become my middle name.
Next step is trying all my luck in the world to get into LDC, then get my hands on that money.  Then hopefully, just like I had planned when I was in F. 3, get married by 28 and get myself three white puppies (Lol)  A horse. And a fountain. And obviously a big house with even a bigger compound because that horse isn’t going  stay in one place all the time….
Well, that’s pretty much my story, what’s yours?