Book Review: Americanah.

It’s been a while.
Well it’s been too much while. Most of that time, I forgot I had a blog. (That’s a flat out lie or a hyper exaggeration)
During that while, I got my  long lost reading mojo back and it’s with very many pats on my back and awards in my honor, that I present to you ladies and gentlemen of the blogosphere, my first book review.
I really have no idea, how these things are done, but a certain book nerd told me, there is no formula.
I also feel like I have no business or qualifications to review, the absolute love of my reading life (for now) Chimamanda Ngozie.
I mean who am I to review greatness?
I finished reading minutes ago,  I don’t want the hype to die down or my thoughts on the book to wither in the noise that is life.
Am also on a bus and writing while I travel somehow shortens the distance.
Otherwise how are you doing?
I loved the book. If I had to go all descriptive of the depth and width and dimensions of this love, I would break out into a speech in my mother tongue and we can’t read that.
I found myself spending time in my mother’s dimly lit kitchen and praying that the pages increase as I read on,  and for the first time in the history of my smartphone possession, I charged for offline business.
The thought of finishing the book gave me all forms of separation anxiety. (Whatever that is. )
I have had this book on my phone for a really long time.
I kept it because the space on my phone let me. I had convinced that I couldn’t read an entire book on the phone.
Now I will probably be reading it, a few hundred times oozing in its descriptive glory which is exciting enough to keep you glued and yet ideally controversial.
Americanah is candid without the hypocritical subtlety of political correctness.
I tried picking out my favorite lines, only to end up almost highlighting the entire book.
She writes about blogging the only way she can and yet relatable.
If you belong to the natural hair movement, she also has you covered.
She writes about life, about pasts about helplessness, about mistakes, about hope, about double standards, about growth and everything in between.
The downside, only 344 pages of this goodness exist.
Its a flawed happy ending and I loved every bit of the cracks.
Am just a fan gushing about a piece of literacy genius and if I  were you and I haven’t read the book, I would let me know in the comments and I would send you a copy.
No need to thank me, you are already welcome.

A kind..

There is a kind of pain only love can put you through.
A kind of tears that itch with every drop.
A kind of ache you cannot explain with your words.
It is deep.
So deep only the heart knows!

Highschool Mean Girls

Dear reader,  yesterday all my favorite Zambian gospel artists were in town, the concert had to be attended and so the writing didn’t happen, and today am racing against time to catch up.
Am sure you aren’t interested in my excuses but oh well, otherwise how are you doing?
So my new blog crush Subtleroyalty is on a defiance plan about the theme of this episode of #ugblogweek.
She says we are lying and schools actually made us better.
I actually think what she meant is, school made us think we are better than those who didn’t go.
However that’s an argument I will get into maybe tomorrow, let me first gather ammunition.
I have been to 7 different schools.
Heck I have even attended two universities for undergrad. What can I say? I am flexible like that.
Up until now when I meet people I attended school(s) with, I can hardly ever tell, which one of the 7 it was that I saw them.
I did zero down to one school for my Advanced Level and I am thankful for the gift of Nabisunsa Girls’ School.
I’m so thankful for all its self esteem classes and gospel of becoming nothing but dignified, composed young ladies who reap what they sow.
The down side? My amazing school had a group of Mean Girls whose job was to ensure the rest of the class felt terrorised, unimportant and not pretty.
How? By making snide comments when anyone outside their realm of preference passed by, and every other subtle bullying that wouldn’t get them in trouble with the HM.
I was never directly a subject of their wrath but I assisted anyone who was by writing for them what they needed to reply when attacked and replying their mean chits whenever I got an opportunity (I guess I have always been an activist)
I have no idea where the rest of this squad disbanded to but, I hope it is some place that taught them some respect for people, that growing up helped their people skills and that the academy of life polished their manners.
Up until now, I can never let a bully get a free pass.( Now it’s less writing and more talking)
So, school did make me better my dear Writer Chic , it taught me to “Say no to bullying”.
Ps: Google owns the image and I love you for reading .

Education:The fallacy.

The first thing our parents /teachers tell us about school is hardwork pays.
That reading hard will somehow make all your problems go away.
They make to us a promise of perfection, with good intentions of course.
Despite the fact that this is about to become a full blown rant,  let me first say that I’m personally very grateful for the opportunity to go to school.
I like to think of it as an escape route from everything that would have happened if I didn’t go to school.
As a matter of fact, I tell all my friends that what I am is a poser.
I have mastered English phrases, learned the meaning of hash tags,  and locations of Kampala restaurants and I wear a personality that is far from who I could have been.
I come from a place that exudes  hopelessness.
Where almost every person I grew up with either got married off at 15, or has a few babies or is on their way to getting those babies, or acquired HIV or died from it or has had all the above happened to them.
God played the hugest part in all this escape business, but this is about education so the preacher hat is going to be hang for a second..
Whenever I go back to “Ngombe A village, Busoro Sub County, Burahya County Kabarole district”, which sadly is often for a funeral,  I get stares, of admiration, that I some how have arrived at least by their standards.
As a consequence I always feel like a fraud, because it’s the farthest thing from the truth.
Let me tell you what my point is exactly..
It is a lie,  reading hard in school and having a perfect score on your report card just makes you survive the process.
It neither guarantees a bright future nor keys to the kingdom of wealth or fulfillment. I personally would have found that, very useful information from the start.
It would have been nice for my school experience to let me know that the world doesn’t owe me some sought of favor for making it to graduation ceremony in one piece.
Our education system is a lie, it’s a hoax, it puts so much pressure on academia and yet the world rewards passion, ambition and practicability.
The school system doesn’t make you arrive, it teaches you enough English to ask for a job you probably don’t want, but have an entire village staring at you, begging you to take it, so you can buy them soda the next time one of them succumbs to the consequences of not going to school.
It is so frustrating.
I intend to use this UgBlogWeek under the theme “School Made me no Better” to tell you all my thoughts on education.
The highs, the lows, everything in between, what we can do to improve it and especially what I am doing about it.
Happy blogging Ugandan bloggers and the rest of you guys I love you for reading.
Ps:Pictures herein belong to google

Lessons from Ruin.

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So UGblogWeek begins on Thursday and I figured I should get this Rwanda post out of the way..
Prior to Kigali I said I wanted to know the story of Rwanda outside of the genocide. When I got there as it turns out,  you can’t fully capture what Rwanda is about minus those 100 days of terror in 1994.
The day we visited the Kigali Genocide Memorial Center ,changed something for me. (Read that as dramatically as you can)
Most times, I come across historical places, I try and search within to solicit for some depth. Not this time though, some unsettling feeling descended upon me, the minute we got to the entrance.
My friend Mercy, took it a notch higher and shade a few tears.
We first toured the serene and beautiful gardens that play host to the mass graves.

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It's so beautiful picnic ideas are not completely crazy before you know the story.

They are the final resting place of over 250000 victims of the genocide.
It wasn’t so much the thought of the dead, but the lesson, “all that glitters ain’t gold,” that was disturbing. 
It however didn’t prepare me for the actual tour of the museum.
A place full of stories of before, during and after the genocide.
I kid you not, the movies and books haven’t conveyed it accurately.
I read the writings on the wall,  I stared at the images, I gawked at the videos, I got chills from the descriptions of how people were killed and I learned.
I promised that I would focus on the positive of the experience.
So in typical me mode, here are my lessons from the ruins.

1. “If you want to change the world,  go home and love your family”

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Source :Google Images

The circumstances that led Rwanda to such a dark place may not be known to me, but something I know for sure is that someone was sad and broken.
It wasn’t killing of millions of people, it was killing of individuals, millions of times.
There was,  death by shooting,  by hacking, by torture, by hitting children on walls, by stabbing, by strangulation. The list is long but I will stop there, my point being, there was personal participation to end life.
Of course there is a political explanation,  but I believe there is always enough love to avert evil.
So love your family, otherwise,the human heart can manufacture enough hate to wipe out an entire generation.

2. There is beauty in ashes.
After the genocide in 1994, researchers wrote Rwanda off as a failed state.
Not just because it was very inconceivable that hearts would recover and work together, but also because the national treasury had been robbed clean.
First forward to 2016, 22 years later,  Kigali is the cleanest city in Africa, and the 7th fastest growing economy in the world.
We were staying near the  Kigali International airport, and nearly every 15minutes there was a take off and a landing of a RwandaAir plane.
We also learned that almost 70% of Rwandan citizens are on medical insurance.
The public transport system is so on point that there is free access to Wi-Fi on the Kigali Bus Services, shuttles.
Like every country it has its flaws and its slums but,Rwanda deserves a pat on the back for relentless resilience, picking herself up and getting her life back from the most horrendous of situations.
If that isn’t inspiring I don’t know what is.

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Google isn't lying, that's pretty accurate

3.A compulsory monthly cleaning exercise surely does wonders.
As you may already know,  every last Saturday of the month, every Rwandan citizen is expected to spend the first half of their day cleaning their community a.k.a “UMUGANDA” and attending a community meeting thereafter.
Oh and it’s mandatory.
We happened to participate in this exercise and a quick chat with one of the locals revealed that, missing this exercise invites a fine of 5000francs( that’s a whole lot of cash)  or a jail sentence.
Pretty harsh right? It works though, so well you could eat food off of the streets of Kigali.(Refer to picture ab

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Do you maybe wanna guess why we were late to clean?

ove)

4. It’s definitely possible to wear a helmet when you take a boda boda ride.
This year more than ever we have registered the highest number of deaths by boda boda in Uganda
(Incase you don’t know ,a boda boda is a risky means of transport in Uganda where you trust your life with a motor bike rider, more often than not because you hate Kampala traffic and he has enough insanity to cut corners and get you through it.)
Where were we?
Yes helmet wearing, in Kigali is a must, a helmet is the first thing a rider  will hand you after you negotiate terms.
And no you will not quarrel that it has been used by so many people or that it will mess your hair. (Ugandan excuses)
You will shut up, enjoy a safe ride and of course

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take a selfie.

5. Never leave a town without finding out what their coffee /ice cream places are like.

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The girl squad that had the trip all colors of awesome

 

A blog of no regret.

Going to Rwanda meant two things. Letting go of an extremely emotionally draining situation I was going through and missing the epic #koikoiNorth trip.
Am glad I had my phone and data off for the one week I was in Kigali because I would most definitely have had a tear moment at all the amazing pictures these Koikoi people took at Murchison falls.

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This is a personal favorite. Photo Credit :Joel Jjemba

I have completely dealt with the #FOMO and it’s cousin regret.
I don’t understand how a single group of people can exude such level of awesomeness and creative genius;
it must be God, but this is not about the trip that I missed, just head to KoiKoiUG on social media and let your eyes feast on the beauty that is this country.
Anywhos how are you doing?
I just had a life hack just by staying a week a way from home.
God taught me too much, I experienced growth and a birth of a dream in Rwanda.
For the next few days,  I intend to tell you all about it hopefully in a post or 6 but today I wanted to dust some cobwebs off of this place and make some well deserved noise about #koikoiUG.