Late Thanksgiving #KoiKoiWest

Credit:Joel Jjemba

There is a holiday dubbed Thanksgiving in the United States but you already know that.

For some reason these global village dreams, always have my social media life posting Thanksgiving posts also even though, I have no idea how turkey tastes.
There is a point to all this by the way.
Am sitting in a taxi going back to life as I know it, a.k.a exams starting 5th December.
The real point is I spent my weekend with the cool people  crew of #koikoiug at Queen Elizabeth National Park, sipping on life.
The amount of fun had, is hard to reduce into words, yet this is not even about fun.
The cure for this limitation on the power of words is why most people in this group speak photography.
Mere mortals like I whose idea of photography is a click on the phone, have a reason to be grateful for these magicians/oppressors/gods of photography. 
Anyway #koikoiug is about telling true Ugandan stories, from unforgettable experiences  and am so grateful for #KoiKoiWest, I came up with a list. 

  1.  The Kafunda Kreazy Kreatives a.k.a Leadership and all their cool friends.

We were on the road the whole day.
First to Fort Portal, then to Kasese District then to Lubirizi district Western Uganda.(Joel Jjemba will post a blog with accurate figures and GPS coordinates, I hate math)

The reason the Hajji behind the wheel was able to get us to our destination unencumbered is because, when you go shell, you go well.
The smart people of Kafunda Kreatives, made partnerships with the generous people of Vivo Energy Uganda and sorted the whole fuel and service business, so we could make this very worthy trip, regardless of how mountaneous the humps on Kasese road are.
And for that am very grateful

2.Everything

Uganda is a country where for your emotional well being you generally don’t expect good service.

Usually the service providers in this our dear country, have a low tolerance for their job description and we have self taught coping mechanisms to this terrible habit, like facebook rants or twitter
So when you find good service, you know to appreciate it.
We stayed at Park View Safari Lodge during the trip and may I take this opportune moment, to  please recommend it?

I took this picture, and am not doing this place any justice

It’s a place where anyone visiting Queen Elizabeth National Park can and should  stay, not just for the view, but the hospitality, the comfort, the food  and everything in between.
It’s beautiful in a way that for a moment makes you forget your reality.

I am grateful for the people of koi koi.
The life-eaters who came out to play this weekend.

 It’s not everyday or everywhere that you get to converge the faces, brains and personalities like the people on this trip in one place for more than 48 hours.
When you solicit for depth enough, you maybe dramatic enough to call it magical. (And I love soliciiting)
The conversations escalate without any regard to the laws on speed limits.
They are  a blend of smart discussions , meaningful arguments, worthy arguments, infused with doses of humor and sarcasm while spicing it up with meaningless banter.
I got inducted into a family on this trip even, and one of my new found  sisters Debbie said this paraphrased statement in her description of the people of koikoi.

There is space for everyone to be who they are. There is no pressure to be anyone but yourself. Whatever your corner, there is room big enough for it. 

So as  I sit in my room at school  which is nothing like The Mandela Cottage where I spent the weekend,

As I settle into my reality, which takes the shape and form of words like civil procedure, I am grateful.

That for two days straight,  I sent life as I know it  on holiday.

That I saw elephants and buffaloes and warthogs and crocodiles and hippos and lots of birds and all their cousins. 

Debbie took this picture

That even though the king of the jungle won the game of hide and seek, knowing that I was in a place where I may have had a chance to see the lion, filled me with wondrous expectation. 

That I made my 3rd koikoi trip and found out, at the campfire on Friday night with Joel Jjemba,  Doreen and Debbie, that the 3rd time really is a charm. 

That even though that charm cannot take away my reality, #koikoiwest is my experience to keep.That I have another great addition to my book of Ugandan stories. 

That  a wise man dared me unknowingly to ask for more from these experiences and I will take it.

That we were a few miles from Kasese district where massive shooting happened for reasons you can find here, and we made it out of there unharmed. 

That I took a boat ride on Kazinga Channel.

That for a moment with some prompting  I thought about my aspirations for 2017.

That  going to Gabon to watch Uganda Cranes play the  Africa Cup of nations for the first time in nearly four decades next year,  some how feels like a valid dream, because the smartphone network, with all its awesomeness  to #koikoiug is  giving me crazy ideas. 

Maybe I will write more, about this experience, but incase exams do a hostile takeover to my writing ambitions for the foreseeable future, it’s thanksgiving town over here. 

Ps:#KoiKoiWest is your go to  source for all the incredible, out-of-a-magazine pictures from this chapter of the Ugandan story.

You are welcome. 

Of The Maybes of Writing 

Writing,  trying  to write, is a whole bunch of maybes. 

It has your mind in places you maybe afraid to go,  or not sure should be shared. 

My guest blogger today is Luvliz, she started writing on the web this year and then went radio silent.

I asked her why she wasn’t writing anymore and she said its a struggle for her, so I asked her to write about her struggle with writing. 

Which is alot of maybes. So here ‘s the thing, am a lazy writer, Sometimes I don’t even know whether to call myself a writer.

There is just something that doesn’t feel right. 

Its probably just in my head or something but its not a good feeling especially when almost everyone around  you for some reason thinks otherwise. 

It makes you feel like you don’t know your own self and you start feeling low and ungrateful and over thinking about even the most irrelevant things about yourself.

I can blame it on my thoughts, conscience and whatever but the truth is am just lazy and: 

Maybe apart of me believes am not as good as people say. You see am sorrounded by these incredible friends who are great, like really great writers. 

When I first started my blog it was because I wanted to also be such a writer, but after a while I felt like I cant Compete with that, I felt like the pressure to keep up was too much and I was like: Maybe I should just close up the blog and go on with my usual routine of just reading other people’s work, and well I did just that.

 I closed up my blog and at the moment am following routine.

Maybe one day again something will make me rise again and pull up my socks. Maybe, just Maybe I will  stop being scared to share parts of myself with the web. 

Right now I lack the passion and drive and everything else needed in this writing business . 

Am realizing truthfully that it’s so hard being a writer, I have this one friend who looks at me like am the best writer that ever existed (as flattering as that should be, I don’t feel that) 

Sometimes annoying because I never know what to write and I don’t want to dissappoint him either, I mean when a person believes in you that much the last thing you want is kill their spirit just because you lack esteem and passion. Sometimes other people know you more than you know your own self.

As for how am writing this, well its all because of Komusana made me write about my frustrations with writing. Iam always whining about how am not a good writer even after she has told me several times that she  likes my little articles. 

Am starting to think that all writers go through this phrase, at one point or the other, you know like the way people hate listening to their own voices after making an audio?… Well I think its the same scenario here, I cant even go back  to see all the nonsense I have written up there. 
In short, I need motivation, something like a force or something to push me to try writing atleast once a week, and to reopen my blog, so help me God.

UgBlogWeek:Guest Blog

A week ago my friend became Africa’s champion. 

He won the International Committee of the Red Cross moot on International Humanitarian Law  in Arusha. 

To say am proud is an understatement,  am amazed and because it’s the most normal way to celebrate, I requested His Royal Greatness to guest blog.

Warning: The blog has nothing to do with the moot.

So here goes, 

Starting to write a blog post or( anything for that matter) is probably the hardest bit about writing. Even harder when you’re a blog guest for a seasoned blogger. like FiFi ( I mean she’s the reigning champion of that United Nations thingi), she’s also a mother of 2, the commander in chief of the free world as well as my classmate. Hehehe! 

I honestly haven’t written in a long ugly while, my ink is half dry as my pen is a tonne blunt and my jokes miles away from hilarious.Although many of you may not believe me after reading this, but I was actually damn good funny.( sheds a tear)

Let me share with you guys the moonlight events of my last week. Contrary to what most school mates of mine maybe thinking for I happened to kick ass of a good number of African teams to win some Moot Court competition.

 I had planned to get a tattoo and an ear piercing if I won this moot thing. While in Arusha, I  approached a guy who had moooob tatoos. Turns out those things are damn painful and also permanent. So if I got FiFi’s name on my neck it would have to stay there even after she dumps me.(sheds another tear).

Plus, I doubt my tatoos would be visible. I’d have to bleach to like yellowish and have a magnifying glass for them to be visible.(#veryBlackskinsdomatter) 

So no tatoos for me( sorry FiFi)

About ear piercings? I saw this Masai ninja with a weather instrument for an ear lob. Seriously! that lob could detect atmospheric pressure, these guys should be working at the Stevenson screen.(hehe!) Thanks Aunt Betty for SST cains, I get to use that thing in real life. Still waiting on an opportunity to use ‘xylem’ ‘phloem’.

Hehehe.

Anyways where were we? Donald Trump? Honestly guys, the American voting system need to be marked by Aunt Betty,  how can a person lose an election if they have 2million more votes than their opponent! Honestly! I think football should also have like an electoral college, that’s the only way Arsenal will win a trophy! Hahaha! Shots fired! Arsenal fans.

So, as we was still discussing the appointment of a new Ugandan Electoral Chairman. I remembered that this is the guy who doctored witnesses to prosecute Besigye for manya Rape. Tinkakinolaga(if thats a word) I have a feeling this guy only wears yellow socks and only drinks M7up sorry 7up as a beverage. The bible clearly says you can’t put old 7up in a new skin!

But that’s none of my business 

How again did we end up here?(Pun intended)

#UgBlogWeek-Take 2.Of Having an Audience 

Source :Google Images

We are born with an audience. 

If you come from a family as big as mine, by the time you opened your eyes, the hospital room was full of everyone eager to meet you, from the grand parents to the youngest cousin. My family knows only how to show up in large numbers. 

Then you go home to find a welcome party and by the time it’s your first birthday,  everyone has you on a stage directing the choreography that is your life.

Your audience grows with you. From your family to the friendly neighborhood to your class on your first day of school to the entire society. 

Your  audience morphs out of your control and you learn on the job how to overcome stage fright.

So what’s in an audience?

It has  those that love you unconditionally a.k.a family . 

Whose part is to cheer you own with the requisite chastisement .

They are  generous with their compliments and not so much with their criticism. 

They  hold your hand through tough times and take you back after every screw up. 

You don’t choose this audience, neither does it choose you. It just is and it’s the one that matters the most.

Next in line to the family are the circles of friends. 

This is a tricky audience to navigate. You have a choice in who gets the front row center seats. 

Some are genuinely on your team, while others are not sure if you are even worth a sweat and others are just curious. 

The beauty with this audience is that the older you grow, with some you grow together and with others you grow apart. Call it natural selection. There is also always room to recruit more people to this audience. 

You can’t be too careful around it, because  getting booed off the stage, is a real possibility but so is giving the performance of historic proportions.

Then there is the rest of the crowd. Society the English man has named it. This one you don’t choose. 

It’s in your face every time. Neither blinking nor taking a bathroom break.

It has set it’s expectations of you the moment, the doctor or village midwife,  pronounces you girl or boy.You are also part of this audience. The pressure to deliver is both within and without. 

It has faces and the one staring most intently is social media.

There is a need to please because this audience demands that you keep a certain set standard. So it sends you down a path of narcissism and vanity.

It reminds you of your short comings while giving you it’s tonnes of unsolicited advice and packaging it as freedom of expression.

So how do you cope with having  an audience anyway?

When you have an audience, even the smallest moments can seem so big.

The trick is to not let the pressure get to you, go out there, naked and afraid and take your moment!-Grey’s Anatomy 

PS: Today wordpress told me I have 200 blog followers. 

So now when I say I love you for reading,  you know exactly what am talking about. 


 


UgBlogWeek-Take One 

UgblogWeek  always has me all colors of excited. 

Not for the writing part, since  I have honestly never been able to successfully pull off the whole 7 days,  7 posts challenge despite all my resolutions to always try. 

Am always more excited for the reading part.  People on this blogosphere know how to bring it literally. Therefore on this cheery note, allow me give a special shout out to the people of Uganda’s  blog community who put these things together. 

Straight up, today Mr Nevender is asking tough questions about information overload, while Bwesigye is buttering me up  for his journey with Ugandan literature, just around the time, I found out about someone’s love for his one eyed girlfriend. ( I have unfortunately failed to recover the link) 

It’s a festival of words  on these streets, popcorn is in hand and like Atim would say,  it’s a great week to have a blog account. 

As I crush hard on other blogger’s words,  I can’t help but feel stuck in my own head about the direction I want my blog week to take. 

Someone almost sent me down the bright and shiny path of gender inequality but I have resisted the temptation. She has  interesting thoughts (with  which I respectfully disagree) and we  share a name, so please find out here why she thinks gender inequality is here to stay. 

In randomly unrelated news, what do you know about transition?

I think I have reached my transition limit for this year. It has felt like, I was yanked from my childhood beauty sleep into this ocean called “adulting”.

I remember being away from home and being required to pitch myself.

I remember sitting in the Ministry of Education Annual Sector Review in September and wondering if the person entrusted with handing out the clues of being grown up had somehow skipped me. 

Despite all my gratitude at all these grown up roles, transitioning has come with it’s own pack of jitters and questions. 

Am I  ever really ready to cross over? 

Is there a coping manual? 

Are these problems am allowed to have?

Who is handing out the permission slips? 

Is there an app?

Unfortunately or not I haven’t found answers yet but when I do,  I promise to reduce them into a free to download app. 

I strongly suggest you refrain from holding your breathe about that promise and read on.

 Do you know how to breath?

Change on whatever level is scary. The problem is ,when you are an adult you don’t have the option of throwing a major tantrum about it and refusing. 

Sometimes you have even invited the change and when it comes, its absolutely beyond what you hoped for. 

My amateur advice  is breathe. While I work on that app.

When you find yourself in need of saving from being  an adult. 

When you you get thrown into the grown ups ocean without any clues on how to swim.

There is only one way to cope.

Wear your poker face and breath.

Book Review: Penumbra

I think each person has their journey and that’s it.  It becomes yours and no one else’s. This world has this way of measuring people…but time also lapses and there’s nothing you can do about it,  I think the biggest lesson to be learnt is that of being a person…and that exists outside all these schools”.

This book I have carried around for a while. Law school is getting a bit too demanding for my extra curricular activities, that’s  why. 

Her Royal Subtleness a.k.a the Writer Chic, did a great job of reviewing it and she is not an amateur like me, so please read her version here for sound judgement’s sake. 

Anyway I loved the book. It confused me too. I underestimated it’s power or confused it’s genius with it’s  volume. 

Totally, unrelated, what do you know about dying? 

The book’s protagonist finds himself in need of saving from himself or his world. He quits  a job to pursue a writing career only to become a professional drug addict.

It’s a book we can all relate to on some level, or at least I can. It’s about being stuck in time when everyone or everything seems to be moving on.

It’s about helplessness when it doesn’t make sense to be. It’s a young man’s struggle with mental illness from addiction and a whole lot of Jesus in a way that is dramatic enough for good television. 

Before this book, the only other book by a South African author I had read was Peter Abraham’s Mine Boy in O level and now, I think I maybe be in like with South African literature or atleast curious.(Hello Xhosa Girl Sinawo Bukani)

The point is it’s a book small enough for you to read in a day and big enough to make you feel things. 

Ps:#UgBlogWeek starts tomorrow and I need a lot of Jesus to pull it off. 

In my desire to be a writer,  I have not made any sacrifices. In his discreet way,  Tongai once said that musicians he stayed with do not have a Plan B: they are not your bankers-slash poets. 

 

 Depression and Jesus 

Source:Google Images

You remember how I promised to write about my sister’s journey with depression throughout the month of October?  

No?  Okay good that’s better. The truth is,  in light of a course unit called civil procedure among other lame excuses that sound very valid in my head,  I have not been writing for what feels like a decade.

Six months ago,  the only thing I knew about depression, was whatever I heard in movies or read in passing. It always came off a little too foreign to come close.

6 months ago I sat in a doctor’s office and heard him say my sister was depressed. I must admit it didn’t sound that serious coming from him. 

I figured whatever he would prescribe would fix the problem and we could all go back to our lives and forget.

I watched a seemingly fancy illness become life threatening . I wish my sister could write about it,  I really do because as difficult as this has been on me I will never fully understand what exactly she was going through.

At some point the doctor said, she is the only person that can help us help her.

I had days when I was really mad at everyone. The doctors for not giving me straight answers, myself for not being able to help her, God because He felt far away, friends and family for asking questions non of us had answers to and  everything else. 

On most days I walked around like a tear volcano awaiting my day of eruption. It was helplessness, the lonely kind despite how much awesome help we had. 

The  tear volcano  threatens to erupt even now 6 months later  when we are experiencing our brightest days. 

Forget what they say about smiling through the storm, I reached a point where the only thing I could do with my set of teeth was grit them with frustration.

However all my indescribable feelings about the situation aside, there was a way I learned to completely rely on Jesus through this whirlwind of emotions.

I read up alot on depression, during the time, mostly horror stories to remind myself that my sister wasn’t as badly off as most people or just to be aware until, I realized I was just perpetrating worry in a situation that had that already covered,  so I turned to the only person I know fixes things -Jesus.

You see,  there is a lot of medical assistance for depression and I am grateful for it. 

I also  know first hand that there is a place where that stops.  

That sleeping pills- the dose, the overdose,  the strongest or a combination of all of them do not exactly guarantee that a person will sleep. 

Anxiety medicine doesn’t exactly guarantee calmness neither does the advice of a nutritionist  unlock flood gates of appetite just as much as counselling doesn’t magically make you feel less crappy.

At some point you have to rely on power that is not naturally coined and Jesus is very good at his job  

Depression doesn’t mean that God loves you any less or that some where down the line your ancestors screwed up and so you are carrying a generational curse. 

It’s just another thing that God’s grace is sufficient to cover. Another place to experience His perfect love despite the far from perfect situation.

It’s just another thing that has not gone  your way or according to plan but the good news is that there is still hope in the promise of the cross.

It’s another of those moments that will teach you to appreciate the little things, like sleep or the ability to sit still.

Most importantly, depression is a name,  and like all other names it eventually succumbs to the name of Jesus. 

And yes some days are definitely better than others.   

Happy New Month.