Of Sad Stories 1 – Prologue.

….that was real sweet Nicholas Sparks, real sweet.

Date check: Sunday 26th June 2016. I am under house arrest for a few days in an unknown location; not as if secret, but well, i haven’t mentioned where i am yet otherwise I could easily be found if one wanted to. Don’t ask me for details but just so you know, if I were discovered by a certain group of people, my near future would come crumbling down in uncollectable debris or like the murderous mudslides of Bududa. Not like a joke.
Like most people my age, this is the most critical time of my life when I am most concerned about what happens tomorrow at my desk, while on duty, etcetera because it basically makes me who i will be “tomorrow”.

Anyhow, I can’t sleep in, or I’d feel like a lazy bum. So i reach over my bed to find my phone that spent all night plugged into the socket to recharge. I winced at the thought of the pain it must have felt; being force-fed beyond what it could take. I knew deep down that one day it would completely resent me, stop feeding, and eventually leave me for 6 feet under. I wouldn’t weep, but take a deep breath and start the long holiday from the noisy pop-up notifications.
I digress.

When I find my phone, i pick up from where I left off the last time I read. Now, i am reading books using my phone; i will tell you how I got them in the story next, they’re over 30. I haven’t got into the habit of buying books yet, (but my children gon get served books for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Granted) and having my temporarily-owned computer crashed, phone’s in handy. So don’t be thinking i am addicted to social media when I’m looking down at my phone all day. And away from people…ambivert alert.

I begin to read for a while, and the book prematurely comes to its end. Yes. It actually leaves me hanging but i am thinking that maybe there was nothing more left to do. Landon loved with all his heart, Jamie lived with all that she was and there was nothing Hegbert or I, could do if not further the already sad situation. Although, i must say that was real sweet Nicholas Sparks, real sweet.

The hunger pangs have kicked in. This is the worst possible moment of being under house arrest, i tell you. I finally find breakfast, a very awkward breakfast… Even spinsters live better than I do sometimes.
Between the weird breakfast, i was writing this post, about what kind of book(s) i have just read and why i love reading them…

Arid.

But it flew with the wind 🍃

Are you gone?
You’re here but you’re not.
I thought I caught your smile,
Far off in the mirage.
But it flew with the wind.
The only promise of dew;
I stay parched.
I am arid,
If you’re gone.

THIS OR THAT BOOK TAG.

The beautiful Subtle royalty, (i have never seen or met her) nominated me for this tag some granaries ago. Haha…but not too long ago. She’s awesome because her blog is “for those people up there” and i immensely enjoy reading it. Thank you, for giving me another reason to blog. Gwe asinga. Please, i present to you, That Writer Chick!

The rules are as follows;

1. Thank and link the person who tagged you.
2. Answer the questions asked.
3. Tag other 10 bloggers to do same .

READING ON THE COUCH OR THE BED?

Bed all day!! I mean… reading on the couch? What do i call myself… I don’t take life that serious sometimes.

MAIN MALE CHARACTER OR FEMALE MAIN CHARACTER?

Female main character it is. I love to read other women’s train of thought. To feel myself in the position they are in, and how i would have handled the same situation being that I’m female. It’s fun. I think.

SWEET SNACKS OR SALTY SNACKS?

On that note, i am a very balanced person. Every time i go out to get a snack, half my purchases will be sweet and the other half will be salty. I can’t tell u which i prefer.

TRILOGIES OR QUARTETS?

Trilogies. When a story gets too long, I’d abandon the book. I love reading, but not the same book for months. Yeah, it takes months for me to finish a book; not that I’m too slow, but i take a couple of pages at a time.

FIRST PERSON POINT OF VIEW OR THIRD PERSON POINT OF VIEW?

Oh goodness… First person!! Uh, i love how it can be so deep, it starts to cut through you. I want a whole library of those!

READING AT NIGHT OR IN THE MORNING?

If you read a book in the morning, i don’t know what planet you might come from because I’d like to visit so I can see how you do it.
I read at night. Way into the night. When the noises are down and i can only hear the mosquitoes above my head. Same for writing. It is 23:06 as I type this answer.

LIBRARIES OR BOOKSTORES?

You people, first chill bookstores. I LOVE libraries! There’s something about them. It is in a library that you find some book that gathered dust, which happens to be in your to-read list. Or a book by an unpopular writer, which could have made best-seller.
The books in a library have that priceless book smell that you just can’t trade for nothin’!

BOOKS THAT MAKE YOU CRY OR LAUGH?

I’m emotional kabisa. I like sad stories. Or sweet stories that will make me cry eventually. I basically hunt for those kinds of things; books and movies. So someone out there reading this, if u have a book that makes people like me cry, please allow me read it.

BLACK BOOK COVERS OR WHITE BOOK COVERS?

What is that… Haha, but i know how the colour of the cover attracts my attention.
Black book covers for me.

CHARACTER DRIVEN STORY OR PLOT DRIVEN STORY?

Plot driven stories. Plot driven stories. Plot driven stories.

So my nominees are;
I will not nominate 10 bloggers because… I’m just going to break that rule.

1. @Jay_Layado, don’t take too long on this one *runs and hides*

2. @mpozii , here’s to cool new friends. I look forward to reading your take on that above!

3. @proverbialfaith, i am curious. 🙂

4. @gloswaan,  there’s no nomination without you. Even if you might have already been nominated!

5. @omuwanguzi,  what i have said about @gloswaan.

6. @Callme_Massie, you have the highest number of comments on my blog. Thanks alot!

…Break a leg y’all.

Luka the Italian.

#Fact1: The biggest part of the year… Scratch that. I have spent the last 7 months living in guest houses.

#Fact1: The biggest part of the year… I have spent the last 7 months living in guest houses.

That right there was a thought I harboured in my mind but had no idea how to put it into words (a blog post). So I just went right ahead and tweeted it; after all, they call it micro-blogging, no? I am not sure I’m good at crafting stories out of simple experiences otherwise this blog should have had a whole years’ series on guesthouse-type-of-living. Clearly. I suck at this and I’m often disappointed in myself because I don’t wanna forget a thing! Believe me there’s so much I see out here and some of it almost made me cry amidst some children but I can’t find words to describe the depth on here! So this might be my longest blog post yet. Stay with me to the end.

Location: Hoima District, Somewhere in a certain guest house.

Anyhow, that worry came to an end just a few minutes after my hopeless tweet. I had got myself 500 ml of mountain dew during dinner, but by the time I got home and got texting, it was almost 10pm and the soda was warm. The room is THAT hot. In fact, every time we get back from a long, hectic, muscle-straining day, we open our rooms and there’s this strong wave of heat that hits you in the face in a welcome. The room has a ceiling, but is not properly ventilated! My soda became really warm.

It was getting late, so I thought quick for a solution because I was thirsty…and then I decided I will take it to the guesthouse bar so that they can refrigerate it for me as I take my shower and then I’d pick it up as soon as I was finished since they were about closing shop. That, I did. As I made my way back to my room tip-toeing bare-footed, I heard the familiar “hello!” somewhere in the dark behind me. Earlier I’d got new neighbours next door, a group of young men and they’d said that “hellooo” stuff again to me but I ignored them. The ladies are familiar with that hello-sound; the bi men say it so irritatingly, so you know what their intentions are and then you don’t have to respond, you just keep walking because mother earth does not, ever revolve around their needs.

That other hello though, I wasn’t quite sure I’d heard it well. So I continued to open my door and then came the voice again, this time, “hi!” I turned around, and sure enough, there he was in the dark. Luka. It was dark as his veranda did not have any light naye I did not have to look so hard to recognise him, as you will know why. But, first, rewind to Monday evening…

Easter Monday is when my team travelled back to Hoima after the Easter break to resume from where we left off before the long holiday. We got there at about 18:20 which was good enough, so we could have a much deserved rest until commencement of work the day next. While we sat there waiting to find rooms, there was this guy hanging outside his room bare-chested but I didn’t care much, until he seemed to have noticed some “new kids on the block”. He went back to get dressed up in a t-shirt and shorts then he came over, stood around, looked around, stepped back a bit to the side when he didn’t seem noticed by anyone, then the thought hit me that maybe he thought he’d finally seen some people he could try and chat up with but we were so engrossed in our own discussion about current affairs.

At one point I looked up in his direction, to find him staring at me with a smirk. That was weird, and alarms immediately went off in my head (the stay-away-from-that-man-as-long-as-he’s-still-here alarms). But after a few minutes, he walked around the small compound, and I thought, well, maybe if I were alone, I’d chat up the poor guy…I guessed he was trying to find new friends…and then he made his way out. His name is Luka, and he is Italian. (But I didn’t know that until later.)

Fast forward to Tuesday evening (yesterday) after work, I’d gone to a shop and on my way back he was seated at a carpenter’s probably enjoying the craft or the nice shade under the craft man’s tree and I thought, oh no…there’s the white guy with the mischievous stare. I was wishing that I’d been a jogger at that point so I could just jog past him while saying “Jambo!” to the kids playing with tyres, but wapi. In fact, as I got closer, he actually stood up probably to stop me for a conversation but I was having no small talk from a stranger with the questionable expressions; I’d seen him chat up some strange ladies at his door, and I was having none of that. I focussed on a child on the other side, but then he still called my attention with “hi!” I responded, exchanged pleasantries and quickly continued on my way. He was still smiling and looking, when I left. More alarms.

Later that night, after dropping my soda in the fridge, there he was in the dark, on his veranda. Luka. And since he’s white, I saw him clearly; he was smiling. Smiling man + darkness + guesthouse = dangerous. No matter where you’re from. So I just wanted to respond to the hello, smile, and then get into my room and shut the door. But it didn’t seem fair because he came forward a little bit, as if to suggest, “phew! Maybe we can talk?” I thought it’d then be rude to go away because he asked the next question so quickly as if he knew I was running.

To be polite, I stepped back out and responded. He knew he’d finally landed my attention, so he sped off into various questions, sounding soft and stuff, all through so I decided I’ll keep his head straight by using a serious yet engaging tone so that he won’t get any creepy ideas in the dark of the night, and then I’d pick up a story from him at the end. As soon as I discovered who he really was, I ended up being an interviewer of sorts. That I’d get as much of his story as I could and come and tell you guys, then get liberated from my blogging silence as well.

My colleague at the end of the block came out her door to find me talking and listening. She must have thought…woah, did she finally land herself “connections” with the white man across the block? Even the manager came around at one point and then went off about her business. No wonder, later when she came over to inquire about something, I opened almost immediately as I was close to my door, and I noticed she looked inside just to see if Luka had somehow managed to get into my room. That perversion. But I can’t blame her. She sees that sort of thing every day all year. I then deliberately pushed wider my door as she spoke, so she could have a better look. Lol.

I was pleased at how well I handled the conversation with Luka and I almost felt sad when he said he was leaving the next day (today, which he did not). I thought I would gather more of his story, it was pretty impressive. We didn’t start off with introductions right away, as he was shooting questions trying to keep me from running. Haha. The many questions were about who I am and what I was doing, which I explained in the simplest detail, as he wasn’t fluent in English. It is at this point that I realised I could get a story out of him instead of freaking out, so I turned myself into an interviewer and off went the questions.

When I asked Luka what he was doing in Hoima, I expected to hear something else… but he said he was travelling. I asked if he was travelling to tour Uganda, but no, he was travelling around the world. Around the world!! Cool! So… anha…? How? Why? Of course I didn’t ask that way, I was trying to be careful not to sound too curious. Luka was travelling around the world ON A BIKE. Yes, bicycoloooo! Cycling from country to country. He said he started off with all through Europe, and now he had been cycling through Africa.

But Luka wasn’t just cycling. In Europe, yes. But in Africa, for every country that he went through, he stayed for a few days and he would single out a primary school in the villages in which he would build a swing for the kids to play. And he was on his way to Madagascar, which trip he said would take him a year to ride on a bicycle. A year to Madagascar from Uganda!

I asked why he took all this trouble, and he said he loved children, and also because growing up, he had every play stuff he needed. And going through these primary schools with a lot of free, empty space and nothing for the kids to play with other than run around the compound, he was moved to build a swing for one school in each country and he called his swing project “Sugarcane Smile”. He took out his iPhone and showed me quite a number of pictures.

Luka was building the swings all by himself all the way up, with no assistance whatsoever, whether physically or in monetary terms. In other words, he’s just a guy using up his savings to build swings in rural African schools. Impressed is an understatement, I was challenged! Not that I would build swings as well, but we can all do something for our little sisters and brothers out there. The swing he makes is simple, made with wood, a little metal somewhere, strong rope and tires for the swing seats. When he gets to the location, he finds the material, transports it himself, and gets to work. Alone. He paints numbers on the swing stands too, so that the children can keep their numbering in check.

I started to wonder that maybe he had planned this whole trip for a loooong time to also accommodate saving, but he said he didn’t have a plan whatsoever; he just started and went off on a trip. I asked what he’d be doing once he finished travelling around the world and he mentioned that he would probably write a book about his globe trot, and make a massive album out of the pictures he is taking. And that’s when I remembered that I have no idea where he comes from.

“Oh, so where do you come from?”
“Me? Italy.”
“Uhh I could tell from the accent… (as if I could. I just thought it was weird, he knew so little English) …and sorry I didn’t get your name the first time.”
“Luka!”
“Luka. It was nice meeting you, Luka.”

He is 30. He thought I was 18. He had a good laugh when I told him how old I was, like he was almost embarrassed but I told him it was okay, as no one ever tries to guess right. And we were saying our goodnights and heading our ways to sleep.

PS: If you ever read this Luka, it is all in good faith! Especially the beginning!

The Versatile Blogger Award…

I have a serious fear for hens

Thank you very much Erawko for the nomination, i am very much honoured! He’s an awesome writer, most probably famous already, but check him out if you don’t know him. As i hope not to break any rules, i should say i was secretly envying the nominees for this whole thing because there was finally something to write about. Not that i entirely had nothing to write about, i did. Tonnes. But because of what you will learn later on here…

And then meanwhile i start panicking. Yo, i am still as if new to this WordPress thing. I don’t know so much of how to use it and do all the fancy stuff people do on their blogs (read adding links. haha. But it took me a few minutes to figure that out, thankfully) . So once that was settled, a sighed a deep one and sipped some water. So here goes.. Eh, wait. The rules first..

The Rules

  1. Thank the person that nominated you and include a link to their blog.
  2. Nominate at least 15 bloggers of your choice.
  3. Link your nominees and let them know about their nomination.
  4. Share seven facts about yourself

Onto the 7 facts…

I could go all day without eating because i forgot to eat (who forgets to eat? I’d love to meet you so we can cry together). Someone joked about it and said i could go 24 hours without food and still do nothing about my stomach. But i mostly forget.

I love to think out loud. I could try my best to speak under my breath while walking on the street, but as soon as i am alone, i can have a serious conversation Myself_II. I prefer my critical thoughts loud and clear so i can have them engraved on the wall of space, then i can always tell Myself_II “i told you so”. Don’t worry, i am not kukus or anything. It’s all under control.

I can’t swim. It has a lot to do with the fact that i have no interest whatsoever in learning how. Maybe also because i can’t wear all my clothes to the pool or lake. Maybe also because i can’t picture myself in “bits” of clothing because I’ve got to swim.

I have a serious fear for hens. Their bodies. the softness is too much for me to handle…so same goes for animals. The hens, it’s not that bad anyway because they can try to fly around and walk past me however they like. But i CAN’T step foot in a poultry house full of the birds, and normally they can see that i am freaking out so they actually gang up on me and i have to run for my life.

I dance yo… HipHop. And soon enough, the Latin sensation will be oozing out of me. Bachata omnes!! Yuhuu!

I rarely write because i am still afraid of people. Guys… It’s not easy.

I am soft bodied and i look like a teenager. Being small, on top of that, doesn’t help things; so 1 in 50 people regard me at first sight, then i always have a field day with the continuing shock-filled faces after a few exchanges. High school kids have no fear hitting on me. Other times, conversations look like this;

Me: “eh, work today was as if how…”

“oh, you got a job in your vacation? Nice!”

“Vacation?”

“you’re… i thought you’re in your junior high vacation (F4)”

“huh?”

“uhmm… senior high vacation? (F6)”

at this point I’m staring blankly

“oh, university?”

“hehe, let us give up” (and i heartily laugh it off because laughing is good and it has kept me “young”)

There goes me in 7. But there’s definitely me in 1000!

All, if not most of the bloggers i follow and have never met (and they are not many), have been nominated and have even blogged already. Thanks for sharing. And i look forward to read what the rest have to say; therefore i will not manage the 15. So i will list here some of the bloggers i know personally (or not) because i am dead curious to know 7 facts about them.

Jessyka

Mychael you have a special gift and i want to know what you sound like when you’re not rhyming,

Benjaah

Vicky

Pollolegendary i dig your writing as well!

Fatha you are tonnes interesting and you should write more.

Same goes for Gerard ! Please write.

Gloria i just had to repeat your nomination (i already saw it somewhere)

Snipet because you are a somewhat new friend. Hihi.

…People, please… i await. Do not make me cry, because i will surely cry.

Anena’s miracle.

At school Anena is basically the misfit. She isn’t necessarily rejected, and there are other small people with a character close to hers but somehow she is a misfit. She can’t even hangout with the other ‘misfits’. It just doesn’t work.
With three other siblings, Anena attends a fancy school that she has no idea how her mother pays for. Well, she’s always known that her dad pitched in, but recently she got a strange feeling that he stopped and mum has not said a word about it. Anena’s father is enstranged. She is not sorry because she doesn’t know why she should be, but let’s hold that thought.

Her school is so fancy that “East or west, home is best,” would cease to have meaning. She’d choose school over home a million times if she had to. She carries a small metallic case to school filled with her clothes and other essentials, because that’s all she ever needs considering her situation; and she’s not complaining because over the years, eating breakfast never made sense anymore and the two other meals are way better than she could ask for in a typical Ugandan boarding school. Every meal time, she’s convinced even more that her children will attend the same school in the future, so help her God.

Her school mates though, bring along three times her belongings because well, fancy school, fancy kids. Maybe that is why it’s hard for her to have actual friends. It’s as if she carries a repelling lebel on her forehead…

Anena has no expectations from her mother except for the school fees. She is lucky to have grace periods, but then she can’t be sent home, because she would never know how to get there. It is a long three hour bus ride so the bursar is sympathetic enough.
It is strange when on the last visitation day, her mother, Ma Rose has come to visit. Instead of the routine bottle of soda and her special English pancakes they always shared as they sat in the dining hall, Ma Rose asks that they sit outside on the grass. No, there’s no mat, soda, or the special pancakes. It’s just a soft wind with a chill mild enough to pass for fresh air, Anena, her mother and a results slip between them. They’re discussing her results and that’s all they will do because Ma Rose says home is okay and she is off in 20 minutes. Only. She hasn’t even left the usual 10k for a soda.

The finals are almost due and the school is buzzing with bookworms, new bookworms and ongoing seminars. She is constantly on the roll call in the mornings to go and make calls at the phone booth to “remind your parents that you will not sit for your finals!” It’s disturbing. Especially when Ma says she is totally out of solutions for now. But an angel is watching from a distance. Mr.Ochola then walks over to the phone booth where Anena stands in near tears; he is her teacher, and the most humble person she’s known her entire life atleast so far…students take advantage of that because then they never have to finish their assignments on time. Or they’d ask him to do them all kinds of favours for “a home-sick spoilt rich kid.” He’s just too nice for his own good.

When Mr.Ochola gets to Anena, he asks what the problem could be; she starts to wonder why anyone, a teacher, would care at this time considering the situation. It’s the finals. It’s not like if she tells him her problems, he can make them go away…like he can convince the administration, with no particular reason, to let her do her exams. She’s the ordinary student. Not in the books for anything good, or even bad. Unless he were the principal’s relative.
She tells him everything anyway, but she’s basically broken, she can’t contain it. She had dealt with all four years with the cliff-edgy grace periods, but not this time. Atleast not for her finals. It is the last straw and maybe the teacher sees that. They then have a small conversation, and he asks her a few questions then that’s it.

All she knows the next day is that she’s cleared, all of it. And God knows it was a huge debt. For all she knows, her teacher must have emptied his bank account but he doesn’t want to hear it. Infact, he wanted to remain anonymous  if it were possible. But we know for sure that a miracle has happened, from the least possible options. That was God.

Kasese.

This is a totally new experience for me again, well.. not totally new, but somewhat. I am doing some field trips for work and lucky enough for now, I have a big amount of spare time between trips to be a tourist in my country. It is not everyday that you can go east, west, north, south without any worries (read logistics) so I berrah maximize. And I know about the “go and see then come and tell” but I might forget so much; then I remembered this baby of mine, Karen’s. So like the title says, I am in Kasese.

This place is beautiful as I have already told Ninno countless times in one day…do not worry about who Ninno is, but he knows this place a million times better than I do, and maybe again not so much. I will find out. It’s just that it is funny how the people living around tourist attractions have no idea what there is. That is why I always quietly applaud my friend Gerard in Arua for always going on adventures in his own district because it is fascinating. Not many people have time, or the zeal for that matter. Infact he is the reason I am dying to go to Arua some day.

There’s something about mountains I can’t get over. Maybe because I am not living next to them everyday, but still…they’re beautiful. How they overlap each other, like one of them is peeking from behind the other’s back. How they stand in rows of pretty little sharp piles of earth. In my colleague’s words, “it is like someone got earth and was pouring it there in piles” it’s awesome.

I can only imagine the view from atop those hills.. Of the Rwenzori, lakes George and Edward, the Kazinga channel, queen Elizabeth, all in one glance. How wealthy can that opportunity be? A lot of you have probably seen all that, and maybe it is not a big deal anymore. But you have no idea the scores of people that could do so much to be in that moment… It not even a place anymore. It is a moment. A moment of beauty and silence, a moment of fresh air, more rocks and green, less pot-holed tarmac and posters of political candidates in full billboard-like pictures with their coats hooked on their fingers over their shoulders like they’re advertising suits. (I thought that was cool. Hehe).

How do I tell about Kasese and forget our way there? We drove past Fort Portal. See, some of these towns need to be transformed into cities… So the whole country can stop moving into Kampala and maybe we shall have an even distribution of population across the country. Infact, it is now that I can’t believe how congested the city is. You can hardly breath sometimes, because all you will get are exhaust fumes, traffic noise, and dust. You brush against people when you walk, and there’s a sea of matatus that create most of the havock.

Fort Portal left me awed. I kept staring. It is probably one, if not the cleanest towns in Uganda. I looked around for rubbish, but wah. I am told the mayor also takes part in cleaning first thing in the mornings. Eh mama. And there’s space enough to swing your arms when you walk, the buildings are in order and the homes too! You could think the lawns are cut with a pair of scissors; really neat beautiful grass, you would want to touch it. No sound of unnecessary noise. I saw a market and I could swear that if I walked through, no idling men would be grabbing and pulling my arms and hurling s**pid things.
I have yet to see some elephants on my way out tomorrow. And I know I have not yet seen breathtaking if I haven’t been to Kisoro and Kabale.

I am still telling. Just wait here.