P.3A Musings – First Day of School

Back in the day, 1996 to be exact, I transitioned from a day primary school to a boarding primary school. It was all sorts of exciting my first day. It was Wednesday and I checked into P.3A at around 3:00pm that afternoon. Ms Nabwire my class teacher welcomed me with open arms. I look different from most of my classmates. My eyes had life yet theirs looked like the lunch they had just an hour ago was there no more.

Boarding school had been a big dream of mine. I had spent the whole of my first term of P.3 in Kitante Primary school convincing my parents that boarding school would be the best thing that happened to me. I doubt they actually knew the reasons why I wanted to go to boarding school so bad. I’d spent the holiday with my friend James, and from how he described boarding school, it sounded a lot like Jesus’ second coming – paradise.

James had told me that he was given pocket money and was allowed to carry grab, and he had proof to show. He had returned home that holiday with 800/- shillings of the 1,000/- shillings he was given at the beginning of the term. While standing at the neighbourhood canteen with James narrating what boarding school was like, while buying ball gum for 50/- shillings, I knew I had to join too. He then told me how he still had some of the g.nuts, small daddies, biscuits and quencher left over from the previous term at home. I was even more sold. Boarding school was a must. He also told me that there was a visiting day where parents brought all sorts of food when they came to see you and you could eat all you want. What? This was the nail, the hammer at that point was useless.

And here I was now, looking at a bunch of starved kids, looking back at me like their next prey. It was then that I realized that I had made a very very huge mistake. To top all that, my parents left for home without leaving me any pocket money. Nor did they leave me with g.nuts, small daddies, biscuits or even quencher. Remembering, James had told me that they carried lear, or was it layer, maybe leah? Oh well, there was no leah in this school. Layer was clothes you carried from home that was not uniform and was worn when you were done with the main school stuff. Well, St. Savio had a bunch of red clothes I had to put on when all the school stuff was done.

Was the dream James sold me different from what my reality was? Where was James? I thought there was only one boarding primary school? Did he go to a different one? At that moment, standing in front of Ms Nabwire, I was not going to school, I was walking into jail. It was then that I realized I had made the biggest mistake of my life, thinking like an adult. Was this really boarding school?

29

I have had a lot to write about recently but where my mind has been, even I could not dig it out. But today, I must write because today begins a transition, significantly more important, or less, because I was born 29 years ago (some still say I am 24! Thanks Kylie). As I begin this rather exciting journey, I honestly look back at some significant things that have happened in my life. Also, I feel old albeit still feeling young. Life is but a paradox! 

1. I’d like to thank my parents. Honestly, I sometimes think they look at me and wonder, is this what we made? I don’t think I have disappointed them yet, or have I? Nonetheless, I am here because of them and now that I am old, and know how babies are made, eeeewwwww mum and dad.

2. Being a first born is dope. Till you get competition, and some more, and then you just stop being relevant when the fifth comes along. Yes, I am talking about my siblings who took my limelight year after year. Those idiots surprisingly are good company till they take some of the love that was originally yours.

3. I was born on Easter Sunday these many years ago. And 3 is my fave number. Sometimes I feel like Jesus, because of my birthday. Well, my point is that 3 is my fave number.

4. I once escaped from home – Makerere, when I was 4 to go for my cousin’s birthday in Kamwokya. My mum claims, I am not to sure or even remember doing this but hey, my big head got beaten because of that. 

5. My neigbour once gave me a toy car for my birthday and after we cut the cake, this dude took back his toy car. Apparently the father hadn’t given him permission to. I know, it’s been this long but hey, I can forgive but not forget. Got circumcised too! Lol.

6. I had my first crush.

7. I once got drunk and passed out in a banana plantation at a baptism party somewhere in Nabbingo. The coke tasted different. My uncle gave me some of his punch and I was KOed before I knew it. Luckily, I woke up in time for the cake cutting. I love cake too.

8. I joined boarding school.

9. Mehn, I was still in boarding school and it sucked but hey, I had made the decision all because my cousin was given pocket money.

10. I was in a heist. Bun robbers to be precise. Our buns has been locked up by the class teacher because we were noise makers. So, I decided to take the initiative and break into the cupboard. That’s how I met my best friend, then. 

11. Boarding school had refused to end, but I was just a year away from P.7, I had to hung in there. The system had broken me. And then my class teacher comes to tell us that we shall never stop learning. This hurt, seeing as I was tired of school. Little did I know that I would understand this when I was finally done with school.

12. Finally! Done with boarding school, candidate of the millennium. And then my arch rival was born. The last of five, first of they took all the love from us! My baby brother. 

13. I thought I grew up a little here. Oh the famed secondary school level! And my passion for writing was thus ignited. I started to write in a journal. I should look up some of these journals and see where my mind was!

14. Secondary school was easy. And my innate passion for Architecture was triggered. I was rather fascinated by buildings.

15. I read my first Novel. Not sure what the title was, but it was a Sydney Sheldon book. Thought him to be a lady seeing as most of his protagonists were ladies.

16. Of crushes and love letters. Hello, CLAK! I also learnt to drive. I once stole my father’s car just to drive around the nieghbourhood before I was caught and told to write an apology letter and within it reasons as to why I stole the car! Aha!

17. Almost there. I can finally see the light. Almost done with tertiary education. Honestly, my high school was not as impressive as some people say theirs were! I was a laid back chilled guy trying to live another day. 

18. Uhm. Grown up woot woot. Honestly, it was the first time I realized that I was grown up and I could get jailed. I also went to cooking school because I had the driving thing locked down 😎! 

19. Hello campus and all the bad decisions! Very frightening bad decisions. First successful surgery! First relationship. I remember telling her we were going to get married! 

20. First break up! Who knew relationships were not as rosy as what I watched in the Notebook! 

21. Maybe Architecture is not as easy as I thought it was. 

22. Who am I and why am I here! The famed introspective question hits me. What is life? And the sickness kicks in! Depression also kicks in. There was a lot of anger in me that never seemed to have an outlet! 

23. Hummmm? Life happened. 

24. Isn’t love a beautiful thing. MMMKR!

25. The typical midlife crisis! For Ugandans that is. Isn’t adulting a trap. Got my first job as a client service personnel in an advertising firm. I was tired of Architecture and need a mental break. 

26. Maybe Architecture is not that bad at all. I also started and owned a restaurant, and also failed. 2014 was a year of many things. I also registered my first company!

27. I honestly felt I had been through a lot. Three jobs in three years and a failed restaurant, and a project that took me deep deep into the village was also the reason I needed to officially start my own company.

28. Last year was amazing. C.E.O things aside, I just realized that time is something we barely grasp, and I needed to get myself in order. I also met some really amazing people. I won’t mention them, but they know themselves. They have made my rather mundane life a little thrilling. They’ve got my back even I fall off the chair. They’ve propped me and reminded me that I am special. But what can I say, Lulu and Lula have really been awesome. Eve, Mark, and Justin. Robert and Marvin are the other musketeers. There’s one who went but she won’t be forgotten, Julie – we got your back! 

29. I don’t think I’ve said much, but I am just grateful for the gift of life, for the gift of family, for the gift of friends, for the gift of tomorrow, for the gift of work. The older I grow, the more I realize that the things I held most significant might not matter tomorrow but as long as I stay true to myself, and believe in doing the right thing, and giving my most, I shall be happy. As I start this new year, I don’t believe there can be a new me, but rather a refined me, from the lessons I have learnt these past few years. Like my maths teacher said when I was 10 or 11, we never stop learning. And he should have added something, we never stop growing. Spread love, peace and a little laughter here and there.

Happy birthday Conrad.

Wine-r

How do ladies take wine? Frequently at that!?

How?

This has been on my mind for the last two weeks. What magic is embued in your bodies?

About two weeks ago, at a family shindig, there happened to be enough wine to compete with Jesus’ miracle in Canaa. Wine was flowing like the river Nile, and we were swimming in the river. It happened to be a family reunion that was a few months over due. Anyway, I decided to take wine seeing as there was no beer.

And I took that wine. I probably put Conrad in Namaqua, Conradaqua…

Whilst the government was celebrating and commemorating its conquering of the old regime, I was drowning myself in wine. Tumbler after tumbler. And the beauty about wine is it takes its gentle time to massage your ego before throwing you off the cliff. The evening was indeed amazing I even packed some for the road. 

I headed home, buzzed but not wasted. On my way, I got another box of wine before calling it an almost night at a friend’s place. We played with the box of wine like young children who had just discovered its exciting contents. Come midnight, I headed home still feeling fresh. The wine was still massaging my ego.

I get home, sleep off, buzzed but very ok. And it was at this time that the wine started to slowly push me towards the cliff. I awoke the next morning, feeling relatively ok. I did have breakfast as well. Seeing as it was a Friday, and I employ myself, I could afford to be late for work. I think having breakfast was the cue for the wine just pushed me off the cliff, and down I went. All my muscles ached, I got food poisoning, I could barely walk. I just crawled back to bed and napped. My body felt like a masseuse was hacking me, using a hammer to hit my joints. The fetal position couldn’t even do the trick. 

Ah, wine. Bloody wine!

My Friday was spent thinking about how I am never doing wine again. What horseless shit did I drink!? How do ladies do it? What black magic do you have to use before taking wine? I finally recovered at 2:00am that Saturday morning, and it was pretty late to go for work then.

Let’s just say I am not about that wine life. I am not a winer!

World AIDS Day – PBL

When Philly Bongole Lutaya sang Alone about his plight after getting HIV, the lines that kept on playing in my head were ‘today it’s me, tomorrow it’s someone else, it’s me and you we got to stand up and fight…’ and these have set a precedent that has guided my life in one way or another.

AIDS -HIV in Africa, Uganda in particular has affected every family in one way or another. We have relatives, close family friends who have caught the virus and we have seen what it does to them and us. For a very long time I have hated to celebrate this day let alone consider it as important because every day, a child is orphaned by this crippling disease.

The thing about HIV for me is that it is greatly transmitted through man’s greatest canal desire, sex. I once remember an old doctor who came to our school, he was in charge of the ‘AIDS’ ward at Mulago and he was frustrated at how the disease cut across the age demographic. Old or young, anyone was susceptible and could easily get it. Seeing as we were in our final year of High School, he warned us and pleaded with us to be as careful as possible.

HIV in this day and age is now less evident physically with ARVs playing a big role. You can no longer tell the black spots and the thin bodied man who we thought had AIDS to the fat chubby good looking lad.

Do you know what you status is? And we are not talking about Museveni’s fabled Middle Income Status? I know mine and eventually I will go check again. The first time I did – Doctor’s recommendations, was when I was jobless and highly stressed. I had a fever, general body weakness and no signs of malaria or flu. When I did the full blood work, the lymphocyte count was slightly elevated than the usual and I was advised to check for HIV and Hepatitis.

WHAT? Check for HIV? How? I started reviewing my sexual history which was evidently not cause for concern, neither did I do drugs or had been in contact with anything suspicious. None the less, I did go and get tested and waited on the results.

When the doctor walked into, nervous and all, shaking and praying, I asked what the results were. He then proceeded to counsel me before eventually telling me what the results were.

We live in a generation that would rather be HIV positive than pregnant and that scares me. We live in a generation that is now hyper sexual, evident in the language and ease with which it is to have sex. A generation that has forgotten the countless parents, uncles and aunties, brothers and sisters, friends and extended family who have been affected by AIDS.

I spent most of my vacation nursing an uncle to health. I remember at one point thinking, will he make it? The pain and the struggle. I’ve lost countless relatives and I’ve lost a close friend to the virus. So yes, as we celebrate World AIDS Day, let’s not forget what it does to families. Let’s not forget how it would affect you. How it affects me!

Also, let’s not stigmatize victims of the virus. Let’s not hate them for having it because we are afraid they will give it to us. I love my uncle and I’d hate to see anyone’s hatred for him. To understand stigma better – especially for those who seem to be aloof about it, would you hate your father, mother, brother, sister, daughter, or son if they had the virus? No! So why hate someone else?

But, on this auspicious day, I write this to celebrate the man, the legend and great musician, Philly Bongole Lutaaya. I wish the country would feel the same way I do. I mean, it’s December, and if I am not mistaken, all our early childhood Christmases had him crooning all over our radios. He made my childhood, his music made my childhood memories, memorable. I wish we had a memoriam of this great man in our museum, or at the National theatre, a street named after him perhaps or even a monument somewhere! We need to celebrate this man.

Long Live Philly Bongole Lutaaya!

Stay safe. Protect yourself. Abstain. Get checked.

And if you have it, don’t despair, get counseling, surround yourself with a support system. And keep healthy.

Interstellar

When two geniuses combine, you get something of the likes of Interstellar. Yes, I am talking about the movie. I am a big Christopher Nolan and Hans Zimmer buff and when the two combine, it’s beyond magic. I always like to look for the inspiration behind a movie, and how it came to be. It’s not just the pictures and the sound, but the story behind the making, the story behind it.

So, as I was googling and going on about the inspiration – Jonathan, Christopher’s younger brother thought about this idea of space exploration based on a scientist’s musings and decided to share this idea with Chris. The way they work is they both go and brainstorm on the idea and its complexities before writing a script. The same was done for Inception and the Batman Trilogy as well. Jonathan does confess however that Chris’ thought process is a lot deeper and scarier – if you’ve watched The Prestige, you should know. Anyway, Interstellar was born from the genius of these two brothers.

But that’s not all.

For Interstellar, Chris approached Hans Zimmer with a basic idea and told him to come up with a soundtrack for Interstellar without any preconceived notions of what the movie is about. In fact, he just hinted that the movie is about the relationship between a father and a son…which if you’ve watched is about a father and a daughter. None the less, Hans sits down and comes up with these amazing compositions.

Honestly, watching the movie and listening to the soundtrack, it does feel like you are experiencing something other worldly. It’s genius. I hesitated to watch the movie when it was released mostly because of the new cast. If you know Chris, the cast rarely changes and the actors pretty much are the same movie in, movie out. And when I finally sat down for close to three hours, my mind was blown.

I was dumb founded at how someone could put to screen such an idea. Let’s not even go into the physics of the movie, the time aspect and relationships between the time space continuum.

Anyway, just check out this link

Mind. Blown.

Darkness; The Night

I once was afraid of the night
With it came crawling monsters
Monsters my mind made up
And up my mind they crawled
Tickling me with fear
Until I shut my eyes wishing them away

I once was afraid of the night
With it came nothingness
Nothingness that twirled my mind
And it twirled me with nothingness
Twisting me with fear
Until I shut my eyes wishing my mind blank

I am afraid of the night
With it comes the abyss
An abyss that stifles my mind
And it stifles me within an abyss
An emptiness unfulfilled
Until I shut my eyes wishing my mind alight
*

I stood by the gate that night, puffing away at the cigarette wondering how I had come to this. I thought I had quit the habit! Why was I puffing well knowing I’d be coughing the rest of the morning away? I stared at the clear deep blue sky, stars shining, musing, whose brightness I was just seeing. Stars that had faded light years away, no longer existing but whose light I was just only seeing. In me invoked a sadness, a sadness that arose from how incapable I was, how minute we were. And I continued to stare into the abyss of the deep blue sky counting the stars, the physics behind the light, the metaphysics of human life and I puffed again, well knowing I was just as insignificant but believing mine was a role I had to play in this destiny we call life.