Naive Ugandan

Random thoughts.

Happy Birthday

Hello there,

Wow it has been 17 years now but still feels like it happened yesterday, I remember that day clearly in my mind (being picked from class in the middle of a session) …

I have a lot to tell you but I am not even sure where to start from…you are a grandmother to 3 beautiful little girls (naughty and amazing) and one of them is named after you, we actually call her Mummy ‘unfortunately’ she looks like me instead not you..she has your beautiful hair though (I guess I got that from you). I sometimes wonder what kind of grandmother you would have been.. The day I gave birth, I wished that you were here with me to hold my hands, rub my back and tell me that it is going to be alright.. I cried so much because I missed you more than I had ever done before. A mother always knows what to say and when to do it.

We have grown and so much has changed now, things would probably have been different if you were still around.. Grandpa did his best though, he just picked up from were you had ended. I am sure you were so proud of him. He tried to give us his best but above all he gave us his love. I could write a book telling you about each one of us but we have tried to live up to what you taught us . We miss you so much but …. Just wanted to say Happy Birthday Mummy.

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Coping with Grief

When you lose 4 people in less than 6 months, you would think that at some point you get used to the ‘Pain’ but no no no, it actually gets worse. All the pain comes back and you stumble again, it starts to hurt all over again.

2016 has not been a friendly year to my family. We had to bury our gramp (he was our everything), another gramp then one of my favorite uncles  and I lost a friend (May their souls Rest In Peace). We miss them so so much. I know none of the family members wants to talk about it but deep down we are all still grieving in our own ways.

I have learnt a few things from this experience which I want to share with someone who might be in the same boat;

  1. Cry if you feel like doing it. Go ahead and wail if it makes you feel better ( Nothing will change but you will feel better after).
  2. Everybody will tell you to be strong. It is easier said than done but at some point your are the source of strength for the others so try to be calm.
  3. Always look out for each other. As a family we have tried to be there for each other as much as we can. (I have the craziest family, they crack jokes even at the saddest moments but that is who we are).
  4. Some people will avoid you not because they do not care but they just do not know how to deal with a grieving person.
  5. Friends will try and reach out to you, do not turn them away ( Some of them are going through the same or even worse)
  6. Find an activity that can keep you busy ( I thank God for work and books, my sanity is easily restored)
  7. Take your time while grieving (One of my friends told me that it took him 3 years mourning for his mother)
  8. Take a road trip if you can afford it, gives you time to reflect.
  9. Always be positive. I know sometimes all seems gone and finished but what happens to the ones left behind?
  10. Try and talk about it (I do not like doing this but have been told it is therapy).
  11. Always keep their memories alive (I still laugh at my  uncle saying that he thought i was pregnant because I had gained lots of weight).
  12. Always remember to spend time with those you love.
  13. At some point, you have to adjust accordingly and learn to live.
  14. It never gets easier, you just learn to live with it.
  15. Try and reach out to others who are grieving.
  16. Live for the moment.
  17. You cannot be strong all the time.
  18. The most important part is pray,pray ,pray ,pray and have more prayers

Letter

Dear Lulu,
Happy Mother’s Day, I don’t really understand or know the emotions a mother goes through when they become mothers. The discussion one takes to mother a child must be the one God took when he made a man. He created the universe and he called it beautiful. I think that’s the kind of emotion a mother goes through when she mothers a child, she becomes beautiful and in her eyes beauty takes root.
To be a mother is to create a home and to cook awesome food. (I believe mothers are great cooks, mukama) but it’s more than that, to be a mother is know the secret beauties that lie in life at its center.
You are a very beautiful mother and a very wonderful woman. The way you treasure your child only reminds me of a woman who mothered me. Not in a bad way at all, but she taught me what life is all about, and she taught me to always look at life with a smile in my eyes. To have a soft touch to the heavens and always treasure my God.
This is my first letter to any mother, you are special dear. Always remember that. If not, always know you are princess in one’s heart. When one becomes a mother, they get to write poetry. For poetry is a word breathe in with life. You write the steps of a child and then you shape their future.
You don’t write their stories, but rather you give them imagery and metaphors, you craft their languages and their ways in life. You are indeed a poet.
Thanks for coming in my life dear beautiful mother. Happy Mother’s DAY

P.S This Letter came from a friend of mine…

So Long a Letter – Mariama Ba

So Long a Letter is a book written about a widow (Ramatoulaye) and her struggles in raising 12 children after the husband abandoned her for a younger girl (who is same age with his first born). In Islam, a man is allowed to have 4 wives if he can look after all of them.

It is a Letter written to her friend Aissatou who decided to walk away from  marriage when faced with the same situation. She writes about her trials and tribulations, the strength to carry on even when all is not well.After the death of her husband, the brother – in – law who has been ‘eyeing her’ wants to take over. Culture dictates she should be his wife since she is married to the ‘clan’ and not an individual. She is in agony as she mourns the death of her husband who when he lived, humiliated and abandoned her.

The book covers Women’s rights, Education, cross-generational sex, religion and culture.

“And also, one is a mother in order to understand the inexplicable. One is a mother to lighten the darkness. One is a mother to shield when lightning streaks the night, when thunder shakes the earth, when mud bogs one down. One is a mother in order to love without beginning or end. ”

Books

After reading Kintu by Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi in 2014, I promised to do more reading of books written by African Authors or books about Africa. However, it is not easy getting those books in the Ugandan book stores. Apart from the classics or books used for Literature classes, you would have to get it from the neighboring Kenya. I was lucky that one of my favorite people was in South Africa and he brought for me 4 books.

So far the collection that I have managed to read in 2015 include;

  1. Men of the South – Zukiswa Wanner.
  2. A Poisonous Thorn In Our Hearts : Sudan and South Sudan’s Incomplete Bitter Divorce – James Copnall
  3. True Citizen – Oduor Jagero
  4. On Black Sister’s Street : A Novel – Chika Unigwe
  5. The Famished Road – Ben Okri
  6. Songs of Enchantment – Ben okri
  7. Kizza Besigye and Uganda’s Unfinished Revolution – Daniel Kalinaki
  8. God’s Bits of Wood – Ousmane Sembene
  9. The River Between – Ngugi wa Thiongo
  10. Africa’s Odious Debts: How Foreign and Capital Flight Bled a Continent – Leonce Ndikumana
  11. Maid in SA:30 Ways to Leave Your Madam – Zukiswa Wanner
  12. The Concubine – Elechi Amadi
  13. Blossoms of the Savannah – Olet Kulet
  14. Night Dancer – Chika Unigwe
  15. The Warring Princess: Portrait of a Triumphant Woman – Josephine Namukisa
  16. In the Footsteps of Mr.Kurtz : Living on the Brink of Disaster in Mobutu’s Congo – Michela Wrong
  17. No Future Without Forgiveness – Desmond Tutu
  18. I write What I like : Selected Writings – Steve Biko
  19. Nothing Left to Steal – Mzilikazi Wa Afrika
  20. Askari – Jacob Dlamini
  21. Ugandan Society Observed – Kevin O’Connor
  22. A Long Way Gone : Memoirs of a Boy Solider – Ishmael  Beah
  23. Things Fall Apart – Chinua Achebe
  24. Crossroads: Women Coming of Age in Today’s Uganda – Christopher Conte
  25. Recipe for Disaster – Lilian Tindyebwa
  26. Diaries of a Dead African – Chuma Nwokolo Jnr
  27. Through My African Eyes – Jeff Koinange
  28. So Long a Letter – Mariama Ba
  29. African Violet and Other Stories
  30. We Should All be Feminists – Chimamanda Ngozi

I am still reading The Memory of Love by Aminata Forna, I hope to be done by the end of November 2015.

 

 

The Dash by Linda Ellis

I read of a man who stood to speak
At the funeral of a friend.
He referred to the dates on the tombstone
From the beginning to the end.

He noted that first came the date of her birth
and spoke the following date with tears,
but he said what mattered most of all
was the dash between those years.

For that dash represents all the time
that they spent alive on earth.
And now only those who loved them
know what that little line is worth.

For it matters not, how much we own,
the cars,the house,the cash.
What matters is how we live and love
and how we spend our dash.

So, think about this long and hard.
Are there things you’d like to change?
For you never know how much time is left
that can still be rearranged.

If we could just slow down enough
to consider what’s true and real
and always try to understand
​the way other people feel.

And be less quick to anger
and show appreciation more
and love the people in our lives
like we’ve never loved before.

If we treat each other with respect
and more often wear a smile,
remembering that this special dash
might only last a little while.

​So, when your eulogy is being read,
with your life’s actions to rehash…
would you be proud of the things they say
about how you spent YOUR dash?

2 weeks

The month is ending and I am back here for my ‘accountability’ , Just in case you are wondering I actually failed to find a partner so I am accountable to my self.

Have not worked out in 2 whole weeks..I guess you are wondering why (not like you care)…I have been on the road and by the time the day ends, I get to bed so exhausted and all I want is to grab my book read a chapter and sleep (I wish I would be grabbing the rope to skip instead but that needs lots of energy).

Measured my weight at the beginning of the month, have not checked again. I have might not have lost any weight but I feel lighter and more flexible. I used my measuring tape today and I am two inches smaller, that can only mean one thing I am doing the right thing ‘pats back’

I still get that small voice full of excuses but I try not to listen though it is kind of hard, I tried to cut down the excuses but not completely, there are times I feel like giving up then I remember that I am doing this for me.

Fitness

I can not remember how many times I have told my self that it is time to get fit and lose some bit of weight. I am not exactly obese but I am a little over weight (I think the word is fat). I can walk for about 10kms if I want to but I have got all the ‘grandmother’ of excuses not to do that.

I have paid for gym more than 5 times only to show up thrice and the money goes to waste. The last time I paid UGX 75,000/= for aerobics classes which I ended up attending a few times but stopped. The last attempt at work out has been skipping in the morning, all was well for two weeks then… (In my defense, I do not remember what happened but the the time I stopped I could make 1000 skips). I have come up with the number of excuses that I have always given myself for failing to workout, I am sure you have yours but mine are here:
1. Work, I have an 8a.m- 5p.m kind of job, sometimes I work till late depending on the workload for the week.So I use that I am tired line all the time.

2. Traffic jam, My work place is in the middle of the city and takes me almost 2 hours to get home on a ‘normal day’ but when it rains , make that 4 hours.

3.Procrastination, I read from somewhere that Procrastination is a thief of time. I will do it tomorrow attitude seems to be one of favorites.

4. The Little one, I am a mother and for some reason the little one is always awake from 5.a.m and that is the best time for me..Chuckles

5. I need a work out partner for ‘accountability’.

6. My weight is just fine , I tell myself this everyday but my BMI says otherwise.

7. Have no time..Sigh

8. My body aches….

So yesterday I ‘signed up’ again, started with cardio exercises and a 2km walk. I hope to do it at least thrice a week, this time around no excuses. I know I can do it and I will get there all I need to drop is just 5Kgs (Not so many, I think) and be able to make a few back flips.

This has been my inspirational quote for the week;

It’s never too late to start over. If you weren’t happy with yesterday, try something different today. Don’t stay stuck. Do better.- Alex Elle.

‘The World is Wept ‘

The World is Wept.

Blood and pain seep into our listening: our wounded souls.

The Sound of your sobbing is my own weeping;

Your wet handkerchief my pillow for a past so exhausted that it cannot rest – not yet.

Speak, weep, look, listen for all of us.

Oh people of the silent hidden past.

Let your stories scatter seeds into our Lonely frightened winds.

Sow more, until the stillness of this land can soften, can dare to hope, smile and sing:

Until the ghosts can dance unshackled, until our lives can know your sorrows

And be healed.

Extract taken from No Future Without Forgiveness by Desmond Tutu.

Reading

I am a member of http://www.goodreads.com and every year there is a reading challenge. Last year I had challenged my self to read 50 books but I only made it to 30 partly because I became lazy along the way and other ‘commitments’. 2015 I joined the challenge again and so far I have read only 23 books. I am currently reading 3 books at ago (not strange) but different genre.

Often times people ask me when do I get time to read. I simply tell them there is plenty of time to read books as longs as you are interested. I read before my bedtime, at a restaurant/coffee shop and when I wake up in the mornings especially over the weekends.

It is a habit that I slowly taught my self after endless hours of waiting for people especially during appointments. Sometimes I find my self seated at an office or hospital lounge and instead of staring I just open my book.

I read to relieve stress. I have just finished reading ‘Night Dancer’ by Chika Unigwe , I can not even remember how many times I giggled, smiled or even smirked when I was reading this book.

There are so many reasons or even benefits of reading but I will not go into those right now but you can check out http://whytoread.com/why-to-read-10-reasons-why-reading-books-will-save-your-life/ and http://www.lifehack.org/articles/lifestyle/10-benefits-reading-why-you-should-read-everyday.html.

I try and read a chapter everyday and it keeps me going. Keeping a reading culture is not easy. Sometimes you get back home so exhausted and all you want to do is sleep but nonetheless just find my self opening a book.

I just wish I could ‘work out’ as much as I enjoy flipping pages.

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