Fare-thee-well

 

 

 

 

At the height of a trying stage in my sometimes flawless existence came an offer to be part of something big, something that would give me an opportunity to rub shoulders with a couple of individuals I admired.

Continue reading Fare-thee-well

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Apwoyo Matek

On countless times I’ve been told that my purpose to write or produce any work should never be so that people will view it.

To put it into perspective, when blogging I should never mind about who is going to read what I create, unfortunately am yet to understand the rationale behind this line of thought.

In 2010 when I opened up my first blog I spent 6 torturous months penning up these beautiful-naïve thoughts and uploading them to my blog for readers who didn’t seem to exist, It was pretty tough on me considering that am motivated by an audience but if there’s anything that I learnt from the experience then it was to appreciate my reader.

Today therefore on the 10th day of the year I would like to appreciate 10 people who follow my blog even though my pieces are as rare and inconsistent as their author.

 To Bhavki, SimpleUla, Multitudeofmythoughts, Jay Colby, Ujala, A.M Saunders, Christian Mihai, AdashOfJhaee, Deniz Yalim, risenfaithministries and 23 others who follow my blog I say , Apwoyo matek(thank you very much).

I hope to be more consistent this year and pray that you will read my upcoming short stories.

2017; an Award, Gigs, Bad Decisions.

 

 

In retrospect to previous years that have lacked the commendable balance between great and terrible I have to admit that 2017 was a pretty good year for me.

It was a year littered with blessings and personal achievements which did shed light on my capabilities as a young aspiring professional. For all it’s worth I won my first adult writing award writing under a pseudonym of a client, travelled to 3 countries in the name of gigs, created a hashtag that trended nationally (With lots of help), got 3 job offers in a single day which I gracefully turned down with no apparent reason and on a more powerful note I got to meet and learn a thing or two from Allan Kasujja with all his (6,10) height in 15mins.

On the weak side I failed to graduate according to schedule, had a messy personal relationships with friends and family because I ended up being too busy, didn’t write the 100 articles I promised myself at the beginning of the year, failed to deliver on the short stories I had been requested to send so that my anthology would be published at no cost, at the same time I got depressed and fell in the sink hole o shifting blame.

Well its 2018 and I’ve had hours to think enough and even though I still feel the same as I felt last year, am thinking different about myself, a few changes here and there, and I hope to achieve even better.

2017 gave me a job which was really huge for me but this year I curb the ambition and take it slow, set my priorities right and most of all put friends, family and me before everything else.

When all is said and done, I’m still the same skinny lad, only more hairy with an overgrown moustache, 5 more kgs to my weight and a few people to make proud.

Happiness and Leisure

Today I was up earlier than usual, a memory kept on lingering from a conversation I’d had a couple of months ago with a very close friend.

Patrick and I while engaged in our routine unscripted evening strolls that took us around the outskirts of Gulu Town, found ourselves locked in conversation about the quality of life in rural areas, we discussed lazily the idea of a perfect leisure that would force a smile on to the faces of a person.

What did it even mean to have a good leisure time?

I don’t recall the exact origin of the subject but one think stuck out, and it was a question that baffled us at the time.

How did people in rural areas who lacked  infrastructure and the most  basic of needs have a good time ?

People who had no electricity, like we were privileged to have in Gulu, people who had no beaches like Patrick and I had in Entebbe where we also live,  people who have probably never heard of 3D cinema which we were at liberty to enjoy in Entebbe at Victoria Mall,  people who couldn’t watch a Premier League game on the Weekend to be witness to Ander Herrera’s like we often enjoyed, people whose places were not safe that they had to go to bed early while Patrick and I enjoyed our evening walks in town.

Today as I lay in bed waiting for rooster to crow, I kept on thinking that maybe life was what you made it.

Whenever I travel to my village somewhere in the dry lands of Pader am without electricity, great romantic roads to have a stroll on or even a beach, my phone is rendered useless because we have no network connection so am not only offline but its like am cut off from the world.

But am always happy.

I get to bond with my family, catch mudfish, milk cows like a true novice, and get laughed at, play volleyball at the local primary school founded by my late grandfather, watch my peers dance the Larakaraka that I can only tell stories about,  laugh had at the stories told by my clan mate Austian Ogwang who allegedly fought in Burma and Germany where they were taught furock pronounced (frog) jump.

And I know its much but as I write am thinking, isn’t it more than most people are lucky to ever get!!

 

Not as Popular As You Think You are

via Daily Prompt: Lifestyle

For a person who has nothing to lose, am pretty proud, credit to the fact that somewhere in my head when i close my eyes i see a popular person, the world knows me.

But like I emphasized with the bold handwriting, its only in my headoutside my head to the world and to the air i collect for the sake of breathing, I like to present the notion of humility because something again inside my head yells at me when i let my inward popularity out of the confines of my head.

And like the opinionated freak am that expects everyone to act in a certain way, you can’t imagine how disgusted i get when a person tries to blow their popularity into my face.

So two weeks ago i attend an event under the camouflage of photography and am having a good field day, a couple of great shots and cheerful smiles from the girls in the tent, i notice a smart guy at the extreme end of the tent and head to him for a shot.

The shot is a good one and since am confident of my work, when he asks to have a look am all for showing him a piece of my brilliance which I can see from the smile on his face is not just a subjective product of again my head.

In the briefest of terms he likes my photo or depending on how you decided to look at it, his photo and want to have it.

Since am busy at the time and can’t afford to extract it at the time, I ask for his email, but according to him he doesn’t just give out his email to just anyone.

Surprise!!

Maybe, but i understand- its fine by me but to be honest i when i think about it today, i don’t have a clue of what i understood.

But all the same am in a good mood so i ask for an alternative option and then instead of surprising me again, he just gets on my nerves.

“Are you on facebook?”

I reply in the affirmative and then he suggests that i post the photo and tag him which am not going to do even if its his dying wish because the photos first need to be sent to the client whose the reason me and my colleagues are attending the event in the first place.

But for my goodwill i decide to take his Facebook Username in the event that maybe a week or later when the photos are received I’ll do him a favor and send them, So i pause the question.

What’s your username?

Beat. Then wrong answer.

“How come you don’t you know me?, am an artiste, am…….”

Now am exasperated because I’ve never heard of him so i ask what songs he’s released. (Note that i don’t ask what popular songs he’s released)

He names two songs and breaks my heart, disappointment bites at me, am literally shouting “Only two?”, but of course i shout in my head

He doesn’t give me his username as another sight of a model exhibiting Sylvia Owori catches my eye and i head out to capture the memory.

Later that day at home i kept on thinking about Ellen Grossman who met Jayz on a subway in 2012 and asked him whether he was famous.

She didn’t know who the multiple award winning rapper who was valued  at $460 million by Forbes Magazine, to put it more mildly she had never heard of Beyonce’s husband, the founder of Rocawear.

She spent a few minutes with the celebrity and at the end of the encounter has this to say.

“he’s genuine”

 

I wish i could say the same for my celebrity.

Blowing Road Safety Out of Proportion;

A friend of mine whose mop of hair would threaten the career of any Reggae artiste happens to hold the opinion that I think a lot.

For that am guilty as charged, and yet again to prove her assertion, I sat in a taxi over the weekend and caught a glimpse of a boda boda (motorcycle) rider squeezing in between two huge trucks to probably beat his previous record for reaching his destination on time.

The sight of a Boda boda rider squeezing in between a parade of large vehicles with the potential to mince his flesh into numerous pieces Is nothing new in Uganda.

In fact, its one of the Pros of traveling by Boda Boda; their ability to maneuver in between vehicles and beat heavy traffic is a quite exceptional  trait that makes them unique or rather heavily sought after.

Nonetheless my aimlessly busy brain opted to put a pattern to it and blow the whole thing out of proportion by  linking it with a scene that had caught my attention earlier on when a Karamojong beggar and her kid had stood on my window.

She was kindly requesting for one hundred shillings which happens to be the smallest denomination in Uganda’s currency- or rather to be precise the second smallest considering the fact that we still have the devalued fifty shilling coin that can’t purchase even the least valuable of items.

The way my brain set it out was that one day a Boda boda rider who out of habit likes to beat traffic by negotiating his way in between the crevices left by vehicles jammed in traffic pulls off a similar feat and this time runs out of luck and gets either knocked or suffocated in the process.

As an aftermath of his accident he probably breaks his legs and motorcycle, or in the worst case scenario loses his life in the process, either way he loses more than the couple of shillings he was hoping to gain by doing his riding rounds a little faster.

Now to bring in the beggar and her son, my delusional mind put her at the scene as the cyclist’s wife who happens to be a sit-at-home house-wife just like most women in this country..

As a result of the cyclist’s irresponsibility, his wife and kids are definitely deprived of a steady source of livelihood, they don’t get to enjoy even the smallest of basic necessities, if their spouse broke his legs in the accident (which is likely what is bound to happen) they lose their ability to work either temporarily or permanently.

If the cyclist happens to lose their life in the accident, then the family is subjected to even more gruesome consequences, their nightmares get to bask in the light of reality in lieu of the fact that the wife to the deceased cyclist has no marketable skills or knowledge.

She resolves to beg, it an ugly world and when it doesn’t go well for her she recruits her children who add a key ingredient to her practice; the ability to evoke empathy.

After a while she gets so good at it and decides to make it a permanent venture as she solicits money and alms from prospective sympathizers while she begs on the very streets her husband should have driven safely on to keep her in her home.

Since the widow can barely survive, her kids begin to lack even the most basic of necessities and as a result education at this point appears to be a luxury she can’t afford.

Her children are exposed to dangerous life on the streets and are without a formal education as they grow, their die is cast against their prosperity which makes life almost impossible for them.

The poverty cycle continues into the next generation, and it might even go on unless an enterprising and hardworking descendant steps up.

It was a hostile sight to envision and with a deep sigh I dimmed my vision whilst hoping that drivers and cyclists alike would think about not only their lives but also the existence of siblings, their spouses, children and even their co-drivers whose lives could be changed in an instant because of negligence and carelessness.

Stop Talking for a Minute and Listen

For most of my life, I’ve been pretty loud-mouthed; a fact that was helped by the fact that I took gaining knowledge as a race.

When I was younger, smarter and more ambitious I wanted to be a lawyer and as I grew up nothing was as enchanting as the sight of Franklin and Bash tearing apart an opposition lawyer in a court room.

And I sure could make a good argument (if my teenage friend’s words were anything to go by) and while I wasn’t where I wasn’t domineering in height and appearance, I made up for this flaw in oratory by speaking not only with authority but also speaking mostly alone.

You see where an argument involved two disagreeable parties, mine with classmates were one sided,  and I had gotten so good at it that I felt there was no need to hear my opposition.

As a defense mechanism, my mind was tuned to interfere if a person was making their point, my ego wouldn’t let me.

Even when it was obvious I was wrong, my ability to come up with a response was second to none-almost perfect.

Problem was I didn’t know when to stop and listen.

The concise Oxford English dictionary, to which am a frequent user while in one of its attempts to unriddle the meaning of the word  “listen” defines it as “to make an effort to hear something”.

The reality is most of us like to talk, but “to listen” which is equally important is often ignored for the very reason that imparting (speaking) feeds our egos better than receiving (listening).

Listening as a package comes with fairness and impartiality which are very essential elements that’s important to any person.

If you make an effort to listen, after imparting you get to hear the other side of the story which is half as interesting as the your side.

Listening and talking should flock together and its only fair that one should acquire knowledge and wisdom by striking the balance between talking and listening.

You can’t fathom how much I’ve learnt from listening more and talking less, of course its sort of boring to sit there and watch a person tell a lie or quote a wrong source, but when its all said and done, you get to have last and finest laugh by learning about your adversary’s opinion and using it against them.

But it hasn’t been all about winning an argument its rather been mostly about gathering as much knowledge and wisdom as i can get from anyone willing to talk.

While researching this post I was exposed to an aging but relevant statement made by Larry King that i found to be very underrated.

He said. “I never learned anything, when I was talking”.

And I replied from my blue chair at work.

“Great speech, I’ve learnt an awful lot , Larry

 

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