Daily Prompt: Believe

via Daily Prompt: Believe

What Happened To Uganda, The Country We Were All Proud Of?

The early 2000’s to which most of my age-mates and I gain our political knowledge were great times to grow up into.

The economy was stable, the doughnuts and food were cheap and sizable, education was cheap, we attended  public school thanks to a government that loved us, got to pay less than $10 dollars a term for quality education, electricity was cheap and seldom on leave.

We were really the pearl of Africa and there was promise for more glory

There were few cases of nepotism, we trusted our government and didn’t scrutinize government programs even though some sounded dubious, we sat through tiresome census exercises, went willingly for immunization, as far as the people were concerned, the opposition were a bunch of losers.

As kids  we endorsed government programs without actually understanding them-such was the trust we had for our leaders, anyone who critiqued our “Museveni” became an automatic enemy.

Every helicopter that passed in the skies was “Museveni” and we rewarded to the fading airplanes in the airspace’s with the humble yet noble gift of our voices singing “Amba Museveni” a praise and worship song dedicated to our leader that was no where within the acceptable values of entertaining  but we didn’t mind, we sang along out of sheer devotion to our President.

When in mid 2004 word came out that one of those public school we loved so much (Shimoni Demonstration School ) was going to be sold to an investor we rallied behind our president rubbishing the report as false and watched with disinterest as our parents suddenly became increasingly exasperated with the government.

Ours was not a rationale belief in what facts were available but rather a passionate hero worship of a man we had been told brought peace and stability by waging war on dictatorship and even though in the northern part of the country, a deranged general maimed the lips of his own kinsmen while claiming he was fighting to liberate them we held onto hope and believed in our president.

When a young member of parliament from Kampala Central dashed forward amidst criticism and stood by our parents protesting the sell of our beloved Shimoni, I finally came to terms with the fact that the government had sold our school and I had been betrayed as a child.

I grew sympathetic with the Member of parliament and actually liked him, I didn’t think that throughout his entire political existence it would be a fundraising ceremony for sympathy.

More than ten years past, with an ailing economy, a jobless youth that would rather commit crime than work, an abusive police force that that rewards hooliganism and kidnaps children for the crimes of their parents, and a legislature dominated by greedy individuals representing themselves in parliament and the government still celebrates to the victories of the early 2000s, it is then safe to ask what independence are we celebrating?

to be continued

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Date at the Beach

The boda boda moves on at a steady pace, she cracks a joke and is first to laugh, revealing a set of her neatly arranged Canines that I’ve always believed would easily feature in a Freshup Ad.

Our rider goes fast enough to allow us have a conversation but I don’t have much to say, am saving the conversation for later. she’s seated sideways with her neck cringed towards me like I assume Bobi and Barbie did when they were still broke.

In spite of the noise coming from the bike, it feels sort of romantic, quiet. she smiles at me and anyone willing to catch her eye, I feel more alive than I’ve ever been, I could get used to this you know.

We arrive at Anderita Beach in record and are settled on a chair that allows us an amazing view of the lake, the DJ at a nearby bar plays Rihanna’s “diamonds” and my companion swerves her waist in respect to the music and I can’t help staring in awe, am humming to Celine Dion’s “I love you”, in this moment she’s awesome, am excited to have her attentions, she’s happy to show off her dance moves.

The waiter ruins the moment and takes my order, I’ll have fries, Chicken and a bottle of Guinness – just something to show her that I’m made of black, if that’s even really a thing.

She looks through the menu and I can suddenly see her smile, she likes what she sees, I almost “hi five” the waiter for working at such an awesome place.

I caress my pocket for the feel of the two fifty thousand notes that I’ve gazetted for our outing, it’s still there, and having prospected the place the previous day, am confident that my money will be enough, until she opens her sweet little mouth.

“I’ll have fries, chicken and a double mega” she says lazily, like its the most obvious thing.

Am shocked, the love I had crammed myself into believing existed is rattled, I’m shocked, I ain’t loving her unconditionally like Katy Perry, but I’ll give her a chance to defend herself first, so I pop the magic question.

“You sure you can finish the fish, cause I heard its really big” I ask faking a smile.
“Hahaha, I’ve eaten it, actually had it for lunch last week with a friend.”

Huh……..now am freaking out, so potential bae is a glutton who eats a 6kg fish for lunch like its nothing, okay. Cool. waiter goes to pick our order and we chat on, she likes my eyes, she heaps praises on me for being such a gentleman, says am better than her ex, and I just keep the compliments flowing by making subtle remarks about her beauty- she’s really hot, like Gina Rodriguez and Halle Berry combined into one, Halle’s complexion, and Gina’s ass.

Fifteen minutes later, waiter shows up with our orders, mine comes first so like the gentleman I’ve been taught to be, I wait for her and it isn’t long before her mugged fish makes a show, its head hanging gently beyond a not so small tray .

It’s her turn to be shocked, she can’t believe her eyes, let alone tray, she attempts to say something but her mouth won’t open, I stare into the lake and pretend to be admiring the dolphins I know don’t exist in the Victoria.

As if on cue, the music stops, there’s a loud silence in which I just begin to nibble away at my chicken while she fidgets with her giant fish. It goes on for about two minutes, then I help her slice a piece of fillet onto her plate, to which she replies with a gratified “Thankee”

We eat in silence for about two minutes before the getlman in me returns from leave so I break the silence, tell her it’s okay,

“happens to the best of us” I lie.

She apologizes, I tell her she doesn’t need to lie to impress me, she gets it, we’re cool, Mowzey Radio plays on the speakers, she swerves her beatiful head to sound of the ballad.

I ease her into a conversation about dreams, she’s excited, shares her aspirations to become a big Fashion Designer, I don’t believe her until she shows me her sketches that are quite impressive, she’s really good, I like her, she likes me, can we send the wedding invites already?

How I met your Uncle

I lit the unwanted plant, took one huge puff and felt an electric charge rise to my brain through the veins in my head. I could’ve sworn that I saw Nutty Neithan come out of my bruh’s 32 inch screen and say “Turn Up” but when i blinked he was gone and “binkubye” was still playing on the Tv but this time my bruh, reached out for the stick and I passed it to him still in disbelief at what I had just seen.

He inhaled, and pouted his mouth siphoning the grey smoke from the joint like his life depended on the smoke, then he looked up to the skies, sent the smoke on a ride throughout his system before exhaling it with gentle puffs.

I was impressed, my bruh surely knew how to treat a joint right but i was in the least intimidated and when it was my turn I did the “bleeding nose” trick and had smoke backsliding out of my nostrils, M.J style.

With every puff we got happier and shared three sticks of Vigilante, Mama Glo’s finest grade before we decided to store the remaining two and play Fifa.

So i picked up the Sony DVD remote, aimed it at the Tv but there was no reaction from the Tv, i couldn’t understand how a remote whose batteries we had just bought a few hours ago would fail to work so i lay it to rest and complained to him. Then he picked up a taller remote from the floor and burst out laughing.

I didn’t know why he was laughing, but in that moment kids, I suddenly felt it, first time it happened and I stayed calm, second time, i almost laughed but played hard guy, then on third time I lost.

I was being tickled by someone I couldn’t see and there and then I realised what was happening.

I was being tickled by my ancestors.

So I laughed really hard. And kids, your Uncle wasn’t one to lose a laughing contest so he stared at me, laughed back harder, I was offended by his laughter so this time I laughed with my eyes closed, and opened them after a minute and your Uncle was still laughing.

With the Fifa 18 game forgotten on the telly, right there and then I could have given him a B+ for competitiveness in a “laughing contest” but your ancestors kept on tickling me so instead I continued laughing and we laughed on; loudly, with tears in our eyes, while standing, while clapping, we even laughed in the middle of laughter till we couldn’t laugh no more, so I walked of his room and headed to my room where my ancestors continued to do their thing.

And kids, before that, your Uncle had been a great friend, but after that day, I knew that he was going to be your Uncle.

We need a lasting Solution to Acid Attacks

Last year I had the great honor of attending my very first TEDTALK at Naguru, in Kampala since my then boss was scheduled to deliver his account of his experience working with Young people.

For four hours I listened to the ideas, innovations and creative works of ordinary Ugandans mostly women who were involved in the business of doing amazing things; Anabelle Nakabiri Sebakijje, the young woman who had formed an organization to help vulnerable teenage mothers, Jamila Mayanja; the social entrepreneur who is skilling young women through her organization “girls with tools”, Maria Alesi, the young woman who took on genderbased violence by calling upon us to break partriachy, Bella Nakato who was advocating for natural beauty through her work at “Enviri za Nacho”, Rashida Namulondo who was helping hundreds of people cope with grief and loss, my boss Aziiz Kafeero who was giving young people like me a space to work and grooming our leadership skills through his Kafeero foundation and finally Ronald Agaba who was training the next generation of leaders and advocating for the training of leaders.

Some of the speakers from last year’s TedTalk

And amongst this brilliant cast of selfless beings making a difference in this country, one woman stood out; a woman scarred throughout most of her upper body.

A woman that had introduced herself as Gloria Kankunda, an acid attack who had rose above the tragedy of having acid poured on her while she was pregnant and used her plight as a foundation to give strength to other victims and survivors of acid attacks.

For about twenty minutes she spoke while photos that described her plight played on the projector, she had been a very beautiful woman before acid and while the scars from the burns had invaded parts of her body, she was still beautiful and with each word that left her lips to form speech she impressed me to the point that I knew I had to meet her before the day ended.

And meet her I did and also did an awesome job spitting superlatives, her strength had gotten to me, she responded to me with politeness and hugged me before we parted ways and the promise was that we’d meet and I’d tell her story to our readers at Kafeero.Tv which unfortunately didnt happen because of a few issues at work.

But with my admiration for came a sort of hatred for the cowards that use Acid to solve wrangles or show anger, in my head I sort of feel that people that orchestrate acid attacks deserve the very worst of punishment but each time I think about what that really “worse punishment” would be, I realize that by Ugandan law it would be the death penalty, so I cower in shame or rather confusion because I don’t believe in the death penalty.

Yet the feeling never goes away, that deeply rooted loathing for people who use acid to brandish hatred stays with me and sometimes I’m lucky to forget it exists until something happens and reopens that can where I store all my hatred.

So last night I was tweeting while absentmindedly watching the news then my brother calls to my attention a newstory about this month’s latest acid attack victim who is a woman from Mayuge.

In the news clip a distraught looking woman rests on a hospital bed, her face is white and bares semblence with a bloodless flesh wound, she’d been disfigured that you’d barely recognise her from her “before acid attack” photo provided to the NTV Uganda by her family. It is believed that her ex-husband orchestrated the attack.

Now the complete facts of this story, at this stage are unclear and maybe the ex isn’t responsible but that story sure got me worked up, I couldn’t understand how such wickedness could exist, if it was her ex-lover then I couldn’t fathom how what was once love could transform into such hatred that you would make you want to disfigure someone that much.

One thing I do believe is that something needs to be done, in Uganda majority (57%) of acid attack victims are women and the main cause (35% of cases) is relationships gone bad which for me is really terrible, like how do you pour acid on someone that you once had feelings for? Does the affection go away when you disagree?

I don’t know what but something needs to be done about these acid attacks, maybe its sensitization or legislation but we need to look deep and find a solution to these acid attacks.

On Graduation; My Emotional Process

Hey fam, longtime,

How have you guys been, I hope all is well your side, at my side it’s been an amazing couple of days for me.

You see, on Friday after months of messing up, the depression, robberies, pain, smiles, joys, the ex girlfriends😂 and all that I finally graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Mass Communication.

And in that dumbfound moment as I heard my name being announced on the list of graduates, I looked to the skies, left out a sile prayer and thanked the Big Guy up for making this moment possible, as I walked up to the red carpet in my red jacket and gown, sweating like a pig but feeling cool, I almost cried, my mind was home to these many confusing emotions that are the subject of this blogpost;

Happiness:
I didn’t choose this path, the real dream has always been become a lawyer but when I got admitted for Mass Communication in 2014, I decided that I was going to love it and make the best out of it so yeah I did, started warming up to the idea that maybe communication was my calling so getting a degree in Mass Communication really made me happy.

Pride:
For defying all odds, not taking my eyes off the main goal and wearing the damn cap.
I thought alot about all the growth that has happened since i joined campus in 2014, the 18 year old kid that walked into Uganda Christian University (UCU) was skinny, naive, idealistic and all that but out of him emerged albeit a much fatter man that had been panel beaten and roughed by time, failure, reality and experience, a man that had seen alot and taken lessons.

Ivan Aboga Rackara

Like i said, young and skinny in my first year of campus

Gratitude;
Its never easy to go down with people amd support em throughout their issues which when you’re me come in dozens. While I was grappling with depression and weighing 42kg, I got writer’s block and because I could no longer write, I lost clients l, before I could get a grip, I was robbed dry infact my friend Bernice compared my house to football pitch that only had goal posts 😂. But for all that I always had all the support and blessings I could get, my mum invited me for prayers, Uncle, Fr Joseph who set me on this path and saw to it that i finished the race, my brother Martin offered moral and financial support, my brother Morris and his wife Flavia mended the broken parts by offering their love, advice and protection, my sisters Peace and Dorothy still held me in high regard. My boss at Kafeero.Tv sat with me one cold night, seeing to it that we sent the damn course work on time The whole point is I’m grateful that my friends and family still stood with me.

Self doubt:
I felt that i didn’t deserve all this support and love my dad has shown me. Throughout good and tough, he stood and supported me, when I thought I’d had enough last year and told him I was prematurely done with school; his message telling me to just hang in there, then his eventual appearance on my graduation day on short notice, having travelled 382km just to be there on my big day, I was overwhelmed. Life seemed to be suddenly beautiful.

And it has been certainly a great week considering on Sunday we made 150 followers for RhackWrites, add the 34 email subscribers and we have 184 people that probably don’t mind my pathetic rants so yeah its been a great couple of days which am grateful.

So here we are, like I’ve mentioned throughout this entire post, I have a degree, a new one that I intend to use soon but that will be a rant for another day, for now; to my friends, family, readers, lecturer’s, the faculty of Journalism and Media Studies at UCU allow me say thank you😊, you’ve helped a fella achieve.

A photo of Ivan Aboga Rackara on his graduation
Journalism school graduate

To Afroblogggers; On Ending this Journey

I’ve recounted this letter in my head, imagined more than five introductions to it until I failed to write it for lack of better words.

So let’s pretend for a moment that I actually wrote something, that this blogpost actually has something, that instead of space there’s an article, with a surprisingly brief headline, something in the line of;

THANK YOU

Then there’s the actual body of the blogpost which is pretty much like only a paragragh or two and in it I explain the reason behind my appreciation which is pretty much written in the stats of my blog; 22 new blog followers, atleast 200 page views on one of my more successful days which feels rather great.

Then ofcourse there are the interactions with Bloggers from different branches of this continent like; The powerful and strong Bex, Wise Beaton, resourceful Benjamin, the brilliant Ernest Jacob, Precious Melody; whose knowledge amazes me, the honestly blunt Nobu who gets you thinking deep, Angel Mimie whose descriptive skills offer clarity, Dante; whose energy oozes in every post and among others the insightful Josephina.

And finally for the prompts that have been sort of therapeutic and helped me answer a few questions about myself that I prolly wouldn’t have even thought about so yeah that was really disturbing and difficult and amazing so thank you.

So in closing the Winter blogging challenge, I would say that we should really do this again, more often, with new exciting prompts, then I would clink my glass and toast; To Afrobloggers

Note to my Blogging Fam

Well I know I’m not the most faithful considering I have to go away every once in a while but if anything I always return because well you guys give me a reason to write.

You see I talk alot which is pretty awesome if you’re me and really nagging if you’re stuck with me and I launch one of my running commentaries about the problens at Manunited so yeah, it helps that Instead of talking I can write some of it here and you honor me by reading and saving those poor people that have to listen to me, your literally a superhero, you know that😊

And its never about me just writing, I enjoy reading too and sometimes when I can’t write or I’m out of inspiration, I just open my blog in the middle of heavy traffic or while sitted at a family event (I’m weird like that) and just read.

I enjoy reading as much as I love writing so while this prompt is supposedly a letter to my readers, its also directed to my fellow bloggers l, people that write amazing stuff about fashion, mental health, literature, caricature, poetry, movies and and all that.

I value you guys quite alot, I mean I’ve made a few friends among y’all, learnt about cultures and traditions I didn’t know existed, shared a taxi with Billy; a blogger who recognised me from a photo i shared here and today we’re good friends so that’s what’s up.

I look forward to hearing from all of you, let’s connect beyond wordpress, share emails,Ideas, beers, books, stories and even jokes (yeah I’ve got a few of those)

Winter ABC; Takeaways Edition

So we’ve been at this for more than three weeks which to be honest is amazing.

But you know what’s more amazing, the lessons or what I chose to call takeaways. And for purposes of this post I’ve chosen to share a couple of them:

Blogging is a combination of both writing and reading; every budding blogger dreams of having a highly active blog with many followers, readers and engagement and to do this most bloggers reckon that they’ll create great content and BOOM, their blog will become big, but this isn’t true, and if anything the Winter Blogging Challenge has reaffirmed what I’ve learnt countless times; you need to read also, I mean that’s the unspoken rule of communication (sending and receiving) so yeah unless you’re Seth Godin or something but you need to take time and read other people’s blogs and engage them. That’s how you run a successful blog.

Be Flexible:
Nothing screams flexibility more than the Winter Blogging Challenge, I mean 30 Blogging prompts should count for something, right??
Well throughout the challenge we’ve been thrown off familiar territory and forced to write about stuff that we’ve never tried out, things about our cultures, personal lives and all that and it might not have been easy but well here I’m writing about it so obviously there have been lessons.

It’s Not enough to Produce Good Content;
One important thing Top blogger know that amateurs like me are yet to master is that its not enough to write amazing stuff and then go to bed and sleep; you promote the hell outta that shit, post links on your socials, convince people to read your stuff, thats how its done. And the Winter Blogging Challenge has helped me share content to audiences on Twitter through the hashtag and my stats have been better since then.

Be Creative;
The amazing blogger is always thinking, soon as you send out that killer post you’re thinking about the next one and eventhough we have daily word prompts, it has been a great lesson as far as content creation is concerned, you don’t rest but prepare better blogposts to beat your last one and keep your readers engaged.