Shout Outs to Connie, Joy, and Charlotte, who were generous with their advice and edited this piece.
Campus is one of the best things that could ever happen to you, as am sure one day you’ll find out and true to this in many ways, I lived my best life at campus and for its part, it brought out the best and sometimes the worst in me.
You see campus doesn’t always change you as most people often think, sometimes it reveals you, sometimes it reveals your insecurities other times it just strips you off of the cloaks you wear and leaves you naked for the whole world to see.
So while the story I’m about to tell doesn’t involve nudity on that part, it has parts that in retrospect allowed me to come to terms with the kind of person I was, the person didn’t know I was.
In 2017 after three years of living on Rolexes, fries- also read as boiled Irish with sprinkled cooking oil on top, my friend Mulas and I would put more effort into cooking which I’ll have you know that in just about every single country, time zone and era is always cheaper than buying food.
To my credit, I’ve always been a fine cook so it wasn’t just because I was trying to save because back then there was no Stingy Men’s Association Uganda (SMAU) I genuinely wanted to cook and for the better part, it always went well.
But then on one of those less good days, I set out to cook Matooke and did every possible thing right.
Bought the Matooke when it had been peeled as always since the Acoli demons in me had only willed it for me to only know how to peel gwana ki Layata.
So I added cooking oil, onions, tomatoes, green paper, carrots, garlic, pepper, Royco, and my Pader charm to it, all at the right intervals, I had my saucepan grinning with pride and rolling out high 5’s and saying cheers to another great meal mate, nothing was stopping us now.
While my combination for culinary excellence blended in I got an idea, I figured that instead of having just plain fried Matooke I could add some g-nut stew and we would have us some Katogo, So I turned off the gas then ran to the nearby center in Kauga and got myself some Binyebwa (g-nut paste) and started the descent down that led me to my hostel.
All was going well, I had fisted my ball of g-nut paste and was in this rush to get back to my cooking when I heard the familiar voice of Cleo who always unsettled me.
Cleo was my weakness, the booster to my network, the girl who in the COVID-19 curfew era would have disarmed an LDU officer and overstretched curfew hours, the same Cleo who had always terrorized the potential stinginess in me, the one I’d gladly have given the world to and let 7 billion people figure out where they’d live.
She was the girl I’d taken to Bravo Partiserrie and always spoke fancy-ese (a language for cool people) with. In her presence I spoke about wines and fashion brands, dream travel destinations, and excelled every time; such was the beauty of reading and lots of Google, I’d heard of most of these things and it was only pronunciations that failed me.
For instance, while I knew about brands like Louis Vuitton, it was the pronunciations that failed me so, I often listened carefully and learned from her ultimately that it was Loo-ee-vuh- ton instead of Luyisi Vuyitoni.
She saw me in a way others didn’t, I could wear my cool boots and be Rhacky with her and Rhacky had no business being seen with g-nut paste.
I’ve always walked like a penguin on a local brew height so in that dark on that semi-lit road illuminated by a passing Boda Boda she made me out from more than twenty meters away and called out to me dashing any hopes I’d had of avoiding her.
At that moment two things happened that would reveal me, the first thing was that the Boda Boda man dimmed his lights in respect to me- which I gladly gave a thumbs up to and benefited from the right amount of darkness to do the second thing which would reinforce my regret that I quit javelin too early.
It was one of those things you don’t plan, much worse than an unwanted pregnancy with the butcher’s wife, so before I knew it I had thrown the ball of g-nut paste, deep in a nearby ditch where even the bright light of Cleo’s phone torch would never find it and with it vanished our katogo hopes.
I met Cleo and her friend, got me two and a half hugs in exchange for my g-nut paste, rationalized my actions by quoting Otto Lilienthal who said “Small sacrifices must be made.”
But that was the price you sometimes paid for not being true to yourself and sooner or later you almost always got exposed for the fake that you are. Or just maybe you rode onto those lies and dated this beautiful girl and had a mostly beautiful relationship and as you got to know her realized how big a sacrifice you’d made for a girl who was actually down to earth and would’ve still liked you regardless.
7 Comments Add yours
The honesty…. I love it
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Thank you for reading….and you’re too kind🙏
I laughed hard first time I read this and am still laughing again. Cant wait for more. Happy New Year Ivan. Here for the long ride.
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Hehe, grateful to you for helping me this idea, as always thank you, am glad you enjoyed reading!!
Now why am I sad about the discarded groundnut paste?
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😂😂 I don’t know, I was sad about it too