Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Marriage and Domestic Violence in my family


A week to the wedding, my father gets a phone call at 3:00 AM. It’s the groom to-be and bride to-be. They just had a fight. Kayondo the groom to-be came back home late and accused the wife of being adulterous. The wife in defense denied all the preposterous accusations. It didn’t take long before they did what went on every other night, fighting. Except this time, unfortunately for Kayondo, his wife
to-be got her hands onto a log in the nick of time and swung it towards him with all the rage and anger she could garner from the beating. My father listens on, he must have been devastated. After all the work he and the rest of the family had put into making the wedding possible. All that was expected of Kayondo and his wife was to get along and prepare for the big day, I guess even that was too hard.
In the fight, Kayondo’s arm is hit. A collar bone is broken and he is furious. “I have lost the battle but not the war,” so he seemed to say.
Father must be confused over what to do. Over breakfast we talk about it. I’m more skeptical. I sympathize with the wife. It is obvious Kayondo is nursing a grudge and a wound. After the wedding, his future wife Olive is likely to be mistreated. It is a complicated situation. Kayonodo and Olive are getting married because my father suggested they ought to in order to straighten their marriage after 8 years of co-habiting. To please my father and the rest of the family, Kayonodo seemed not to have objections. If he hesitated, the help he receives from the family would drastically decrease. To please everyone, he goes ahead with the plan, not out of love for Olive or the fact that she has bore three of his children but rather for the convenience.
Kayonodo can barely afford a meal at home and yet he has to pull off a wedding, the family is the one footing the bill, which means they are the ones pulling the strings, not a very good situation to be in.
After reflecting on all this over breakfast, I condemn the wedding in the strongest terms. Going through with the wedding would indirectly condemn Olive to eternal embarrassment and unhappiness. Marriage should offer a woman security, love and happiness, in this case, deep down she is not looking forward to the day she gets the ring. My father is trying to be optimistic and promises to get a lay reader over to their house to talk to them. Two days later the lay reader convinces my father to go ahead with the wedding. I question whether she said this out of honesty or for the benefit of the church. I tell father that it is not too late to cancel it. He gets mad and I choose not to talk about the matter again.
At the wedding, the bride’s care taker who was meant to give her away was not in church. She almost wanted to cry. I was taking the photographs; I could see the sadness in her eyes despite the colorful gown that covered just about every inch of her body. Towards the end, the church starts to fund raise for construction, Ah! I think to myself. “That was the lay readers catch all along.” Ten minutes later, at the point where the newlyweds are supposed to be handed their certificate, the pastor announces that there wasn’t money that would have catered for his journey to the parish to purchase it. The church falls silent. I could tell everyone’s mind was spinning around the fact that fund raising was done before we were hit with the bad news. The Kayodos are standing at the pulpit, facing the audience, it’s getting hard for olive to hide her emotions any more, and I turn away and look at the pictures on the camera, to keep myself busy. I don’t want to be part of this. A week ago, my father should have listened to me.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Last Chapatti.


Today is thanksgiving. I did not have a turkey or ribs for dinner. eat chapatti and tomato soup which was well prepared by Mama Nassa. Maybe the meal was extra delicious because it just might be my last. I just spent my last 600/= procuring three chapattis and I am now out completely. I have no clue what tomorrow holds.
It has been a while since I was totally broke. I wish I could say that I have learnt a life’s principal through this season but I have not. None the less I appreciate it. It reminds me that Patrick Seruyange is just a Facade. I say it all the time without fully grasping its implications. Moments like this take me back to when I was 5 and still Lutakome Nyanzi. To those times when he had no food in the house. To those times we eat beans and maize for a full month. To those days when my widowed mother drunk herself silly to cope with the idea that her sons were going to bed hungry. Those days when I felt the world was falling apart. Those days I still had a real family, before we all went off in different directions.
It’s now that I wonder why I helped her clear her tuition or why I took on the biggest project of my career (at least so far). I forge ahead and make everything look wonderful. It’s the Patrick Fa├žade. The one that I never clearly understand. The one most people know.
In moments like this, I realize how many people I can count on. They are few. I guess I never took note of this when I felt like I was on top of the world.
Here is to those who have stuck with me from the boy I used to be, till now to see the man I have become. Those who have been with me through thick and thin. Rekindling the flame that got us this far and same flame that will continue to shine even when the world gets dark and frightening. The light that will bring us back when we lose our way. To those who I have shared a simple cup of chai with. You are my true friends.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Jack fruit and Mirinda


11 years ago, valentines, I wrote at the back of a post card five simple words, “will you be my valentines?” to who was it was addressed to? The one I am writing about. I thought it was a childish thing to do. She never said yes and I guess after that we never were good friends, at least until the end of primary. I go to the states and I seem to have a lot going for me and I never get back to thinking about valentines of ’99. I met her again 2009 before I went to Nairobi. We had pizza and chocolate cake and laughed at the silly things we did back in the day when every single worry could be solved with a glass of milk and sweets.
Without saying a word, we both agreed life was much better then. It was simple and innocent. 10 hours later I was on the bus to Nairobi and I guess we stopped talking again like we always did. It was not until I was in Kabale in late August that I decided to call her. My life was very complicated and I did not like it one single bit. I guess with her, whenever we talked I would go back to that point in time when I was 10 again. I would remember standing in the middle of the football pitch alone before a storm came in. I would look at the thunder and dark clouds and wonder what the next ten years of my life would have in stock. In simple terms she always simplifies my life.
Yesterday we were at her hostel balcony drinking mirinda and nibbling on jack fruit. Nothing mattered at that point. For the first time in a while I felt like I had finally fulfilled my dreams of peace, the ones that had eluded me for so long. I was happy, I could not explain the feeling, I just felt it and wondered why she and I took forever to talk. She represents innocence in my life, a life which has been wrecked for so long. I did not say much that evening. I then realized that if I had more times like that; jack fruit and mirinda, I would not need a woman in my life. She had already added definition to it.
This is for you. To thank you for being my partner in crime when the cops(worries of this world) seemed to be taking me down. Thanks for watching the sun set with me. For not judging me even when I have been a jerk (which is half the time) and being the best cousin anybody can ask for. This world could use more people like you.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Museveni's PRO did his homework!

I have never been a fan of politics at least not in Uganda. The campaigns are mostly branded as mindless entertainment and a lot of hooligans are employed to escort the candidates entourage. During this season a few people earn big while the rest of us who don't, pay for the "free" entertainment on our streets that is mostly disruptive. I do not see the point in voting for an aspirant who parades himself in the middle of the streets waving at on lookers with queen dancers in one of the trucks. True this might be a point of persuasion for a significant portion of the people in the population and its effectiveness cannot not be dismissed completely. My question is what happened to the orators of this country? I can barely listen to any of the candidates simply because half the time they are complaining about the situation in Uganda, which by the way, we are well aware of! What happened to the days when we gathered
around to listen to a man who was full of passion and conviction. What happened to the true patriots of this country? the patriots who fought not to win the ballot but change the nation? Has politics come to the point where the candidate with the most ridiculous promises wins?

Museveni is not my favorite candidate (I wouldn't say that in public) however if we were to hit the polling stations this instant without doubt I would vote for him. Not because of what he is promising to do which he won't fulfill anyway, rather because of his campaign strategy. Clearly none of the candidates is has the fresh new angel that he/she would need to captivate Ugandans though Museveni amidst criticism has managed to convince the voters otherwise. He is branding himself as more "youthful." He threw a party for them, wrote a rap song and is obviously trying as hard as he can to appeal to them. His PRO must have done his homework.

The new developments have left the other candidates far behind. He has managed to re-brand himself while the rest try to fight him with hate messages not knowing they are giving him publicity by doing so. The opposition better start focusing on policy because at this point, it might be the only thing that might help them snatch last minute votes

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Lesson from the martyrs


You may kill a man but not defeat him. Martyrs day was a moment of reflection for me. Realizing that its a lot easier to be a Christian now days than it was back then. There are dozens of stories in the bible that end with a loss of a life for those who decided to follow the way of the master, Jesus Christ. Some of the deaths described are far beyond comprehension that its hard to imagine how far a human being is willing to go low human all because of difference in belief.
In Uganda, the story didn't change much. at a certain point in our history, fellow brothers and sister in the faith were put too the ultimate test, to deny God and live or die in his name. obviously, the martyrs took the later.
No matter when and where Christians were persecuted, these stories have something in common. The cruel leaders of those times, who ordered for the persecutions, true that they were mighty powerful and cruel enough to carry out such decrees. However, the day these leaders passed away, they perished forever. on the other hand, the martyrs legacy and stories have gone on to inspire and challenge people up to today. funny how a young boy like Kizito has inspired names schools, hospitals and other entities after him and yet a powerful man like Mwanga has been forgotten with the passage of time.
History teaches me two things from this. the first deciding to follow Christ doesn't come without a cost and what we do for Christ will live far beyond our physical existence. In relation to my life, I'm made to realize that one day, just one day, i might be faced with a choice, choosing to die and live for eternity with the father or live physically and perish the very day my body is no more. I can only hope and trust that should that day ever come, the name of the Lord will be glorified.

Its not any easier being a Christian in this day and age. The opposition, though subtle, the impact is tremendous.

Dealing with it


I look at her everyday, we chat every once in a while and i must admit, I do love her company. She loves life and people. The only thing that God deprived her of is what she loves most... life. I look at her everyday and wonder how many unfulfilled dreams she might leave behind, when death when her time is up and yet God gave her all she needed to be happy but deprived her of one thing, time.
We live with people like this in our community. Instead of isolating them or realizing that they might not have a lot of time left, i feel its better to love them and make sure they live life to the fullest and leave the rest to God. Its always a gamble, never knowing if she will ever make it through the month. The most scary part is whenever she is in the hospital. The whole while, your nervous. Every call you receive from the sister is a scare because it might be the sad news. The hardest part through is that i am getting close to her and there is nothing i can do about it. I'm becoming more and more found of her each day. It is hard to be there for her and keep my emotions intact because when the inevitable does happen, without doubt I will be crushed.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

The saga continues

I knew from the moment I got the idea of making a documentary for my parents that it was going to be the toughest project in my career (atleast so far). And it has proved just that. Infact I did not expect it to be this hard. Nothing has worked out at all. My siblings are not funding it like I had figured nor are they willing to appear in it which will be a blow to my parents because you can not talk about their lives without talking about their children who have affected many of the decisions thay have made in their life time. I have also met dead ends with the people I should intreview. Basically, I am broke, disapointed and frustrated.
Even in the midist of this storm, I feel I am getting stronger. The people who are helpful in this project are the ones I will consider true friends and those who woun't... I will see when I get there.
On a happier note, I attended Connie and Ronalds wedding which was in Busia yesterday. I spent a great deal of the day working on their montage that was supposed to show at the wedding. This same documentary took me into kenya because electricity was off on the Uganda side. Found myself seated in a pharmacy store accross the border for three hours trying to get the work done. Even though the documentary was not screened because the weather cut us short, it was worth it. I was happy that I met my end of the deal that Dennis and I had discussed two months earlier. There were times I did not think much of it, that I could bail out any time. But I am glad I did not. I guess it is true what they say, "A man is only as good as his word."
I am happy for the couple, Ronald and Constance. It was a great honor doing their documentray. I learnt what to look for in a partner. And when you watch the documentary, you will discover that the two were meant for each other. The two resore hope to a generation that has long forgotten that love exists. They inspired me to be patient for the right girl to come along that will have just as much love for me like I will have for her. Love indeed is a wonderful gift.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Im ready for the challenge.

Finally my dad today gave me a go ahead to make a documentary of his and mums life. the project seems simple but alot harder than it looks. The million dollar question is how do you tell a story

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Education? Not such a bad idea.


Every young boy's dream was to run away from school, come up with an innovation and become as rich as Bill Gates, it was basically supposed to be a “rugs to riches story.” But now that I’m older, I realize those were all childish fantasies. In my family I am the youngest, my father has a P.H.D, mother a masters, the two older sibling masters as well and my other brother, he is just a genius. So naturally, as the youngest, I had to value education from the time I was little. My view of education was; sit in class, do the exams and get it over with. I had never realized that my success was Dependant on my education until I came to university and met Suzie (her real name withheld)

Suzie is the lady that comes to my hostel every Saturday morning looking for clothes to wash for money. She speaks quite good English and it's easy to tell that she must have gotten the best education money could offer. In one hand there is her bag and the other a baby who looks malnourished. However hard I try to tell her off, the baby always makes me think otherwise. She diligently works away until midday when she takes a break under the huge mango tree. She will breast feed her child as she nibbles on a maize comb.
Looking at her from my bedroom window, I start asking myself what might have gone wrong in her life and why she ended up like this; working at a job that pays a lousy salary. Her hands reveal she has washed a great hip of clothes in her life time.

I offered her a cup of tea one Saturday and asked her to tell me about her life story. She had a great child hood, got a good education until senior four when she got pregnant, dropped out of school and her life pretty much went downhill after wards. At a certain point in the story, she began crying and that made me feel almost guilty for having asked in the first place. Her eyes were filled with regret and anguish. At that particular moment, time froze. I started reflecting back on my own life.

There are many people like Suzie, their life's journey has been different but somehow ended up the same. Some dropped out of school because they wanted to, others it wasn't their choice and for some it was their careless choices. Most students sight examples of rich people who went to school and think they will have the same lack as them yet there are hundreds of people I can mention that live a horrible life because they didn't value their education.

Education is not just for financial success. Even when you have all the money in the world, you are bound to feel slightly inferior when seated in a room with intellectuals. Education is a big achievement and thus people with degrees and masters have a right to walk with their heads up high. Salim Saleh, an icon in Uganda went back to school after the war was over. True he had the money, respect and a job but it still wasn’t the same. I bet the guilt he got from knowing he was not learnt might have forced him to go back.

Employers these days prefer to employ people who are well learned because, at a sub conscious level, it’s believed that people who are learnt are more intelligent, can rationalize things better and produce better work. Skill needs to be accompanied with education. One of the world’s most famous film director, Steven Spielberg went back to school even after he had made a name for himself and produced work that educated people in his field couldn’t.

It’s true that getting the best of education might not guarantee your success, but life will be a whole lot easier. The amount of effort a non educated person has to invest in order to earn a living is not the same as a well learnt person. Opportunities easily come their way.

After having a conversation with Suzie, I realized that without education, the rise to success is most likely very steep. Every Saturday when I see her, I get a renewed sense of determination because I want to have a better future. It makes me think of all the things in my life that derail me from my journey and decide to do away with them. Like in the words of Jim Elliot, “He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.”

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Alone


Im all alone.

Im the last person to leave class in the evening. not because i want to but because there is no one waiting for me. there isnt an event im missing at all. Ill drag myself to the same resturant I have my supper from everyday. the next 15 mintutes of my life are quite as I. The waitress is always kind enough to bid me good night. i can tell there is a hint of pity in her eyes. I guess because im always by myself.

The porch light is not on. I open the door and everything is as messy as i left it. Im not motivated to clean it up because im not expecting any visitors. The cup still has cold tea. No one came by while i was away.

From a distance i here Music booming at one of the local clubs. when a match is showing, I hear occasional screams. They are happy and i guess I am not.