Airport sightings 1

Sitting in the waiitng lounge of newly reburshished JKIA, I watch the passengers as they go past….

There are the Business class type corporates who are dressed in suits (minus ties) who probably came in for just a day’s meetings and they’re headed back to a nearby East African country. It’s obvious to see they ‘lost’ their ties in the cab on their way to the airport. As soon as they sit down, they pull out their laptops or iPads and start working.

The mzungu families returning home from holiday are unmistakable. The children can’t wait to get onto their tabs to play, while the parents just seem relieved that the holiday has come to an end. The babies are either irritable or running around gleefully to the exasperation of the already tired mother, who hands baby over to mzungu Daddy to take his turn at “mothering”.

Just then, someone as important as Winnie Byanyima (Global Director of Oxfam and wife of embattled Ugandan opposition leader Kizza Besigye) walks past almost inconspicuously…. Only the Ugandans notice who she is but no one dares say hello.

A group of about 10 bearded Muslims in their tunics and carrying heavy bags come into the waiting area and all eyes turn and focus on them…. everyone seems to be wondering where they are going and praying that they are not going to board the same plane. The Muslims find a spot at the back of the room, look for Mecca’s direction and start praying in plain sight.  (I must say I admire their devotion).

But the ones who never cease to annoy me are the Chinese!! First of all they are very many and look like casual labourers…. (can’t help but wonder if they are the new “coolies” building our roads and railways) their manners leave a lot to be desired. One lets out a large uncontrolled sneeze that startles everyone, then this one seated behind me who has stretched his legs all the way to the back of my seat and he’s literally stepping on me. I turn around and give him the evil eye in the hope that he gets my point…. He doesn’t coz he continues stepping on me! In anger, I get up abruptly, pick up my bags and look for another seat.

The Indian families are always so cute! Father, mother and little ones always close to each other… Which makes me wonder… how come one rarely ever sees black families travelling together?

And then I see a friend I haven’t seen in a while! So am off for hugs and questions of how have you been and where have you been?

But as I go, I see these surging crowds and I can’t help but wonder, why does everyone rush to join the long queue at the Boarding desk at the same time yet the flight will not leave without an already checked in passenger???

Oh, and the long bearded men in Muslim tunics board my aircraft! Masha’Allah!! Allah Akbar, Allhamudililah!

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In the search for my votability

I decided a few years ago that I was going to have a say in the kind of leaders I wanted to govern me, so I joined the masses and entered my name in the National Voters’ Register in 2010. In 2011, election time came, and I proudly went to the polls and cast my vote for the very first time. I must make it clear though that I had not just turned 18 – must’ve been at least 14 years since I’d made 18 – but I registered that late because for the very first time, I felt patriotic enough to care about who took charge of my country. When all the votes were tallied, it didn’t matter that some of my candidates did not make it, but the pride I felt that I had actually made a contribution to my country’s future is what counted.

Fast forward to 2014 – National ID registration – which I also embraced with optimism, despite the criticism in the media and even at home. Granted it was a somewhat tedious exercise – one needed to fill out a long form first, then have someone enter the same data into the computer, while they asked you the same questions as in the form you just filled, before taking your photo and thumbprint. If you were not sure what the name of your ancestral village was, they would show you a list of village names so that you could choose the village that sounded most familiar to you as your birthplace – never mind that you had never even set foot there!

April 2015 – The National ID people tell us it’s now time to check our votability – a word coined to mean that one needed to check whether their names appeared on the National Voters’ Register in preparation for the 2016 elections. What they omitted to tell us, however, was that they had merged the National ID registration with the Voters’ Registration, meaning that the old Register is now extinct and replaced with the new one – a good idea I must say, but poorly executed!!

In search of my votabilityDay 1: I go to Muyenga because that is where I registered in 2010. I am advised that the register is in Bukasa. After about 30 minutes of scanning through tones of papers, I realize I really am not in any of those papers. Finally the lady helping me check asks me, “Where did you register for your National ID?” “Nsambya”, I respond. “Aaaah”, she exclaims, “So go to Nsambya, that’s probably where your details are”. So in the midst of a howling hailstorm I leave Bukasa and I make my way to Nsambya, completely drenched.

On my way to Nsambya, I call LC Chairman No. 1 and I ask him where the National ID people are and he confidently tells me, “Go to St. Paul’s Primary school in Kevina”. At St. Paul’s I wait for over 10 minutes before anyone comes to the gate. When a bored askari finally shows up, he tells me, “Those people, they (sic) left this place a long time ago. We haven’t seen them since last week”. Frustrated, I make another phone call to my Chairman, asking him to find out where “these guys are exactly”.

Day 2 – I receive a call from my Chairman telling me to go to St. Joseph’s Girls’ School. He is sure this time that, that is where the ID people are. So off I go. At St. Joseph’s I find no sign of activity. I bump into a caretaker and ask him if the votability exercise is being done there. He tells me that indeed they were there for about 4 days but left a day earlier and, unfortunately, he wasn’t sure where they had gone. Almost at my wits end, I call LC Chairman No. 2. I don’t trust LC Chairman No. 1’s information anymore, because thus far, it has proved flawed.

Day 3: LC Chairman No. 2 tells me to go to another school somewhere in another zone, and I head out there. (I think at this point you are wondering, why I am even bothering to go through all this!) Anyway, so I get to the school and a very helpful Askari tells me the exercise is not at their school but he spotted them somewhere on his way to work that morning. He kindly directs me to where he thinks they might be, so off I go again.

This time I am in luck!! I find a crowd of people standing haphazardly around two desks on the verandah of a derelict building. I stand and watch the crowd for about 5 minutes bemusedly wondering where the computers on those desks are getting their source of power, and whether I really should jump into the fray as well. At the same time, my eyes are busy scanning the crowd looking for someone who might be an official that I can target directly. I see one sitting in a nearby bush with the Voters Registers in his hands. I make a beeline for him and thankfully, after I remember which surname I had used to register (this whole marital status thing confuses the name order), I find my name and picture in less than 15 minutes and I get a ‘tick’ against my name. At this point I ask if it would be possible to get my ID as well and I am told that it would not be possible since this was not my Zone. I would have to wait another week or so before they moved to my Zone.

Ten days later, the National ID team ‘opened up shop’ in my Zone. I was in luck because they were literally next door. Despite the huge disorganized crowd, I still made my way into the midst of the mass and asked how the process was supposed to go. One, very frustrated gentleman told me, “I have been here since 9am (it was now about 3pm), but only 4 people have walked out of there with their IDs!” J Looking at the number of people waiting to get their IDs or check their votability, I made a quick calculation and finally conceded defeat!! I will get that elusive ID when this Government wills!!

For God and My Country!!

Life Lessons – (Mis)Marriage – Part II

I recently had lunch with 3 of my girlfriends after a very long time. We hadn’t gotten together like that in a while and there was so much to catch up on. But this particular lunch date was special; we wanted to talk about our love lives because one very interesting speaker had just fired us up with his topic on love and sex. And you know how we women are, we love to talk (ok some of you call it gossip), either about others, ourselves or our children.

I’ll call my girlfriends Young Widow, Estranged Beauty and Enduring Wife. I love these three women, and although I am the youngest of them all, they treat me with respect and value my opinion. After listening to these wonderful women’s stories, I couldn’t help but wonder where we, as women, could have gone wrong, in our efforts to be Superwomen; trying to do good, take care of our families and be good wives, mothers, as well as professional and respectable ladies in society. Is it us, is it the men, what is happening to our marriages today?

My friends’ stories go thus:

1. Young Widow’s husband died 2 years ago after a brief 5 year marriage. It was sad and she seemed really devastated, or so we thought. Turns out that her beloved husband suffered from a high level of insecurity, which translated into verbal and physical abuse, alcoholism and general lack of respect for his wife. A few months before his death, he got laid off from work and had to depend on his beautiful wife for pocket money. However, his oversized ego translated this whole state of affairs as her trying to wear the pants around the house, disrespect him and cheat on him with other men. If she was not in the house by 7pm, it meant that she was out with another guy and deserved a beating for it. Her explanations that she had to work late, or was stuck in traffic on her way home only fell on deaf ears.

This mistreatment went on for quite a while until he fell sick, probably due to all the turmoil that was going on inside of him. Doctors could not find what was killing him. It was like he decided to give up on life and even bade his wife farewell in the hospital. She did not believe for a second that he was going to die and went about her daily routine; dropped the kids off to school, went to the office, met clients and did not even tell her workmates that her husband was in hospital because she thought he’d be there for a few hours and come home. Sadly, he died! Just like that!

For a long time after his death, Young Widow was ANGRY at her husband. Angry that he had mistreated her for so long, Angry that he had let her be mother and father to her children, angry that she’d had to be wife and husband, even when he was still alive; and even ANGRIER that he had gone and died just like that and left her with two daughters to raise on her own and debt collectors to boot!! Right now, the Anger seems to have subsided but in its place is the regret that her children will never know their father, and she wishes she had some good memories to hold on to. All she remembers is the hurt and pain, the humiliation, the utter frustration and the constant beatings.

After listening to this heart-wrenching story (well she had shared it with me before but the other girls had never heard it), we encouraged her to try and find love again – she’s young, beautiful, with a good career, and she’s since built her own house where she lives with her children – so finding a companion should be the next logical option! Not according to her though! She still carries huge scars from the pain she suffered, her level of trust is very low, her opinion of men is even lower!

2. Estranged Beauty has been married for more than 10 years now. Even at 40+ years she is a stunning beauty! Not only is she beautiful but she’s also very intelligent. She ranks very highly professionally, managing an international portfolio and commanding a salary that is to die for. Needless to say, she is the envy of many women (and the private fantasy of many men) because not only is she beautiful, intelligent and rich, she is also married to a very handsome man and is mother to 3 lovely children.

Unfortunately, somewhere along life’s journey, the spark between her very handsome husband and her died out leading to infidelity from both parties. On the husband’s part, infidelity was probably a result of low self-esteem and the general feeling of uselessness in his wife’s super life, while on her part, it was probably a case of a more confident and self-assured man who did not see her profession or money as a threat.

About a year ago, the couple decided to call it quits! She moved out with her children and rented an apartment elsewhere. As I write this, she is putting finishing touches to a very beautiful mansion in an upscale suburb in Kampala and is looking forward to moving in with her children within a month or so.

Estranged Wife carries no illusions about reviving her marriage or ever loving her husband again. She’s now engrossed in completing her house, giving her children the best education she has always dreamed for them and maybe finding love some day. I think she’s happy with the current situation and holds no regrets about having gone separate ways.

3. Enduring Wife is a professional woman, married to a handsome and very successful doctor and is mother to 5 children. She has a magnificent beachfront house and regularly spends family vacations with her children in the US (a life most of us dream of!) Over the years I have come to love and admire this lady; her impeccable sense of style always amazes me: she’s always dressed to the nines, her make-up and jewellery never out of place and her nails always beautifully manicured! All this and she’s a mother, a professional, a business woman and also a humanitarian. Enduring wife seems to have it all!

Speaking nostalgically about her husband, she recalled how wonderful and generous he used to be; how attentive and loving he was in their early days, showering her gifts; jewellery, shoes, perfumes, cars! She was crazy about him because he spoke her love language! Now, the good doctor is only driven by money, money and more money. She does not remember the last time they sat down to talk or even go out to dinner because as soon as he sits down after a long day’s work, he literally falls asleep in his plate! If he does not fall asleep, he sits at table with a stack of all the day’s newspapers, as well as all his communication gadgets, as he catches up on what he may have missed due to his busy schedule.

According to Enduring Wife, there’s no saving her marriage. She does not know what she feels for him anymore and to top it all off, she recently spent their anniversary waiting for him to call or text or tell her something special to no avail. When he eventually got home at about 10pm and she wished him a happy anniversary, he looked at her with a puzzled look and said “ooh, ok!” She wants what they had back but she doesn’t know where and how to start, so she has resigned herself to the current status quo. My overly optimistic self kept telling Enduring Wife that it was possible to find their way back to love and that she could rekindle what they had if she really tried but she responded saying that as long as the kids were happy, there is no need to try and bring excitement back between her and her husband.

My girlfriends’ stories left me shell-shocked! All this sounded like the stuff Telenovelas are made of. Lately, I have been patting myself on the back for holding onto my marriage which is now in its 5th year. Despite the fact that we have had our fair share of tough times, we still hold each other in such high regard and hold what we have like ‘fine china’! I couldn’t help but wonder whether we’ll be telling stories similar to my friends’ in 10 years’ time…..literally gave a chill down my spine!
So many thoughts going through my mind now, so few words to express them………hmmmmmmm (big sigh!!)

Life lessons – Marriage

Over the weekend I got a distressed call from a friend, “My husband is cheating on me”, she said. “I wish I could transcribe word for word what I read in his email, but my mind seems to be playing games and has chosen to delete a lot of what shocked me. And what’s strange is that he seems to have picked a very intelligent girl who stimulates his brain…I guess like I used to. I know I don’t anymore because he doesn’t feel the need to have intelligent conversations with me. I think I saw this coming but I was too bogged down with life to do anything about it!”

And therein lies the problem; We get too caught up in the routine-ness of life, the daily stresses of chasing that elusive financial dream, the disappointments in the workplace and the demands of the home, that we forget to nurture the love we once had. We do not realise that the marriage needs as much attention as we give every other thing in our lives. I wouldn’t blame her husband, as I wouldn’t mine were this scenario ever to occur! I hear you gasping in shock and wondering what the heck is wrong with me…..but hear me out.

When a man cheats, especially if he is a good man – or a woman for that matter- we shouldn’t look too far to what caused the problem but within us. After a few months or years of being married, we both stop doing the little things that used to make us feel loved or loving towards the other person – for example, you stopped lighting the bedroom with scented candles – a clear sign that you were in the mood for love that night – putting on the cute negligee that he liked so much, giving him a back- rub and telling him how much you appreciated him. And he stopped coming home early to make dinner with you or talk to you while you cooked, help the kids with theiur homework and tuck them into bed, rub your feet as you watched TV, kissed you in full view of everybody as he dropped you off to work every morning, or even just hugged you at the drop of a hat!!

Now the bar seems like a more fun place to be than home, and his bar friends seem to take centre stage in your conversations. When you have to take a trip outside town, you call a cab to drop you off and he doesn’t even ask when you’ll be coming back because he’s too ‘busy’ working, and you probably would rather your new boyfriend pick you up!!

So instead of good loving we bring, to the bedroom, our fatigue; anger that the landlord is bugging us and so many other creditors; disappointment that the promises hubby made about us being financially free by this time in our marriage are not fulfilled yet; boring sex that only fulfils the purpose instead of expressing love; low self-esteem that is the result of our bosses constant criticism; school fees that seem unbearable yet necessary; an old car that does not want to wake up anymore in the morning; utility bills that won’t go away however much we pay; a fridge that’s threatening to shut down because it sees little or no use for its functions; and a whole host of other day-to-day problems!!

And as these things pile-up, our appreciation of each other diminishes and instead of compliments, all we get AND GIVE, are complaints, complaints, complaints! So as you go to work each morning, both of you are angrier, more unloving and unhappier than you were yesterday. You are deep in thought….he about the unmet sexual needs he has and about that young nubile chic at the office who is exactly what you used to be; and you about the power that has been cut off because he failed to pay the outstanding UMEME bill yet again!!

So when you get to the workplace you need to put on a show…smile for all to see that all’s well. You tell whoever asks about hubby and the kids that all’s well, “we thank God’oh”…until someone takes their time to prod…usually someone of the opposite sex! And whatever you say your wife or hubby doesn’t do, that he/she will do. They will talk to you, listen to you, stimulate your mind, find out how you’re doing everyday, compliment your hair, dress, suit; express anger that you’re all alone with the kids while he’s out in the bar, or that she’s away on yet another work trip and you have no one to cook for you; they will excite your loins and remind you what real sex should be like, and eventually you won’t feel the need to hold onto a marriage that doesn’t make you happy anymore, and a seemingly uncaring spouse. You’ll resist temptation for a while, but only for a while! Eventually, the invetible will happen! And the guilt will make you think you will not be able to do it again, but the excitement will send you there again and again. And as long as you’re not caught out yet, you’ll fall deeper and deeper into a whirlwind of emotion and exciting sex as your marriage breaks down right before your eyes.

So why do I say I don’t blame him? For all the above and more. As long as we don’t realise that we need to work just as hard at our marriages as we do at everything esle, we will continue to have broken relationships, cheating spouses, confused children, and a higher divorce rate. Let’s tune into each other’s frequencies and learn to speak each other’s love language again. Let’s go back to basics..where and how did it all start? What was it that drew you to each other in the first place? Why are you doing things for someone else which you would actually prefer to do for your wife/husband?

Some reading material that will help in this journey if this very long blog speaks to your heart and if you really want to fight for what you’ve got:

1. His needs Her needs – Willard Harley
2. The Five Love Languages – Gary Chapman
3. Fascinating Womanhood – Helen Andelin

From Juba to the rolling hills of Nimule

The decision I made to go to Nimule National Park with the Video coverage crew has been the best decision I have made in a long time!! By 6.30 am on Saturday morning, we’d already hit the road and I was looking forward to what lay ahead. I was not prepared, nor could I have imagined what breathtaking beauty awaited me as we rolled into Nimule, in the Southern part of South Sudan, close to the Ugandan Border!

Just an hour and half’s drive out of Juba, on a newly constructed smooth tarmac road, we arrived in Nimule where a long winding trail of cargo trucks was waiting to be cleared through to go to Juba. This whole week the news has been awash with Trucks being stuck at the border and a fuel crisis hit Juba, simply because the Ugandan side of the border is a mess! I’m embarrassed to admit that a country that is only 2 years old, already has very good roads to its borders compared to a 51 year-old country that has been ‘liberated’ for the last 27 years! Anyway, seeing all those trucks lined up made me feel sorry for the businesses that have suffered this setback for an entire week, but cannot increase the prices of their goods despite the losses they have made.

But I digress….this story is about the beautiful Nimule National Park, not about the economy of South Sudan – that will be for another day.  We arrived at about 8.30am and caught up with our guide, Isaac and the Animal Tracker who were already waiting for us. We set off into the wild and drove through some pretty rough terrain, which, we were informed, is frequented by elephants and rhinos. Our prayer was that we do not encounter any elephants, because, according to Isaac, they have been so mistreated by humans that as soon as they see one, they kill! So all the while, we prayed that we were not in their way. After a harrowing drive, we got to a point beyond which we could not drive. We parked the car, pulled out our cameras and hit the trail….And boy was it some trail!! First rule of the jungle is to strictly follow the Tracker’s footsteps…when he crossed a stream aiming for only particular spots, we did the same, even though it entailed getting our shoes soaked in water, when he went through a thicket, we did the same. This was particularly uncomfortable for me seeing as I am not graced with the height that the South Sudanese have – most of the time, I literally disappeared under the tall grass and emerged on the other side to see if I was still on the right track

After a while, we got to the most AMAZING scenery I have ever seen….the River Nile!! Forget what you’ve been told about the Nile, or what you’ve seen in Jinja….this part of the Nile, The White Nile, is something else…..Words elude me! MAJESTIC, MAGNIFICENT, VIOLENT, ROMANTIC, AWESOME are a few I can think of.  The force with which the water run, the cascading falls, the rapids, the beauty, the awesomeness….gosh, I was gobsmacked. There were 4 sections – Falls 1, Falls 2, 3 and 4! Imagine, to this day, this place is still very, very virgin – undiscovered, untapped, uninterrupted! I made an amateur’s video which I will share with you my dear readers so you see what I’m talking about. By 11 am we had some amazing shots – with me behind the still camera! We took off to our hotel and waited out the scorching sun before heading out again to shoot more fantastic scenery.

Suffice to say, Day One was a huge success!

Day Two, we tracked Elephants!! What an experience!!

Isaac, our guide, had planned that we would get up early, go to the pier somewhere, and catch a boat to the inner parts of the Park where we would track elephants and other wild animals. I was rather skeptical about having to be on the Nile for 30 minutes after what I’d seen of the Nile the previous day but I was assured that all would be well even if  the boat had no life jackets.

We were up by 6.30am and on the road by 7am. God must’ve heard my prayers because as soon as we called Isaac he informed us that the elephants were actually on their side of the park, “Commando” Village, and that we needed to hurry up to catch up with them. Remember we are not supposed to make noise because they would attack us, and we can only follow the Tracker’s trail. And we were in luck! After a few minutes walk, we found the elephants. OMG!!! Those animals ARE HUGE!!! I clicked away at my camera, zoomed in until I thought the animal was right in my face! They must’ve smelt us then because  they suddenly took off!!

Elephants

Elephants

Turned out we were chasing a large herd of elephants – through the thickets, down the valleys, up the mountain, we went. All the while I was dodging thorny bushes, sharp rocks, and I was inwardly praying there were no snakes in that long grass. I was soooo inappropriately dressed too!! Short sleeved Tshirt, Flared jeans, and some ‘canvas’ shoes that wouldn’t really pass for trainers. All the guys in the team had army boots on, trousers tucked into their socks and there I was, no socks, nothing….So my fear of snakes was justified. Two guys had AK47s, one had a nice cute little pistol tucked away in his belt!! (I’m coming to the part of how I saw that little pistol).

Anyway, so there we were, in the middle of bush, simply depending on where the tracker went, following this herd of elephants we could not see. And today I finally understood the meaning of tracking animals!!  We must’ve walked at least 15km. And right there I came to the realisation that I really need to start working out again!! Eeeeeeish!! I panted my way up the hills, all the while trying to be brave, thankfully my cameraman, Ray, also asked for timeout at some point and I rode on that. Most amusing though was this old man who is also a tracker. We first met him yesterday and I asked them what he was doing in Commando village. I was duly informed that he was a tracker and I expressed my disbelief that someone so old could walk up and down those hills. So when we got there this morning, Old man threw on an old shirt, a pair of shorts, and a pair of gumboots on his feet, grabbed his AK47 and was ready in a flash!! You can’t imagine how much I laughed!! And then later how ashamed I was that I laughed….that old man turned out to be the one who picked me up everytime I fell, who held onto my hand to pull me through some thickets, and he carried both his gun and the tripod stand for the camera with ease. Not once did he break a sweat and there I was inwardly crying for my mama!! We communicated in a mix of broken Swahili (on my part) and broken English (on his part) and by the end of the day we’d become really ‘tight’!! Hahahaaha….

My dear old man

My dear old man

Then we got a little scare…Some silly baboons, sitting high up on a tree, watching our every move, took it upon themselves to warn the elephants that they were being trailed. So the elephants also decided to lay a trap for us! According to the trackers, we got surrounded. Suddenly we saw elephants behind us, above us and on both our sides. I, not really knowing what that meant, just kept clicking away at the elephants I could see. That’s when I saw these guys take their guns off their shoulders and the other guy (turns out he’s a Judge), pull out his cute little weapon! Then I knew we were in trouble. I looked at Ray and he was simply sitting there looking stunned!

The decision was then made that we head towards the top of the ‘mountain’ away from the elephants. Up and up we went, till I could walk no more. ….and neither could my shoes! They split right there in the thicket….mounds of muddy water, etc had taken their toll on the poor shoes.

The shoe that gave way

By the time we reached the summit, we’d given up tracking elephants and decided they were too clever for us. Then the descent started!! Yeeeeeey!!!! I must’ve fallen at least 10 times, according to Ray who was laughing away in the back, but my Mzee was ever so helpfu; picking me up, telling me to watch out, etc. After about 15 mins of that painful descent, and with thorns nicely lodged in various parts of my butt (: we finally got to the bottom of the hill. By this time I’d given up on my torn shoes and I had acquired an interesting walk cum dance as a result of the stones and thorns that were piercing my feet.

Braving the stones and thorns after my shoes gave way

Braving the stones and thorns after my shoes gave way

As a token of appreciation, I donated my once closed shoes to Mzee to have them fixed and given to one of his children. He was quite happy actually and I didn’t feel so guilty for donating old things!

Aaaaaah, what a day!! I thorougly enjoyed myself and here I am, back in Juba but already planning my next trip to Nimule National Park, this time appropriately dressed and fit!!

Alhamdulillah!!

A Cool Friday in Juba

Woken up to a very cool day….cloudy and rainy at the same time…the sun is not angry today…guess it realises there’s no point in being mad on a Friday when everyone is laid back. Everyone’s still hard at work tho, or hardly working, but working nonetheless. I, on the other hand, I’m totally enjoying this respite from the heat. On an ordinary warm sunny day in Kampala, I struggle to stay sane because the heat drives me up the wall; in Juba where the day’s low is 26C and the high is anywhere between 26 and 32C, I feel like a pastry in an oven at 150C!! So today, I am almost happy!  And to top it all off, I have just enjoyed a wonderful local meal of something called “Kisra” which looks like Ethiopean “Anjarra”…with a sauce made of lentils, something whose name I cannot pronounce in a nice kafunda!

IMG-20131115-00209

 

The EVENING

These two beautiful South Sudanese ladies have treated me to a beautiful night out in Juba….First we went to a nice Coffee Shop, The Bistro, where I tucked away on a yummy black forest cake and some nicely made Hot Chocolate.  We then moved on to Logali House, a beautiful old residential house, which has been transformed into a lovely restaurant. Its nice to see that the social scene in Juba is actually picking up…I also got an offer to go to a night club or something, but I’ve chosen to pass on that one….Call me a coward but politically, things are a little volatile. The President dissolved the entire structure of his SPLM Party this evening, and hearing what the South Sudanese have to say about the implications of what such a move could have on the Country, I chose to take the cowards’ way out and seek refuge in my secure Compound.

Oh, and I also got to hang out with a few ‘celebrities”…Two Freedom Fighter’s daughters, the President’s daughter, and a former Tusker Project Fame Contestant, Mer. And like I said yesterday, these gals give my ‘accent’ a run for its money!! I catch myself sounding like Robin Kisti and I cringe…..lolesst!!! So here’s a picture of “shiny” me with the cool Mer…IMG-20131115-00212

Good night World…

 

The Juba Chronicles still linger on…

IMG-20131114-00204Today was a good day….very hot, but a good day nonetheless. I finally started to enjoy my time here despite the pounding headache I’ve had all day.

First we had a good meeting where I impressed a Minister (she told me so herself, so I’m not bragging)…then my wonderful new friend Agy got an offer letter to work with the Forest Whittaker Foundation!! Forest Whittaker guys, the real deal!! If you met my friend and her level of sophistication then you’d believe her when she says she had an interview with Forest, right here in Juba!! That’s the other thing I’ve found surprising about the Sudanese I’ve met here…, most of them are rather sophisticated, speak with American accents (and you know how we Ugandans are thrown by such things), they dress like supermodels and when they talk about their holidays, its Milan, Madrid, Barcelona, New York….eeeish!! I feel like a real “muna Masaka” when I’m around them.  (I hope Agy is not reading this  (:

So anyway, back to why today was a good day….Ever since I got here, my colleagues and I have complained about this and about that, failing to realise that every time we complain we drain more energy out of ourselves and feel more demoralised. Today, though we each seemed to have worked through our depressions….Agy “checked out” and went to see some beautiful scenary out of town; Pat had a fight and a reconciliation with her team mates; Di took time to laugh and go home early for a change – she even wished I was her HR Manager because of my concern for her well-being; while I, hmmmmm, what did I do…Iiiiii I took a nap!

So to celebrate Agy’s offer we went out to a nice new place called Juba Xpress Inn. Like most hotels in Juba, its owned by Eritreans, but this particular one is one classy joint! I think I have finally found a place I can hang out in this town…the cocktails were to die for, the food was good and the owner, a very friendly fellow was on hand to ensure that we got whatever we wanted. I had to bite my tongue not to ask him where he got the money to put up such an investment and how much it cost him, coz it sure seems like it cost a pretty sum.

So that was Juba today….Tomorrow, I just might go check out the wild animals in Nimule National Park…I hope I have a lovely story to tell about that….Insha’allah…