Saturday, February 23, 2013

Mulalu or Psychotic Disorders?

When tragedy decides to rear its ugly head, we are often caught off guard. Sometimes it will let slip and provide for ample time for the soon-to-be-suffering family to prepare, to adjust to what is about to happen.
In my opinion, most times there is no warning. As I sit here typing out this column, unbeknown to me, there is a chance that the wires that make me tick are on the verge of a meltdown.
People would then say: “He has lost his marbles, wires have snapped, he has gone doo la li, he has lost the plot” and so on. Yes, those are the words we use today though Google tells me that the social or rather the clinically acceptable way to describe such a person is to say:   organic brain syndromes, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and other psychotic disorders.
The painter Vincent Van Goth lost the plot that he cut off his own ear, while the ilk of Joseph Stalin and Pol Pot – well, we all know what they did. But they were people I had never met, so it’s never bothered me.
Closer to home, Friend called. He was in a spot of bother. His sister had ‘lost the plot’ and there was a need to take her for a stint in Butabika. To be honest, nothing could have prepared me for what I was to see over the next couple of weeks.
When we got to Sisters abode, she had barricaded herself in the house. The compound was no longer a neatly trimmed compound but seemingly part of the Amazon rain forest that had migrated to Uganda.
To get her out of the house, we had to break the door down and when we got in, it resembled a scene from a Quentin Tarantino movie. Maggots were slithering all over the kitchen and fridge. Dog poop was everywhere. The dining room table and all it held looked like a tsunami had ripped through them.
As the gravity of the situation soaked in, Sister on the other hand, could not see what the fuss was all about. In her opinion, she was okay. Her wires were firmly welded on so what was with all the talk about Butabika. But she had to go.
Getting her there was not easy and the following day when we checked in on her, there were two tales – hers and the doctors. She of course was ‘okay’. Doctor on the other hand had a different story. Yes she has lost the plot and yes, she needs to be with them for a while, for she is a danger not only to herself but to the public too.
Sister was fortunate to be in a private ward. Those in kayola ward are usually dumped there, abandoned and disowned by their families and at a time when they most need family support.
While Sister got the support she needed, there was a need to reflect because tomorrow it could happen to any of us and for sure as hell, I would not like to be abandoned to the dogs by my family in Butabika.
However, Butabika is not all doom and gloom. I applaud the administrative staff, for it is far cleaner, more organized and a better run hospital than Mulago and many of the private hospitals.
Next time we see a mad man or woman, let’s not shout out mulalu or throw stones at them for they are still human. What has happened to them is unfortunate and remember, tomorrow it easily could be one of us.            

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Jajja In The Golf, Dracula and Gifted By Nature

I was involved in a car accident last week. It was nothing major – no ambulance or police required. While I was shopping in Shell Bugolobi, a Golf with all the trimmings – bling rims, low profile tyres and tinted windows reversed into to my ride which necessitated a new headlamp and indicator.

A Golf with all the trimmings = A young chap who spent his first salary in the bond putting a down payment on it.

Obviously I was vexed and didn’t wait for him to get out of the Golf. I took the battle to him, yanked the door open with a furore that surprised me and as my favoured word – tumbavu (fool) that is, was about to splatter all over the dashboard, there was an urgent need to take it back into my mouth.

At the wheel, there was no 25-Year-Old but a Jajja and a female Jajja at that. Had I been a doctor, I would have classed her as a geriatric but seeing am not one, I have to make do calling her Jajja because it is not polite to call old folk geriatrics.

Jajja so I found out, normally drives a Jajja car, a Nadia but, 25-Year-Old-Son had taken it for servicing and offered her his Golf to get round. She also told me that it has a mind of its own and when I pressed her on it, she said: “A little pressure to the accelerator and it shoots off.”

Okay Jajja, that’s a Golf for you, but what about my headlamp and indicator? I was not bound to slap the 150k out of her and when she suggested we exchange numbers I accepted. She was a Jajja, what else could I have done?

It all ended on a good note for the following day, 25-Year-Old-Son called and did the needful.

Talking of geriatrics, the ruler of one of the most secretive countries in the world and who, bears a striking resemblance to Dracula, threw in the towel and resigned – something that has not happened in 600 years.

But what becomes of him? Does it mean he will have to refund the name - Benedict XVI which he picked when he became Pope and revert back to the plebe name of Joseph Aloisuis Ratzinger that he had? Is he required to do a handover and account for the per diem he got whilst he was in office? More importantly though, is there a scandal brewing that we don’t know about hence his decision to quit? All Catholics must be on bunkenke (peeing in their pants) at the thought.

Uganda is surely ‘gifted by nature’. I was in Jinja taking a drive past the Bujagali Falls dam, when I stumbled upon a hidden gem. I really should not be telling you about it because you will all go there and ruin the place.

It’s called Wildwaters Lodge and it’s in the middle of River Nile with a fast flowing rapid on either side. More importantly the chaps at the National Forest Reserve have them under a microscope that they have to promote ecotourism. William Pike and Cathy Watson, who, are so passionate about trees will be happy to know that for every tree that was chopped down to build the lodge, another one was planted in its place.

Now that I have let the cat out of the bag, I am sure the charcoal dealers will be descending on the area. By the way Jajja, you really can’t use a subwoofer to listen to CBS radio. As William Kakaire will tell you, a subwoofer is meant for Snoop and Dr. Dre!

Monday, February 11, 2013

The Nose That Sniffs The Deal

It is all in the nose and for that, I spent the best part of last week in Entebbe - not because I was summoned by State House or I was flying out. I was there because of the launch a luxury private jet.

When it comes to flying, I don’t fly First or Business Class but Economy or in Uganda speak, Kayola Class. Anybody flying and especially long haul, First or Business Class is the mode of travel. However, there is a ‘but’ as in the cost factor. I don’t have the dime for a First or Business and that is why I make do with Kayola Class.

If I had ‘the nose’, I would probably be First Class like Charles Mbire. Mbire has ‘the nose’. So he is a Mukiga but his nose is not long and pointed. His nose is robust and has the ability to sniff deals just like the noses of Sudhir Ruparelia, Patrick Bitature, Gordon Wava and the other tycoons who run this country.

Mbire sniffed a deal – the luxury private Vista Jet, while the rest of us were getting blazed in a kafunda. When the jet landed in Entebbe, it was a sight to behold.

And while we did we did not fly out, the one hour I was in the jet, I felt on par with other private jet owners like Donald Trump and Bill Gates. Swirling about in the wide leather seats complete with a set table and a bottle of chilled champers, the stewardess told me I could fly out and be in Paris for breakfast, London for lunch, catch the Barcelona/Real Madrid match at the Nou Camp in Barcelona and be back in Uganda in time to go clubbing. And being the ‘tycoon’ that I was, I also took myself to the back of the plane and flopped into bed for a power nap until reality set in when they threw me off the plane.

It did all did not end there, for I met an Indian, a Canadian Indian – Mohamed Awad. Like Mbire, Awad has a nose that sniffs out deals. Awad, so I found out, was the first person to open up a duty free shop in Entebbe airport and that was in the turbulent 80s when the mufu – President Obote was still ruling.

While we were cowering under our beds as the bullets flew and telling him (Awad) that his airport venture won’t work, he and his father were busy at the airport opening shops including Karibuni Lounge which, is a haven for First Class and Business Class flyers.

Awad further stretched his nose to duty free shops in Kilimanjaro, Zanzibar and Dar es Salam airports that today he owns a regional empire.

What I really liked about the day in Entebbe airport apart from enjoying the fine comforts of Karibuni Lounge and the Vista private jet, was watching the noses, the noses that sniff the deals at work like Stanbic Bank’s East Africa Chief Executive, Kitili Mbathi and Tony Gadhoke, the MD of Mukwano who were briefly there. Even Elvis Sekyanzi sniffed part of the deal because Silk Events was there too.

By the way, on my way home I passed a truck carrying matooke that had overturned on Salama Road. Perhaps I should have stopped and sniffed to see if there was a deal in the making for it would be a shame to find out that Mbire and Awad had passed the same truck, sniffed the deal, got paid and flew in sheer Vista Jet luxury to London, Dubai and New York.

Monday, February 4, 2013

The Mosquito, The Grafitti Artist

According to Google, the Egyptians invented the mosquito net. It was and still is a good and cheap invention and as long as malaria continues to reign, the net is here to stay.
However, what the Egyptians did not think about was how to stop the mosquitoes from getting into the net. The other night and feeling all lethargic, I didn’t have the energy to sit up and roll the net down - a process that would have taken less than five seconds and with little or no effort.
But I couldn’t be bothered until the mosquitoes got the better of me. And with that, I sat up and pulled the net down. All should have been well until at some ungodly hour I woke up – not because I wanted to wake up but two or more mosquitoes had gotten into the net and were wreaking havoc on me.
That got me thinking. Which is the better of the two evils – to sleep without a net and get bitten or to sleep with a net that has two or more mosquitoes in it and still get bitten?  
I opted for the latter. The following morning, I saw them. The first was so heavy with blood that it barely moved when I shook the net. The other two, equally as heavy flew straight into the palms of my hand where they met their death. They had so much blood in them that with hindsight I should have taken them to Nakasero blood bank and have them donate my blood.
Moving on, it happened. I was in the depths of Mukono – some place called Kawuga when my stomach started acting funny that there was an urgent need to be on a toilet. The toilets (pit latrines) that were on hand were not ideal when you have a spot of daios about to erupt.
But there was plan B. Drive to Jobiah hotel and use their toilets. The toilets were clean except they were not sit down toilets but squat down toilets and as you all know, the mechanics of squatting down especially when you have daios is no easy affair. There may be a need to hold onto a wall for support and you really can’t linger in there as you can in a sit down toilet where, you can have a smoke or even read a book.
In a squat toilet, it’s all about doing your stuff and getting out as fast as possible. So there I am squatting down and holding onto a wall for support and worried that the daios spray might go all over the place when I look up and see that somebody has written all over the door. When I say written all over the door, I don’t mean the entire length and width of the door, but at squat level!
Pause for thought. Now what sort of man goes to a squat toilet, squats down to do his stuff, has one hand on the wall to steady himself then looks up at the door and just like that whips out his pen to write his name on the lower half of the door?!    
The mind boggles for to reach the door, there was a need to lean forward, re-adjust the positioning of his legs and hand holding the wall, whip out the pen and think of what to write. And he is doing all this while doing his number two!
Enough of that crap. On a happier note, congratulations go out to Pompi and Winnie who got married last week. Make it work Pompi!   

Expelled From School And Sent to Prison

I was fortunate enough, that during my academic career, I was never suspended or expelled from school – not because I was a good boy who to...