Saturday, December 17, 2016

The Kyalo Christmas Migration

“As he leads the herd - sometimes down treacherous routes as they migrate across the country to far flung tracks of land, Alpha Male is in control. Huddled behind him are the females, the young and the new born. Younger Male – eager to learn and observe the technicalities of the migration, watches and picks up titbits from Alpha Male because in a few years, he would have grown and left the group to lead his own herd on the migration.”   

No, this is not commentary from a David Attenborough National Geographic documentary on the wildebeest migration from the Maasai Mara in Kenya and down to Tanzania’s Serengeti Plains but, commentary of a human migration from Kampala to Kisoro, Bushenyi, Koboko, Kitgum, Rwakitura to wherever and in my case, Ibulanku, for Christmas in kyalo.

Where human migration differs from animal migration, is all too evident in the picture below. We humans all wake up at the same time and we all want to migrate to wherever at the same time and to get there at the same time. Nothing wrong with that, except in our being impatient, we end up causing traffic jams in Busega, Bombo and Jinja roads and many other places. If only we were as patient, organised and adopted a single file like the camels below, perhaps Julio would have gotten to Bushenyi, Doc to Lira and Nodin to Fort Portal way before the 8:00pm kyalo bedtime hour.     

When the herd rumbles out of Kampala in the wee hours of the morning in 4x4 rides, in two corporate offices – those of water and electricity suppliers, PRO will beam as he cracks open a bottle of champagne. You see, for the past 12 months, his life has been a misery - having to answer a stream of never ending rude questions on social media as to why there is no power or water in Kireka, Muyenga, Namugongo or wherever. Each time, he posts the same response. “Engineer is working on it” or “kindly DM your details.”

He will smirk as he drinks, because he knows we don’t expect piped water or electricity in kyalo and with the migration, who in the empty city will incessantly txt him messages on Twitter or Facebook to ask when power or the water supply will be restored?

The migration also reveals that the average life span of anything that goes to kyalo lasts less than a year. Each year we go to Ibulanku, the 4x4 is packed with the same things - mostly from Nice House of Plastics. Plastic Chairs, basins, plates, cups, jerry cans and all – plastic because Kyalo Peep will break the China plates and glasses no sooner have they been unpacked from the boxes.

Kampala House Girl, if you take her along, will be in her element. She knows Kyalo House Girl exists – but more importantly she knows that they are not on the same level. Kyalo House Girl will be reduced to cooking in the about-to-collapse mud kitchen and using firewood while Kampala House Girl, will be in the smoke free kitchen of the main house using the gas cooker while barking instructions like she is the Madame of the house. She is also aware that she was brought along to supervise and to make sure Kyalo House Girl does not pilfer sugar, salt, cooking oil or a quarter kilo of meat from the 20 kilos of beef that was bought at a stopover in Kyengera.

The beauty about Christmas in kyalo, is the poor of Kampala always look rich and smart in kyalo. In Kampala, people can tell if you are wearing the finest Owino mivumba skirt, blouse dress, shirt or pants - and even underpants and knickers, to some extent. But wear the Owino mivumba in kyalo and they will look like new, in that they came straight off the shelves or hangers at Mr. Price or Sylvia Owori fashions.

Then there is the asset distribution that everybody looks forward to and usually happens two days before the herd returns to Kampala. From the time you landed, Relative would have made note of everything you wore throughout the vacation or saw hanging on the clothes line to dry after being washed and would have ‘booked’ the Sunday Vision T-shirt or the lighter you bought as a by-the-way at Total in Nyendo while, Cousin Rita wants your leggings to wear to her Saturday night outings to the trading centre and Cousin James, he merely longs for the earphones so he can listen to radio as he watches the cows graze.

However, the grand prize that everybody in kyalo wants are not the clothes, the Sunday Vision T-shirt, shoes, lighter or headphones. They want to be gifted with the ‘portable flat screen TV’ (read: Samsung tablet) just like Kyalo House Girl wants Kampala House Girl to gift her the hand-me-down blouse you - Madame Of The House, had given her to wear when you had guests round to celebrate little Martha’s 3rd birthday.

Getting back, if any of you with kyalos in the the east plan on making the migration that way - Pompi, Dr John Bua, Val Oketcho, Winfred Ongom, Mark Muyobo, Don Wanyama (Below), Jemima Na-gundi, the Kyabazinga, Lizel Muwaya, Esther Aster, James Odomel, Spe Kazibwe et al, might I suggest we do a Namawojolo pit stop on Friday at 10:00am for a Coke and some muchomo? Otherwise, everybody have a safe migration to wherever.  

Pictures:, Daily Monitor, Twitter

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