Sunday, September 27, 2009

The Half-Marathon Wedding

The Half-Marathon Wedding

So Soo and I have decided on a half-marathon wedding. After finishing up 12 miles today, we moseyed on over to the wedding expo going on at the at the UMA show grounds to check out the offerings and the abundant possibilities in Uganda.

If we're going to run 21km during our nuptials, she's going to really need a hair style that will hold up in the heat and weather... especially if it's a rainy day. We cannot come to a consensus about the track suits. I proposed white--it's a wedding-- but Soo pointed it out that it's pretty dusty here, and they'd be dingy before we got to the check points where we'd exchange rings and completely orange long before "I do".

We're definitely not going with a cake from Hot Loaf Bakery. Their free samples at the expo spoke for themselves.

The expo was great for ideas, including chocolate fountains. Katurah Kamugasa did well. I was pretty skeptical, but I was proven wrong.

As far as entertainment goes, I'm going to leave you with this:

Fly by Blu3. I love, love, love this song by these amazingly beautiful and fun women. It's my current dance anthem, and I think it should be yours too. I've got a more elaborate post about Blu3 in the works. In the mean time, do my girls a favor and vote for them to win at the MTV Africa Music Awards (MAMAs)!!!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Doctor, Doctor!

Doctor, Doctor!
(One mo' 'gain... I tried to make this post earlier this week but was defeated by the blogger gremlins.)

Back to doctors... Yes, Doctor is a title that does carry with it a high degree of respect and prestige. Usually it means that you've done a hell of a lot of studying, taken insanely difficult exams, researched, researched, researched, and paid some university a ton of money (or have a heavy load of loans hanging over your head). For others (like the one on the billboard in the photo above), it simply means waking up one morning and thinking: Gee, I think I'll be a Dr. today.

It seems like being a Dr. is all the rage these days. At the same time that billboard was prominently displayed around the city, there were some bright orange signs posted on lamp posts advertising some event that was being sponsored by Dr. Sudhir Ruparellia. Dr. Sudhir? (Confusion on my part.) I missed something somewhere, so I asked a friend (who keeps himself more abreast with developments in Ugandan pop culture than I do) for some clarification, and he informed me that, yes, Sudhir had been awarded an honorary doctorate from some university out West. That some university out West happens to be the Uganda Pentecostal University in Fort Portal, one that has a history going all the way back to 2003.

The confusion I experienced is not an uncommon phenomenon that occurs where someone who has been awarded an honorary degree and decides to use the title Dr. I'm not going to break into a discussion of ethics on that issue (it is generally accepted as okay in several places), but I do agree that it causes an amount of confusion as to a person's actual qualifications.

And being awarded an honorary doctorate (which is usually done to recognise someone's significant contributions to a specific area of study or society at large—Sudhir received his degree because of his outstanding business services in Uganda, his investment in education and the promotion of multiculturalism) places Dr. Sudhir in an exclusive group of world citizens that include...

Kermit the Frog,

who was awarded his Doctorate in Amphibious Letters from the Southampton College in 1996. Among Kermit's contributions to society is teaching us all that it's not easy being green.

Ms. Dolly Parton was awarded an honorary Doctorate in Humane and Musical Letters by the University of Tennessee Knoxville in May 2009 . Dolly's contributions to society include starting the Dollywood Foundation that has distributed over 20 million books in the US, Canada and UK, awarding financial assistance to students from her local community for over 30 years, and raising over $1,000,000 to build healthcare facilities in her home county. For her philanthropy, Dolly has been recognised with the Woodrow Wilson Award for Public Service from the Smithsonian Institution. Oh, and then there's the entertainment. The woman has has composed over 3000 songs, stared in classic films like 9 to 5 and Steel Magnolia. She's already been awarded the Kennedy Center Honors, the National Medal of Arts, the Living Legend award from the Library of Congress, membership in the Country Music Hall of Fame, the Songwriters Hall of Fame and the Grand Ole Opry, seven Grammy Awards, 10 Country Music Association Awards and been nominated for two Oscars.

That's Dr. Dolly, y'all!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Small Towns Get the Best Names

Small Towns Get the Best Names

I'm from the rural South (of the US). I'm from a small unincorporated community call White City. Interpret that how you will. I've heard it all before... And you might be right.

Geography lesson: also in the rural South, we find a place called...

Yes, tucked away in Sumter County in western Alabama is a small unincorporated community whose citizens, I'm sure, have caught more flack than I ever have because of the name of their home area... Small town proud!

Also from the great state of Alabama...

Amber Louise.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Just To Be Fair

Just To Be Fair

I do like to poke fun at the media, bad journalism in particular. I've made a few jab at reporters here in Uganda and their badly-reported stories. Well, I came across a great one from the BBC, so I must pass it on... To be fair. It's a short one, so I'll copy and past it below.

The Ugandan capital is waking to streets littered with stones and burnt tyres used during running battles between rioters and security forces in Kampala's business district.

At least seven people are feared dead in violence sparked by a disagreement between police and a senior official from one of the country's four ancient kingdoms, Buganda.

The official had been stopped from entering the Kayungaa surburb.

Deep into the night there was further rioting in Kampala, as Joshua Mmali reports.

Mr. Mmali not only spelled Kayunga incorrectly (I acknowledge that it could be a typo), but he referred to it as a suburb. It is much more than that; it's a district of Uganda. Do you research! Or just look at a map. Because of the brevity of this report, I think taht it is all the more important that the fact be correct.

On a positive not, I do agree with his choice of the word "sparked" instead of "cause by" or "because of". I think "sparked" more accurately describes the relationship between the parties' disagreement and the violence.

Is the situation any better today? I was wishfully thinking earlier, but we ended up closing school early today so people could be sure to go home safely. Three teachers were unable to come to school today. These of some of my friends' facebook status updates:
  • is at a "riot party" with colleagues.
  • About 6 people dead and 2 were in Kansanga, Am in Muyenga now so its too close. Apparently 2 Bakiga killed. This is not just about visiting Bugerere. Hatred has been building.
  • there are gunshots outside my workplace... gotta get home.

My personal experience is not that exciting. I continued with my marathon training and ran intervals at the Kololo airstrip this afternoon. I felt the area around Lugogo to be eerily quiet. I'm now having a relaxing evening in Mbuya.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Sh*t Hitting Fan

Sh*t Hitting Fan

I'm somehow fine in my world (behind a steel door, four concrete walls on the second floor in relatively privileged neighbourhood, and all of my delusions), but all is not fine in the world of others. Here are few Facebook status updates from friends around Kampala over the last few hours:

  • I wonder why 7,000 banyala could b da cause of so much contention. Dis violence has even extended up to rural ntinda! Intrigue drama,scandal or madness.these r terible times.
  • Just watching news, didn't realise how bad the riots were.
  • Riots in Kampala?!! Police stations burned and people dead in the streets... What do the Baganda want to achieve-they're own sovereign state???
  • Kampala is on fire. Riots and tear gas and burning cars. I'm safe.
  • is caught up in fighting that he has no role in. Bullets, roadblocks, bonfires, traffic n army soldiers everywhere. I miss home right now.
  • Teflon vest anyone..? ;-P this gunfire just won't let up.... it's official am concerned for my safety...and urs...
  • the sound of gunfire outside my window kinda bothers me... hope u guyz r safe.

Suburbia has it's benefits; however, from the sounds of the reports, it sounds like the chaos is spreading out of the city center.

What's the cause of the vandalism, destructions and killings? Well, like most things in this world, it's complicated. You can read about the goings-on and causes by checking out these links.

Personally, I believe people's frustrations run deeper than the Buganda-Central Government issues. A friend of mine who is at Makerere University (and not of the ethnic group mentioned in the above news reports) sent me a message and told me students (not all of the ethnic group mentioned in the above news reports) were planning to get involved in the ruckus in protest over the recent increase in tuition. I think there are many people who are frustrated for just as many reasons. There are many straws on this proverbial camel's back. One finally broke it and all hell seems to be breaking loose... in some areas... not yet in Bugolobi. We're happy and secure in Bugolobi. Shangri-La. Right?

Because I'm a bit of a chicken sh*t, and almost always overly cautious, I did not go for a run this evening. I took the opportunity to plan my marathon training. That's right, I'm making the commitment to the 42km. I did it two years ago, so I know exactly what I'm getting myself into. That's what's scaring the sh*t out of me. Below is the running schedule I decided I'm going to follow.
I just thought I'd share it with you because I'm going to need a lot of encouragement to motivate me to train. And I've got to train.

Enough about my trivial challenges. My heart goes out to all those who are facing a much more serious challenge around Kampala at this moment.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Not Ready for Prime Time

Not Ready for Prime Time

So I'm not able to catch the season premier of Glee tonight on FOX.
I guess I'll survive. There's plenty of entertainment around these parts... especially in the newspapers. I often point out stories from the New Vision, Uganda's leading daily (for reasons that might include but are not limited to writing "curved" instead of "carved"). But not today. I'm going to the "independent" Monitor newspaper.

Monday's headline:

Now that's what I call entertainment!

Do you remember that episode towards the end of season two of Veronica Mars when Veronica visits Hearst college and Maeby Fünke gets her head shaved; it's the same one where Maeby's cousin, Michael Cera, is Veronica's orientation leader and that X-Man-drug-dealer boy shows up again. Well, in this episode, Michael Cera leads his group of future freshmen in a game of two truths and a lie. That game is what reading this article made me think of. Fun!

Tuesday, September 08, 2009



I'm the first to point out that I have delusional tendencies. I love to pretend that I reign supreme--just ask anyone who has the privilege of working under my supervision. Yes, in my world, I'm pretty damn important. It's my way or the highway.

My delusional world is not a lonely one; it is full of most of the landlords in Kampala. Have you tried to rent property lately? There just seems to be too many place values utilised with the rents of too many properties around town. True, I'm no real estate expert, but I'm not completely unfortunate when it comes to intelligence.

I mean, I was handed promotional material for a new rental property located in the city yesterday. This is what they advertised:

The photo is quite misleading. The place is not that spacious with two pools. It's the same building, just two views with the photos joined together. I actually had a chance to explore one of the units. Three words: tiny and cheap. I won't go into much detail about the workmanship, including the haphazard placement of the moulding in the bathroom I saw or the chipped cheap tiles.

They also claim:
Did you notice the word 'free' on this list. Free? The tenant is paying over $2000 a month for a shoebox. They have paid for that damn wireless internet... and then some. But I guess that says it all. The tenants have paid. And they are still paying; they're moving in and they're not moving away. There's a fool born everyday, and there is someone out there to profit from that. Is that wrong? I guess deep down, I really think it is.