Monday, May 30, 2011

Mesmerised by the Power of Oprah

Mesmerised by the Power of Oprah

After 25 years, Oprah ended her show last week. I remember seeing the Oprah show for the first time when I was in the fifth grade. The Armed Forces Network (AFN) is a little behind with the episodes, so Oprah continues there, for a while at least. On tonight's episode, Oprah revealed her favourite guest ever. I've never been an avid Oprah viewer, but I could not leave Lynne's house until Oprah revealed who her favourite guest was: Tererai Trent.

What makes Tererai so special? I'll let her explain (quote take from Tererai's website):
My name is Tererai Trent I was born and raised in rural Zimbabwe, and my dream growing up was to have an education. I met a woman who inspired me to believe in my dreams; I buried a list of my education goals under a rock where I used to herd cattle. I believed in achieving these against many challenges. The rock where I buried my dreams solidified and grounded me in many ways. I was at peace since I knew I had made a pact with the rock to keep my dreams alive!

Today, I hold a PhD, which allows me to work all over the world, because other people cared enough to help me fulfill my dreams.

Tererai wants to build schools in Zimbabwe. Besides Oprah giving her 1.5 million dollars to achieve her goal, Tererai sells t-shirts that say Tingoma--It is Achievable. Can you even imagine the number of t-shirts she must have sold after this episode on which Oprah named Tererai her favourite guest? Well, increase your guess by two because Lynne and I placed our orders tonight. Yes, Lynne, we just spent $31 each ($62 total) on a t-shirt. The two most frugal people on the planet. Frugal, but with giant hearts. We care. And want to build schools. In Zimbabwe. Did I mention we care? Big hearts! Giant. Enormous.

Or are we simply under Oprah's spell?


If you, too, would like to invest in the future of education for the girl child in Zimbabwe and have your own Tinogona t-shirt, visit Tererai's website and place your order. Even if you're frugal, you can have a heart.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Am I on Glue, Again?

Am I on Glue, Again?

It's been a really fantastic day. Besides the short run I went on this morning (sorry, Robyn, I cheated; it was not my intention; it just kind of happened), I spent the day reading, sleeping, reading some more, napping again, a bit of grooming, reading, sleeping. Ah, it's been lovely.

But my day was not completely stress free, and stress has a name; his name is Waldo.

I am gradually falling in love with the Apple Apps Store. With just the click of a button, fantastic new applications are added to my laptop. Brilliant. Earlier this week, I downloaded Where's Waldo: The Fantastic Journey. In addition to the reading and sleeping I accomplished today, I worked my way through a few levels of this children's game. Let me just say that playing Where's Waldo was the highest stress point of my day. Seeing those stars disappear as time elapsed send my heart racing and probably added two more knots to my back. Oh, and the humiliation of having to repeat two of the levels because I did not complete them with the minimum of three stars remaining added a third knot, this one right at the base of my neck on the lefthand side.


It was fun! Definitely worth the $2.99 I paid.

I had another Elle Wood's moment today and had to ask:


I thought it either had to be that or The Monitor printed it April Fools' edition two months late. But it was neither. Just the reality of the world we live in. The entertaining world we live in. The simultaneously sad world we live in. I'm gonna share my story though links.
  1. Start with this one.
  2. Next read this one.
  3. Finish with this one.
Oh, I laughed. I laughed out loud (LOL).

Sad, sad laughter.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Peaceful

Peaceful

This year's trip to the falls was probably my favourite one yet. Nature was not very friendly to us; it rained the entire first night we were there, providing oodles of mud to make the hiking trail more than a bit slippery the next morning. Within the first five minutes, three kids were on their bottoms. One fell more times than she took steps forwards during the first bit of the hike. My neck and back muscles tensed as I waited for the first tears and cries begging to return to the lodge. But they never happened. They may not look like it on the outside, but these kids are tough. They quickly learned to laugh at themselves, get up and move on. (They couldn't dust themselves off because dust was not available; they were covered in mud, and it would only smear and make their hands dirty.) I did open my mouth and gape a bit with astonishment, and I also swelled a bit with pride.

After a while (and with the help of three additional porters to hold some children's hands to keep them from falling too much), we were pros. So much so that when we encountered a group of young hikers coming up the slippery, muddy path we were heading down and noticed that they were 'dressed to impress' and wearing sandals and flip flops, bewildered by the poor choice of footwear of the 'novice' hikers, my kids had a good laugh, and their teacher, perhaps inappropriately, encouraged it and joined in. But seriously, flip flops. On a hike? In the mud.

Even with the weather, this trip went off like clockwork with no crises to deal with: no breakdowns from the kids, no electronics (which were not allowed on the trip to begin with) going missing, no tantrums over the food, no one thinking everyone else was against him. It was three days of enjoying each other's company and enjoying nature. On the last day, packing up, setting off and getting home to Kampala was a breeze. And we breezed back into town about an hour and a half earlier than anticipated.

Arriving early gave Betty and I a chance to dropped our baggage off and set off to town to witness the five o'clock protest. As I posted before, the walk to work campaign now includes making noise at 5:00pm each day of the week. Working in my cocoon in Bugolobi, I never really know what is going on in town. Betty was in town on Tuesday and told me that what she saw/heard was unexpected and pretty amazing: horns hooting, people banging on doors and gates, jerry cans being beaten, screaming, hand clapping. And after the protesters made their statement, they went back to business as normal. I had to see/hear it for myself.

Going downtown with Betty was like a trip down memory lane. First, we rode tandem on a boda boda. When's the last time I did that? Walking down past Radio One towards Nakasero Market and then proceeding towards the Old Taxi Park, I'd not done this on a busy weekday afternoon since my days as a Peace Corps Volunteer. When five o'clock finally arrived, this is what happened:


And it went on for several more minutes than what you see here. Now, if you notice in the video, business is still able to carry on; there's no major disturbance; it is a non-violent demonstration.

As the noise subsided, Betty and I made out way back up to Kampala Road, stopping first at the Chinese supermarket and buying the last package of nori (more should be here sometime in July). We took a taxi back to Bugolobi (again, something I've not done in a long time, and the time it took plus the recklessness of the driver reminded me why I gave up on matatus a long time ago). After a pop-in at Afred's, I was off to meet up with Lynne, Kevin and Brandon, all three of whom I served with in Peace Corps.

Friday was a peaceful day on so many levels.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Can You Say Kapachorwa?

Can You Say Kapachorwa?

Well that's the destination of today's mission, taking the kids camping. Tucked in the foothills of the mountains in Eastern Uganda are Sipi Falls, a series of falls that includes one of the most picturesque waterfalls you will ever see.

So I'll be away for a few days: no electricity=no internet=no blog posts.

But while I'm on the topic of things related to pictures, isn't this a great photo?



I would love to sit and have a pint with him. That would be a fantastic conversation.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Give a Hoot

Give a Hoot

Who needs fiction when reality is just so damn entertaining?

I'm really surprised at how productive my day has been and how worthwhile this afternoon's staff meeting was. After yesterday's revelation by President Museveni that, "The problem with Ugandans is that they are indisciplined, unserious, alcoholics and extravagant," I'm surprised my colleagues and I ever manage to get anything done. We must be seriously talented. Or maybe I'm the one who is seriously talented, taking up the slack for their indiscipline and unserious-ness. Wow! I'm pretty awesome. And the alcoholism, well that explains a lot, giving me something to aspire to.

So this week, hooting was added to the walk-to-work campaign because the opposition want to "tickle the government". You ask, "What if I'm not in a car because I'm walking to work?" This is still the walk-to-work campaign after all. "Whoever cannot hoot, will bang a table, calabash, saucepan or any tool or instrument that can produce noise for five minutes."

Back when the walk to work campaign was just beginning, I wondered if it would have longevity, and it's inspiring to know that the peaceful protesting through civil disobedience has not fizzled out, even after being responded to with so much violence from the government.

However, the reaction of the powers that be has not been as positive. The police have vowed to arrest the hooters, calling them illegal. The hooters have not consulted them (the police), so their hooting is illegal. Plus the hooters are contributing to noise pollution which can cause fatigue and headaches. You know what else causes headaches? Police batons, so hooters beware!

Remember when giving a hoot was more peace, love and granola bar crunchy?

Monday, May 23, 2011

Touched by a Goddess

Touched by a Goddess

Yesterday I ran in The Source of the Nile Marathon in Jinja. Well, there was no full marathon, so I only did a half marathon (21km). It was great fun, a fantastic time with fabulous friends. I never go to Jinja; I'm one of those rare types that does not care for that river town. It is quaint with some cute eateries, and there are plenty of activities to be done, but it takes something like this run to get me to pay a visit. In fact, the last few times I've visited (the last being almost two years ago) have been in relationship with a running event.

As with the Two Oceans Marathon, I ran with my camera and put together a little video that chronicles my experience at The Source of the Nile Marathon.


During the run, my Goddess of Gorgeous kept popping into my thoughts; it was like Babs was there running with me for several of the kms. I'm not sure what triggered the thoughts, but I really hope that we have the chance to run together soon. Malawi is kind of far away.

Speaking of goddesses, one is being particularly gracious to us these days. Take last night for instance; Britney Spears performed not once, but twice on the Billboard Music Awards stage.


First she joined Rihanna to perform their number one hit, S&M, to start the show,


and the show's finale gave her a chance to be on stage with her future tour-mate, Nicki Minaj. I must say I was not overly impressed with Ms. Minaj's performance. But seeing these two performances really put a smile on my face and made me happy. I hope they did you too

Friday, May 20, 2011

Today's Post is Brought to You by the Letter 'I'

Today's Post is Brought to You by the Letter I

How many words can you think of that begin with I?

Your list might include:
  • incompetent
  • irritating
  • insecure
  • impolite
  • irrational
  • impassable
  • intimidation
  • ignorant
  • iridescent
  • imbecile
  • incomplete
  • immature
  • indisciplined
These are a a few of my least favourite words. I'm exhausted just looking at them, but to deal with them... I need a break.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Java Makes Your Prostate Cheer

Java Makes Your Prostate Cheer

Those who downed six or more cups of coffee a day had a 20% lower risk of developing any sort of prostate cancer, and a 60% lower risk of lethal prostate cancer. Even those who were more moderate, drinking one to three cups per day, were 30% less likely to have lethal prostate cancer — and the benefits were the same, regardless if the coffee was decaffeinated or not.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

The Press and The President and Enemies and Frenemies

The Press and The President and Enemies and Frenemies

Two groups of people I would never want to piss off are librarians and the press. They both wield great power and protect our access to information. Try and stop 'em. You know you're gonna lose... but someone always tries.



Ever the charmer, President Museveni gives his view:


Recovery. The first step to recovery is admitting that you have a problem. Then you blame the media and call them your enemy.

But do you know what you really have to watch out for? Frenemies.



Or enemends.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Good Ol' Boys and a Girl Next Door

Good Ol' Boys and a Girl Next Door

I walked into my office today and found a large Ziploc freezer bag full of books on my desk. The fist question that came to my mind was, "Who the hell put guided readers on my desk?" followed by, "Why?" Turns out they were not guided readers at all, but books that I had recently requested a friend to get for me. See why I shouldn't be so quick to judge? America's sweetheart and favourite girl next door gave the best advice when she sang in 1958: Don't jump, jump to conclusions. I am eager to become acquainted with the new editions to the stack of books on my coffee table which are patiently waiting to be cuddled with and devoured on the sofa, in the recliner, in public, on the floor and in the bed. My new crushes are

Moon Over Manifest by Clare Vanderpool,

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins,

Marching for Freedom by Elizabeth Partridge.

I have another excerpt to share from the book I'm reading now, They Called Themselves the KKK: The Birth of an American Terrorist Group by Susan Campbell Bartoletti. The idea of the KKK alone disturbs me. Where I grew up, the Klan were part of the local mythology. I remember Heath and Daniel, merely boys at the time, dressing up as Klansmen one Halloween and roaming the streets of White City trick-or-treating. Graffiti under the drawbridge, besides informing the world about how good Debbie Dunnigan was, illustrated the esteem at which the community's youth held the idea of the Ku Klux Klan. But I digress, my excerpt for today is:
Today, psychologists explain that people who join groups such as the Ku Klux Klan are insecure and feel a need to belong to something that makes them feel powerful and superior. Perhaps W.E.B. Du Bois, historian and civil rights leader, understood Klansmen best: "These human beings at heart are desperately afraid of something," explained Du Bois. "Of what? Of many things, but usually of losing their jobs, being declassed, degraded, or actually disgraced; of losing their hopes, their savings, their plans for their children; of the actual pangs of hunger, of dirt of crime."
Sound like any group of people you know? I'm afraid of comparing any group to the KKK because I think that my judgement may be too harsh. However, Du Bois' assertion does seem to describe the motivation of many current-day groups. Some groups (good ol' boys) within political and government organisations automatically come to mind, as do the recently-booted-out-of-power dictators and their cronies. People use fear, intimidation and force to cling to power because they fear the loss that might happen next.

Now to cleanse ourselves of the negativity which comes from even mentioning hate groups, corrupt leaders and the like, our sweetheart, Annette.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Waragi Laughing

Waragi Laughing

I have now completed the round trip journey from Kampala to Jinja and back. I am relieved and pleased to announce that I did not hit any children darting across the road; that is my biggest fear when passing through the trading centers along the highway. It happens sometimes (I've never had a personal experience, nor do I want to), and it's tragic.

Thanks to Stacy's continued birthday celebrations, I was motivated to:
  1. finally buy new tires for my car;
  2. get out of Kampala for a weekend.
When I was in South Africa last month, I commented on how picturesque it was. Sometimes it is easy to forget how beautiful it is in our own back yards. Uganda is an amazingly beautiful country. With all that's been going on lately, it has been so easy to get distracted and focus on the negative characteristics of the country. But I have to be careful and remember that I am very lucky to live where I do and make an effort to also enjoy simple and complex pleasures and natural wonders that abound.


So the reality check that Stacy's continued birthday celebrations provided allowed me to enjoy:
  1. the pleasures of the amazing views from the bank of the Nile River;

  2. being a wordsmith during an intellectually stimulating game of Scrabble with worthy, genius opponents;

  3. developing new massage techniques during impromptu twilight therapy sessions.
All views were not pleasant. The hooks along the wall of the shower room were eerily similar to hooks I once saw along the wall of another type of "shower room".

An uncomfortable film could be filmed in this room.

I arrived home early enough today to enjoy a lazy Sunday in my Flat. I popped in a DVD of No Strings Attached. Peter Travers, whose opinion I usually trust and agree with, wrote that the plot of this Ivan Reitman film starring Natalie Portman and Ashton Kutcher "has been recycled since cave dwellers first drew pictures on walls." I agree. However, the script left me hysterically laughing out loud frequently for an hour and forty-five minutes. I cannot guarantee that the ease at which I was induced to laugh was not facilitated by a few ounces of waragi. All the same, I give value to this "generic piece of plastic."

Samples of my favourite lines from No Strings Attached:
  • It seems kind of like carefree.
  • It's like a peanut allergy, like an emotional peanut allergy.
  • Don't dress up your penis, ever.
  • I can't focus on my porn with all this real sex going on around me.
  • Did you make me a period mix?
  • We're sluts, Emma, we're dirty, dirty sluts.
  • No, we don't need her; make her leave.
  • You look like a pumpkin, bitch!...
  • Ring! Ring! It's the pumpkin patch; they want their pumpkins back.
We're not pumpkins!
We're ladies!

Well you're so orange!

Hey, someone call Charlie Brown! We found the great pumpkin!
  • That hole is my bitch.
  • That's why they call him Bones.
  • Because he loves Lil' Wayne, ok? You don't know everything about your dad.
  • I think I'm gonna do it all the time. It's gonna get weird.
I know, the lines are out of context, so they may not immediately spark laughter. Just watch the film. You'll see what I mean. It won't be wasted time. Oh, and a few ounces of waragi might help.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Bounce

Bounce


Love, love, love Kelis.

The weekend is here. It's been a lovely day. It began with a good run with Robyn and Marie, then breakfast at my favourite refueling station, Cafe Javas. Rushed to shower, rushed to pack, and off to The Haven for Stacy's birthday celebrations. Scrabble has never been more fun nor more scenic than when played at a table overlooking the Nile River. Fabulous sundowners (which I recently learned is truly and East African English term) prepared us for a fabulous evening. The South Africans manned the braai.

Still looking forward to the good times ahead.

Peace.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Blowin' in the Wind

Blowin' in the Wind

I really do not like to hear children sing. It just weirds me out, make me feel uncomfortable. The kids from the school's choir performed Bob Dylan's Blowin' in the Wind during assembly yesterday. Now I've just said that I do not like children singing, but it makes me happy to see them perform. (Discuss that one for a while and figure it out.) I was so happy to see them on stage and enjoying their expression. Before I knew it, the words to the song were triggering many thoughts in my mind and bringing some emotions to the surface. Think about all that's been going on in the world news headlines lately (violence in Libya and Syria, jubilation over Bin Laden's death) . Think about what's been happening, locally, in Kampala lately (police and military brutality and general difficulty of many to acquire the necessities of life). How many roads must a man walk down?

Mom came to mind as I listened to and processed the lyrics, and I went onto iTunes to download Peter, Paul and Mary's harmonious version of the song that brings back pleasant childhood memories.



It turned into a Blowin' in the Wind shopping spree on iTunes. I felt like I must have Dylan's original version, and I could not resist folk- and protest-music icon, Joan Baez's, cover of the tune.



It was my discovery Etta James' soul-laced disco (with vocals that made me think of Annie Lennox) version of Blowin' in the Wind that etched a smile on my face. Highly unsuspected and entertaining.



I just love Alanis and think everything she does is emotionally real and pretty great. I didn't find her version on iTunes, but stumbled across it as I prepared this post.


Yes, how many times can a man turn his head, pretending he just doesn't see?

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Rumours

Rumours

At work yesterday, one of the teachers at the lunch table warned us of potential troubles that might ensue during today's inauguration. She said, "You know Besigye is going to try and have his own swearing-in ceremony at Constitution Square on 12th May."

Oh really? Now that would have the potential for disaster, except I didn't believe it was ever true. I've been following the news
pretty closely, and I did not recall ever hearing Besigye say that or read a quote from him related to him having a simultaneous swearing-in ceremony. Where did this rumour come from? Well, if you do a basic Internet search, you will find that one publication has printed a story about Besigye's planned swearing-in ceremony where he "hopes intoxicated youths will cause havoc" (I'm sure that's just what he wants.), and that rag is The Red Pepper.

The other place you will find the supposed simultaneous swearing-in ceremony referenced is during an interview Museveni gave on 21st April on a talk-shop program Mugoba Nsonga on Bukedde Television and Bukedde FM (both Vision Group-owned, which is government owned). When the subject of Besigye's swearing-in came up, the President commented, "Besigye to swear in on May 12 as President is not wise and it will not happen. Anybody who will involve themselves in that, I feel sorry for them..." I feel sorry for anybody who would use a Red Pepper article as a source of information. As Susan O'Chola de Roy succinctly put it: "that's trash journalism."

Besigye's swearing-in is just one of several vicious rumours I've heard circulating around town over the past several weeks. When Besigye was shot with a rubber bullet in the finger, the message I received made it sound like he'd died. Gossip is very ingrained in our society. Some find the spreading of rumours to be fun and interesting, and I must admit that I've enjoyed an earful or two of gossip in my life. However, during certain times, under certain circumstances, and related to certain issues, rumours can be very dangerous.

I'm reading a fascinating book right now call They Called Themselves the KKK: The Birth of an American Terrorist Group. The author, Susan Campbell Bartoletti, explains the role of rumours during the Reconstruction Era in the South of the US, but I think her explanation holds true in most times and situations:

During times of crisis or uncertainty, people often resort to rumours, or stories circulated without facts to confirm the truth, to help them cope with anxieties and fears. Of all the rumours, racial and hate rumours are considered the most dangerous because they are divisive and create hostility that can lead to violence.

When rumours with no factual confirmation begin to be spread around as truth, when tabloids begin to be read as legitimate newspapers, we have a problem. Likewise, when seemingly legitimate news outlets with large audiences present rumour-based material as fact, the problem grows exponentially. Then I get fed preposterous rumours at the staff lunch table.


Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Sharing is Caring

Sharing is Caring

Two stories about sharing as laid out on the New Vision website:


On the playground today, M7 won't share power, but the MPs will share office space.



I think someone might be in need of a Care Bear stare.



Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Sisters Are Doin' It Again

Well Done!
Sisters Are Doin' It Again

They walked. They walked with symbols of work expected of their gender (sauce pans, mortars, etc...). They walked in protest, but they also walked in peace.


Women in white carrying their demands in hand, proclaiming their concerns walked for peace on Monday. I read on the internet today that the spirit that the suffragettes in the UK possessed in the early 20th century was lost in our world. Uganda at times seems a world away from the UK, but some sentiments are universal and do not depend on locale. I hope that Monday's display of solidarity of women for a cause important for all within their society, even when there was the potential for personal harm and/or arrest, is a sign that the spirit is reviving.

I'd read about the planned walk in the newspaper, but the first I heard/read about how the protest went down was via this photoblog (thanks for the link, Kelly). Seeing the photos of the women marching strongly with their placards made my heart swell a bit. This walk had nothing to do with votes (that's a right women have had for a while in Uganda); it was about food and brutal treatment of fellow Ugandans, but I could hear the raspy voice of Mrs. Banks cheering on: Well done, sister...!



Cast of the shackles of yesterday!
Shoulder to shoulder into the fray!
Our daughters' daughters will adore us
And they'll sing in grateful chorus:
Well done, sister...!

My life is one big musical, and I could not pass up the opportunity to get down to this one:



Sing it ReRe and Annie Lee!

Monday, May 09, 2011

Who Do You Trust?

Who Do You Trust?

Words. Words. Words.

As much as I did not like the book, The Book Thief, one important point that it clearly made is the power that words have to bring about good and to bring about great evil. Words have power, hence the words grammar and glamour both coming from the same root and alluding to being skilled at casting spells.

The media cast thousands of words upon us daily, stung together to report to us world event and express various viewpoint on multitudes of issues. Supposedly, their role is to keep us informed about what's going on in our communities and the greater world around us. But from the looks of the newscasters on Headline News, Fox Network and other news outlets, it definitely appears that other values are being embraced and that money (increasing the possibility of misinformation) could be the name of the game. But one does not have to look at foreign or international news outlets to see this. Our local news sources here in Kampala are playing a frustrating game with the public.

Today's reports about the blocked DP rally do not agree on important details.

9th May 2011

From The New Vision: Kiyaga accused the opposition of hoodwinking the Police by first expressing intentions to hold the rally at Kololo airstrip, only to change it a few hours to the set date.

“DP wrote a letter informing us that they intended to hold a rally at Kololo. Arrangements were made on Thursday to meet the organisers at Kololo but they did not turn up,” he explained.

“On Friday, they communicated that they had postponed the rally and changed the venue to Constitutional Square. We shall not allow this.”

From The Monitor: A national opposition rally that was supposed to take place yesterday at Kololo Heroes Grounds was cancelled at the last minute after police blocked it. The Democratic Party was the organiser of the rally, though it had been meant for all opposition parties.

“Police told us they had no problem with it but said the management of the grounds is under President’s Office. They demanded for a letter from the office showing that we have been cleared to use it (ground),” DP president Norbert Mao said.

The recent riots were a very sad event. What really went on? How many people really lost their lives due to excessive use of force? How did all those people get shot if, as one paper reported, the police only used tear gas, batons and water cannons.

29th April 2011

The New Vision: In return the Police and army used tear gas and batons to disperse the rioters.

The Police also used a water cannon truck, which constantly released a colored, itchy liquid into the people.

The Monitor: A police an officer was among the total 84 registered at the medical facility by 12:30pm, many having sustained gunshot wounds. Children and women are among the victims....

The shootings occurred in Katwe, Owino and the Old Taxi Park. Bloody chaos flared up in that congested market due to agitation over earlier arrest of some of the vendors there.


Sometimes, it does not take a reporter to muddle what's really going on. Some people succeed at doing it all on their own.

From Museveni, addressing religious leaders at the closure of a post-election 2011 conference organised by the Inter Religious Council in Uganda (IRCU): "If the religious group gets a donation from government, that money is from the taxpayers of Uganda. I am not selling my cows to give you gifts,” he said.

From Museveni, at the consecration of Bishop Reuben Kisembo in Fort Portal: “People who criticise my donations to churches are wrong because I am a Christian and it is God who helped me go through the liberation struggle to date,” President Museveni said before donating Shs10 million to the new Bishop of Rwenzori Diocese, Reuben Kisembo, who was consecrated yesterday in Fort Portal town.

When I give donations I will be giving back to God what he gave me because donationsare meant to help poor people of God," Mr. Museveni added.
Who is the money from again?

What's its purpose?

To borrow a favourite quote from Elle Woods:

I'm well aware that stories can be told from different angles, and I've had my own experiences with having my words twisted or being quoted out of context. However, I cannot help but think that some of what is being written/said is intentionally being spun to confuse the public and/or incite emotions.

"Who do you trust! Hubba, hubba, hubba! Money, money, money! Who do you trust? Me? I'm giving away free money."

Sunday, May 08, 2011

Still Good in the Sack

Still Good in the Sack

As I said before: It's like riding a bicycle.

This has been a week of fantastic celebrations. Ib's Thursday b-day was magnificent. Friday was Cinco de Mayo on Seis de Mayo and lots of fun with work colleagues. Saturday was a day of pampering at the spa and lounging in the sun by the pool at Emin Pasha to celebrate the day of birth of the fabulous Sibyl Rolle. When I say her first and last names together, I think of Cabaret's Sally Bowles, and the voice Alan Cumming (and don't forget the bring her back when you're finished with her) as the MC comes to mind: The toast of Kampala, Ms. Sibyl Rolle!


Sibyl's celebration was an all-day affair and went into the night. Dinner was at Il Patio. That's two special dinners I've attended in the same number weeks. Being a creature of habit, I sat at the same table in the same chair and was served by the same waiter, Sale, both times. Sale knows how to take care of a large party and surely can hustle. There were about 16 of us, and he served us alone. Drinks were served promptly, meal recommendations were made, all orders were correct, and we never lacked what we needed/wanted. That is why Sale should always be generously tipped. My dinner of Risotto was delicious going down, but because I do not digest rich and oily foods well, it all came back up in an unpleasant and not-so-delicious fashion at about 4:30am.

From Il Patio, some migrated to Cayenne where it proceeded to rain. Well, no one rains on Sibyl Rolle's parade, not even mother nature. A report on facebook this morning asserted: Dancing in the rain in white pants, totally worth it :)

I did not progress to the dancing bit. I went to bed because I had a two-hour run to do at 7:30 this morning. It was a fantastic morning for a run, but it all got bit creepy towards the end of the run. Police were everywhere. Truck loads of them were passing by with sirens on. I have no idea what was going on. Robyn also made an account of it.

Assessment week at school begins tomorrow. It should be a pretty easy week if people can just keep their stress in check. I'm going to try to watch Blue Valentine tonight. Let's see how far I get before I fall asleep!

Saturday, May 07, 2011

Super-Duper: Somebody Please Tell Nicks Who the Eff I Is

Super-Duper:

Somebody Please Tell Nicks Who the Eff I Is

I am Timothy Hatcher...

Super Bass and its accompanying video are two more reasons why Ms. Minaj is my current teenage crush.

Imitation is said to be the sincerest form of flattery, right? Well, Nicks has some pretty high-profile peeps offering up their best and sincerest attempts at flattery.


Selena Gomez's cover has already made an appearance on my blog. It's just so fun!


Taylor Swift's (aka T. Swizzle) rendition is, well, interesting. I feel about as uncomfortable watching her do it as she looks doing it. Very awkward moment for all of us.

There are also hordes of unknown imitators uploading their flattery to YouTube. I have a soft spot for acoustic covers of hip-hop and pop. I cannot wait for Britney to record an album of acoustic versions of her dance hits. I really do enjoy this acoustic cover of Super Bass I stumbled upon today.


At first I thought she was going to rap it, and I felt embarrassed for her, but then she picked up the guitar and made me happy.

Boom, badoom, boom, boom, badoom, boom, bass!

Friday, May 06, 2011

Cinco+Uno=Seis de Mayo

Cinco+Uno=Seis de Mayo

Cinco de Mayo was never enjoyed more than it was by me yesterday. That celebration will go down in my personal history. It was another United Colors of Benetton ad: America, Uganda, sushi, Thai curry, Islam-inspired art and brownies. Life's just more fun when we mix it up a bit.

The celebration took on another form today, and Mexico was not forgotten. After school, margaritas were mixed, avocados were mashed to make guacamole, a few colleagues/friends met at my flat and enjoyed the evening with me. This was the forth time this week that I played host. Loved it.

Around 8:00pm, I migrated over to Afriart Gallery for the opening of Fred Mutebi's exhibition: Wood Collection Since 2000. It was fantastic, fantastic, fantastic. His was my favourite exhibition since George Kyeyune's in September 2010. Mutebi's wood prints were like nothing I'd seen before. He's now been added to my list of artists whose work I must acquire a piece of. I would've loved to have been able to red-sticker a print tonight, but that was not in the stars. This is the piece I wanted to put the red sticker on:

comparing politicians, presidential candidates to be specific, to marabou storks and their appetite for garbage.

Lots going on this weekend! An early bedtime is my desire this evening.

Goodnight.

Thursday, May 05, 2011

Not plastic, please

Not plastic, please
(Actually, you should bring your own damn bag.)

I really hate plastic bags.

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Questioning Discomfort

Questioning Discomfort

In the introductory pages of the brilliant 2004 'tween' novel by Blue Balliett, Chasing Vermeer, the following quote from Charles Fort can be found:

One can't learn much and also be comfortable. One can't learn much and let anybody else be comfortable.

So much has occurred recently that has caused me a lot of discomfort. I'm pretty sure that I've made some people I know--and some that I don't-- fairly uncomfortable lately (making others uncomfortable is a talent I think I was born with), and I can guarantee that I've been up to making myself pretty comfortable on a regular basis. Am I learning loads? I'm not sure. I'm not sure if Fort's quote still rings true when transposed to connect discomfort to learning. Can one be comfortable and learn? Does discomfort bring about learning?

I'm a sharer. It's what I do. What I think I share the most is my opinion. I cannot read something I find interesting and not tell someone else about it. I cannot watch something I find amazing and not recommend it. I cannot be unimpressed with exhibitions and treatment of visitors at MishMash exhibitions in Naguru and at least not mention it on my blog (still processing that one; more details may or may not come). Yes, as Fort stated, I cannot learn much and let anybody else be comfortable.

Can't do that thing, that keepin' still. But you're fucked if you speak your mind, and you know, uh huh, you will...

I'm not very original; I simply pass on what I see, read, hear, experience. Oh, gossip, how I love thee!

Mentioning love, on reflection, I think that it could possibly be my tendency to share what I learn about myself (at times over analyzing motives and feelings) and other issues that I won't shut up about and perhaps beat like a dead horse that make partners/potential partners uncomfortable. Thus, straining (if not damaging, if not ruining) any relationship we might develop. Hmmm... I'm sure more reflection will stem from this, and I know that what I learn will very likely make me very uncomfortable. Damn you, Charles Fort and that damned quote!

Remember, I'm a sharer. I watched this video today on YouTube (thanks to Phillipe's link), so now I have to share it.


I was disturbed a bit by this short animated film. The animation in itself could be funny/entertaining, but the subject matter is too serious and sad, i.e. disturbing. "The big people" have a tendency to get away with murder (both figuratively and literally). I hope that the medium used to covey this message will have the intended impact. But where besides YouTube is it being shown? Will the intended audience see it enough for it to be an effective ad?

I'm going to end this post on a positive, comfortable topic, so prepare yourself to not learn anything. My Zanzibar Christmas 2010 books came in the mail today!



This is the first photo book that I put together, and I'm exceptionally happy with it. Great times. Great memories. XOXO

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Wishing I Had More to Say

Wising I Had More to Say

After work, I swam. I needed to get my workout back on, so I put in 1000m today in hopes that I'll keep it up. (Gym, Pilates, swimming, running, healthy diet, and I still have a gut. What's up with that?) Then I spend most of the evening preparing dinner. It went well, I must say. Thanks to a friend's recommendation, I attempted Thai corn fritters. Wow! It's amazing how good a simple recipe can taste. I once again made a Thai red curry, this time using lamb. Lamb? I know. I also questioned what I was doing since it's usually either chicken or beef. I decided to mix it up a bit. The resulting flavour was fantastic. The down side was that the coconut milk I bought in haste was not fantastic. The meat and milk cancelled each other out, and I was left with a mediocre curry. After a short break from eating, it was time for desert: rich, chocolate brownies. I topped them with a mixture of fresh cream and condensed milk. Delectable!

Lady Antebellum's new single was released today. They quickly becoming a favourite band of mine about a year ago. Their music was first recommended to me via an SMS from Kenya. From there, it was basically love at first download. Just a Kiss is the title of LA'a new single.


Loving it. Just downloaded it from iTunes and it's on repeat.

And on that note: Just a kiss goodnight.

XOXO

Monday, May 02, 2011

Discomfort

Discomfort

Yeah, you can see that my attempt at viewing the world in a more pleasant light was short lived.

As I was driving to school this morning, my phone gave the tell-tale tune of receiving an SMS. I don't read SMSes when driving (more dangerous in my opinion than actually talking on the phone while driving, but probably still less than an old friend, Suzy, who used to read novels as she drove the interstate back and forth between Jacksonville to Tallahassee), so I waited until I was stopped at the school's gate and read the short message while the guard rolled the mirror underneath the perimeter of my car to inspect for explosives. To my surprise, and discomfort, it was an gleeful message informing me of Osama Bin Laden's death and the resulting jubilation in the US, as seen on CNN.

The former terrorist leader executed a tremendous amount of evil in the world and thousands of innocent people lost their lives as a result. That being said, I'm very uncomfortable seeing footage of people actually celebrating someone's death. A sense of relief or feeling that justice has been served is one thing, but euphoria and parading in the streets cheering, I feel, are inappropriate. As a facebook friend put it, and I agree, "I think this column sums up my feelings on the issue quite well."

I will mourn the loss of thousands of precious lives, but I will not rejoice in the death of one, not even an enemy....--Martin Luther King, Jr.



On a lighter note...

Finding this product on the shelf at Nakumatt tonight caused me a tremendous amount of discomfort:

Kitara Wine

Everyone loves a good tomato wine, right?

If the fact that this wine contains farmented (sic) tomatoes does not cause you a bit of concern, just think, of the 58 words on the label, four are misspelled. While it's only almost 7%, it's the label of a product that is being marketed and trying to be sold. Spellcheck anyone? How about simply asking a friend to proofread? Be presigious... This sounds like a drunken slur. I wonder if the person who typed the label did so after a few rounds of wine tasting.


(Slap to the forehead)
I could've had a fermented V8!

Sunday, May 01, 2011

Good Intention

Good Intention

I feel like I might be getting a bit carried away with certain negative sentiments. I'm an optimist at heart. I am. However, I feel like I'm painting too dark and negative a picture of the world in which I live. Which, in the end, makes me feel a bit gloomy.

I decided early on today that I was going to flip the coin and show the other side. Besides the obvious rubbish going on in Kampala and Uganda right now, there is greener grass. My objective today was to highlight that green grass.

Sunday morning runs are great for getting to know the city... except (and here's where I start to fail) after riots. Men in uniforms are patrolling everywhere. Roads still blocked off by lorries have a less-than-positive effect on one's runner's high. Burnt tires left on roadsides chase my imagination into undesirable territory.

I still say that Cafe Java is the best place to refuel after a morning's run. (Ok, back on track.) It makes me happy that they are consistently good. (See, I can say something nice more than once about the same restaurant. It's not often, but I can.)

Brunch at Lynne's, yes, that was fantastic. (Eye on the plot.) More delicious food than 17 of us could tuck away. Besides that... Well... (Here is where I get stuck. My intention was good; at least a tried, right?)

This is one of those rare occasions, so take note and remember it. I'm going to take Thumper's Dad's advice.