Friday, 22 June 2018

fffffffffFFFFFFFuuuuurrrrrp & respecting personal space!

I was the type of baby that was afraid of my own farts.


I don't remember it though.

 It's my Mum who liked to recounter the story.

It amused her to tell it.


She would imitate my scrunched up chubby petrified baby face.

I loved listening to her narrate the story because this particular memory tickled the cheeky part of her soul. 

 Apparently I was somewhere in the corner minding my own baby business and....


Everyone turns to look at the cute distressed farting baby.

Now when I think more on it.....was the baby me afraid of the sound of my fart or the fact that farts drew people's attention to me?

Don't worry, I grew to learn that good girls don't fart in public.  

It's a story that make me chuckle to recall, and it tickles the cheeky part of my soul too. 
Baby me was frightened of my own body. 

Anyways... I am  sharing this story because I want to call your attention to space and respect. 

I think some human beings don't understand the concept of personal space, and I just wish that we could all learn this lesson carefully and responsibly.

When I speak of space it is not just physical, but emotional and mental as well.

Like for example unnecessary whatsapp group creations!?!

Dear millennials and eager generation Zs, please think these things through thoroughly 
before clicking on that add button...

We do not need a whatsapp group for everything!

We do not need to be in constant communication over a meme, pictures of dead celebrities or some misogynistic joke seen on twitter 

Sometimes we should just respect people's space,
and in turn learn to healthly assert our own.

[Unless you are one of my siblings...
cause really in an African family what is 'personal space'  anyway?]


How to connect the farting-baby-story, personal space and whatsapp groups ?

I don't know.

 Somehow my brain brought the two together...
So I started writing.

And here you are.

Thank you for dropping by.

Always appreciated.




That's will be all for now . 

Until the next post...


Sunday, 17 June 2018

Dear B: No Longer Leaving Things Unsaid ...

Dear B.

I came home to find these 3D cinema glasses on my desk,
still after all these years they still grab my attention.

Do you remember the movie you took me to see?

Yours Sincerely M.


Dear B.

 You were miserable in the cinema that day.
But I held my tongue.
I didn't know how to help you.
How can you assist someone so busy shutting everyone out?
They told me, "You shouldn't speak to your man 
the same way you would your best friend."

"Men like to figure their s*&% out alone."
I let you pretend that you were fine.
 I stayed quiet.
Even as you walked right out of my life.

Yours Sincerely M.


Dear B

I have decided not to be silent anymore
I know they all told me to  keep my mouth shut in good faith.
They said that everything  happened for the best.
But it hasn't worked B,
cause I still think about you.

Yours Sincerely M.


Dear B

If there is one thing I hate about myself...
It's that I am loyal. 
Loyal to those I care about;
Even to friends & family  who wouldn't think to do the same for me.

Yours Sincerely M.


Dear B.

I am putting up my white flag.
I need to be my warm bubbly self again.
You were always so good at the 'silence' game.
I can't pretend to be cold anymore.
I can't pretend to be unwelcoming anymore.
My heart will always be happy to see you.

Yours Sincerely M.


Dear B

I am calling you back to me,
because I know this is exactly where you are
meant to be.

Yours always M. 

Saturday, 2 June 2018

The Cup is Falling - Anxiety and Me

 Mini episodes occur
Not Regularly though
The last ones were years ago
Yet I remember them in detail

I know my symptoms & triggers.

The very first is my ability to inhale & exhale.
Conscious effort is required.
I doubt whether I am worthy to be here
Worthy enough to breath

Every five minutes I gulp air down 
But the world feels tight.
 Unaccommodating and heavy
I question whether I can do this.

Then I can't sit still, 
It is exacting to focus on my daily routine.
I live in a quiet bubble of imagined terror.
My mind is on loop, like badly written JavaScript
Something bad is about to happen I feel the urgency but I'm not prepared. 

You know you can't always fight every mind war 
with positive affirmations, lavender oil & chamomile tea.
The internet should know better than to tell us such things.
Best to find a secret place, put up your white flag and surrender.

Sun Tzu advises, 
" If he can fight, he advances and takes the offensive;
 If he cannot fight he retreats and remains in the defensive."

Picture someone placing a coffee mug  close to the edge of your kitchen table. 
Something knocks it... and you watch from a distance as it falls to ground,
 you are powerless to save it. 

I am the cup and and I can't stop myself  from falling.

 I just hope the mess on the floor won't be too difficult 
for me to pick up and piece back together.

 It might be a calm Sunday evening, however in my mind all hell is breaking loose. 
A fire is starting and I am not sure how long it will take to put it out. 
How much will it destroy along the way? 
I have built so much of myself during this time of peace & stability. 
Will there be anything left when it's done?

 I reach out to those close to me to tell them.
Maybe if I speak on it, it will retreat
 I exercise so that the raging fire will have less energy to burn through the night, 
But at some point in those 24 hours I know I will be alone. 
Alone in head, 
Alone with my thoughts, 
Alone with the shadows
 Until I let them overcome me, they will not go.
 Now I am worried,
  Will I find my way back?
Will it all still be there, exactly as I left it?

I scold my self,
 "There is nothing there, what are you frightened of?" 
"A grown adult cannot be afraid of mind monsters " 
But the shadows reply,
"You must let us swallow you whole 
then hold your breath long enough to find your way out.
But YOU know how this works! 
Why must you fight us every single time!? "

It's the power of my own voice that pulls me out from the ashes.

The one that recites Psalms in the morning before sunrise.

Exactly the way the Prayer Warrior told me to say them. 
That's how I say them.
I read them out loud, keep my voice steady and consistent
She clearly instructed me,
"It's your job to have the the faith of a mustard seed
It God's job to do the rest."

When these episodes are over I forget, 
Life becomes good again
I can breath in and out.
My chest is reckless.  
Oxygen is in plenty.
I forget the intensity and hopelessness, 
Until I see the triggers, then feel the symptoms
 I get still and frightened 
Because when the cup falls over the edge again 
I think to myself, 
What if this time...
What if this time, I don't make it out?

Sunday, 13 May 2018

Fitness Update #2: The Hunger Monster & WAAAAAAATER!

I've  been dehydrated this whole time, and didn't know joke.

I thought I had this whole WATER thing down.....but Nope. I wasn't even close.

Two years ago I started  drinking a glass of water in the morning, and this graduated to 500mls a day and then as of last year 700mls. The 700 mls was inspired by a nice shinny new bottle that I received at the beginning of 2017, and I liked seeing it on my desk every day. It made me feel very healthy and grown up.

So I thought I was a star at hydration...I mean I was walking around telling anyone that would listen about the miracle of drinking water when let's face it, I had only just scratched the surface of the  benefits of proper hydration.

So this year as mentioned on the blog I have incorporated some regular exercise into my daily routine. I  intended to make time every day to be active but now it's every other day. I alternate; one day of rest and one day of exercise. My body responds to this better. This coupled with regular upcountry travel, and the hot weather we experienced for the first part of the year, lead me to drinking more than 700mls a day. It's possible that I was up to a litre. I am not sure. I never measured my drinking habits but I am now certain it was still not enough...

Only on one of  my most recent trips did I randomly decide to take a litre of water two hours before bed time and something weird happened. All the uncomfortable bloating that I usually experience near the end of the day disappeared. So I decided to continue.... and the results just left me flabbergasted. Who knew something so simple could make such a huge difference?

All the benefits happened for me in the first week

Clearer skin
No bloating
Less cravings for sugar
More alert during the day
No fatigue in the early hours of the morning

Now when I first started exercising I complained to my big brother (who's also on a personal fitness journey) that I was unprepared for the hunger pangs. They would hit right after exercise and could not be controlled. The hunger monster would dominate my thoughts until I ate something..anything in carb form would suffice.  I once sat down and made my way through a whole bag of popcorn by myself and felt no shame afterwards. The hunger monster was ruthless. I even considered stopping the whole exercise routine because I was eating more, and my goal had been to curb my weight gain.

But when I started drinking two litres of water a day, the hunger monster all but disappeared, and I was left to wonder if the hunger monster was just the dehydration monster in disguise. Another unexpected result is the slight weight loss, which I attribute to the water because I discovered that my daily sodium intake was high, and to balance this out my body must have retained water. 

To make this a permanent habit, I bought myself a 500ml glass that sits beside my bed and a huge cup for work, I use them both to monitor my water intake throughout the day and to reach my goal of two litres. On days when it's hot or my exercise is a bit more intense I drink more.

After I started seeing results I did the most predictable millennial thing and started researching on You tube. I found ton of videos... from the benefits of 8 glasses a day to the benefits of  a gallon a day.  Here's a list of some the videos I watched to help me on this journey:-

Disclaimer: I am not a Doctor, so please don't be mad at me if it doesn't work for you. Learn how your body works and always consult a physician. 

Monday, 30 April 2018

Taking Stock - Birthday Month 2018

Making: Videos. Who knew? We can surprise ourselves sometimes if we are determined. 

Drinking:  Water. So turns out all this time I have been dehydrated. I have been drinking... just not enough!? Currently trying the 2 litres a day challenge. I can see surprising unexpected benefits that I will write about soon.. 

Reading: Sapiens: A Brief History of Human Kind by Yuval Noah Harari. This book I picked out of curiosity. I love reading the parts about our history, just not so such a fan of the long paragraphs which are purely his opinion. while reading, I am reminded of how much I used to enjoy history lessons in primary school. So now I am just trying to find the time to sit down and finish it because it isn't a quick read, contemplation is required. 

Playing: No games. I just can't be that girl even though everyone says those are the rules. 

Wishing: Just honesty, communication and appreciation.

Enjoying:  The last season of Scandal, oba what will I do with my life afterwards?

Writing:  In a cute little orange note book just day I want to write that great book that captures the reader in the first paragraph and keeps them glued right till the end.  

Loving:  Things I have added to my make up collection (this phase might never end...). Those Wet and Wild Mega Last Catsuit lipsticks are AMAZING! Goth Topic is my new fave. 

Eating: The best cupcakes in Gulu at The Iron Monkey!

Needing: Some pampering. I am little overwhelmed by the people asking me for help at moment. 

Wearing:   Seriously hot and fabulous dresses purchased at the bequest of my sister in law and so happy that they didn't break the bank this month. 

Knowing: It's so sad that people will disappoint you no matter how much you try to protect yourself.

Thinking:   I am the only one waiting for Black Panther II, Sorry Thor, it used to be only you but now I can't get enough of T'challa and M'baku 😍😍😍😍😍


Still drooling....

Giggling Over: Finally got the chance to see Girl's Trip

Wednesday, 25 April 2018

Snippets From My Birthday Week!

I worked the WHOLE week (Yes the whole seven days), but I still found stretches in the day to reflect on another year of life on this planet. If I'm honest I am grateful I was working, it's no secret among my close circle that I love what I do, but seeing as this was a special juncture in the year, I put aside a few minutes each day just for me so that I could write about it here, on the blog.

So without further adieu, ladies and gentlemen here are some snippets from my week....enjoyπŸ˜ƒ.

This photo got many likes on my Facebook timeline, why? who knows?

Day 1

"He leads me beside quiet waters,
     he refreshes my soul.
He guides me along the right paths"

(psalm 23;2:3) 

I woke up early on Sunday.

You know that moment when you first wake but keep your body still.
You refuse to allow yourself to move, instead you remain exactly where you are, listening to the very first sounds of the day... your closed eye lids providing that last barrier between your body and the reality of the waking world. 

I cherish those first bits of the morning. I feel like I am closest to God then. I once read in book about the strange idea of the soul taking opportunities to wonder from the body during sleep. The author believed the soul returns to heaven during the night to get some relief from the harshness of the world, and in the early hours of the morning it returns refreshed and energized, ready to take on life's challenges. 

 I like to imagine that in the first waking moments my soul still has God's ear. So I use that time to speak candidly with Him about matters that are most pressing in my heart. 

On this particular  morning, the first of my birthday week, I am asking for it to be a fruitful week.

 I am asking for His presence throughout the journey.

 I am asking not to lose sight of my purpose on this trip.

Day 2

"This day is holy to our Lord. Do not grieve, 
for the joy of the LORD is your strength."
(Nehemiah 8:10)

On the second day of work, we meet a Nurse at a district hospital. 

It's the day before my  birthday.

 Her uniform is sparkling white and ironed so well that I wonder if it's a sign, because I am immediately reminded of my mother. She was a Nurse too. She loved her work. As a little girl I used to flip through our family album and admire  how smart and beautiful my mummy looked in her uniform, with her cap perfectly balanced on her neat Afro,
thanks to those very reliable black bobby pins.

Crisp white uniform. Smart Nurse/Midwife 

I miss my mother. 

I wish she was here, because she would be the first to call me on my birthday.

I wish she was here so I could vent unjudged in dramatic fashion about things that once I had a chance to really think about don't mean much at all. 

But these are only wishes and I am grateful that she was alive for the time that she was, maybe this was her way of being the first in family to say "Happy Birthday. I am here. I see you."

Day 3

"Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart"
(Colossians 3:23)

It's my birthday today. No grey hairs were found in the mirror this morning. 

I am grinding away in a refugee settlement in Arua, the heat is affecting my ability to multitask. I put all my energy into getting my work done. No time to reflect. A friend tries to call from Columbia with birthday greetings, another from Kampala but I miss the calls cause the phone is on silent and data switched off to save battery.

Boy is it hot! A litre of water feels like a box of candy. 

A family home  and some well needed shade

Part of a homestead


Just a road, a boda boda, and a truck in the distance

When my nieces and my brother call me in the early evening to sing Happy Birthday, I am happy because it's been a productive day. 

Day 4

Commit to the Lord whatever you do,
    and he will establish your plans.

(Proverbs 16:3)

We are welcomed into a homestead with these silver glasses, so the millennial in me, takes a quick lopsided photo. Heat is still trying to break the team, and  now we have time constraints so greetings done , we start slogging away.

 I was here in the settlement last year when all this was still bush, when they were still making preparations for the new influx to come. Now I am struggling to differentiate it, from all the others I have visited.

Silver cups

The process of resettling and building a home in a new country..

Every time I come, I am always fascinated by these little houses on sticks ..why? I don't know

Day 5

The light shines in the darkness, 
and the darkness has not overcome it.
(John 1:5)

Moyo district just struck me as the most scenic district this week. Gleaming greenery and an abnormal abundance of mangoes! I think of our mango tree at home which is always full of flowers and yet barely produces a fruit, and how the neighbor's kids climb our wall and pinch the few that do grow before we have a chance to eat them.

This district would be the perfect spot to hid away when rest is needed, I imagine I could try and figure out how to make rum out of mangoes...No? 

Trying to be creative taking pictures on my phone 
Old trees, wish they could speak and tell us what they have seen. Wouldn't we learn a thing or two?

Collecting water

What path will my choices lead me on  this year?

Thinking we need  secret holiday hideaways in Moyo district 
We cross the river on our way to Adjumani. Exhausted from the day's work, my nose full of snot because I have the beginning stages of a cold.  I have packed my pockets full of white tissue to avoid embarrassing myself with a runny nose on the ferry. 

If you'd told me 10 years ago that this is where you would find me....that Maria wouldn't have believed you. She was set in her ways like that.

Taken on the ferry from Moyo To Adjumani 

We arrive at our booked accommodation and there is a chapel in the corner of compound, I sneak in for some unscheduled time with God before going for dinner. I want to thank him for hearing my prayers on Sunday and guiding me through the week.

Chapel at Multi Purpose Training Center in Adjumani 

Day 6:

"Have mercy on me, Lord, for I am faint"
(psalm 6:2)

In the settlements again, it  is humid so the rain is welcomed, cause it has been a long long long week. I wasn't so reflective today though, so there isn't much to write about it. 

Child Friendly Space in Maaji Refugee Settlement

Last stop is Gulu, my body is starting to feel the strain. I have a headache which I can't shake even after two glasses of water. I run off in search of Panadol. 

Even with the trusted painkiller, the ache doesn't go πŸ˜–πŸ˜–πŸ˜–. Once our  diner arrives we merrily eat, our work is done and we shall be back in Kla tomorrow. We start to talk and share our stories. Before you know it we are laughing, and in the middle of  all the snorts and giggles I notice the pain is gone. For dessert, I buy myself a yummy chocolate cupcake and a delicious Nutella  and peanut butter cookie a  mini party for  myself  before the real celebrations
with family and friends back home.

Spotted in Gulu at the Iron Monkey, Best Cupcakes I have tasted all week!

Thanks for reading! Do drop by again soon

"Then God blessed the seventh day and made it holy,
 because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done."
(Genesis 2-3)

Saturday, 7 April 2018

Some Bread Please ? ~ Bad Poetry


Fresh-Out-Of- The- Oven-Bread

That arrives in it's own woven basket, with a white napkin in tow.

That makes me close my eyes so my taste sense has no competition.

That makes time stop..... cause who cares what's happening around me when I am eating this bread?


Melting on my tongue and muting all noises so that I can hear my own heart beat.


This must be witch craft... cause how? Just Wow.

The Devil is dusting of my chair in hell.

Haven't I broken the first commandment?

On a Palm Sunday as well?

I came here to have a quite lunch and catch up on my 'serious' writing

But this bread has put the future eternity of my soul in jeopardy, it's left me sideways. Yes it is that goooooood 😍😍😍
 I try to buckle down and to be fruitful. I want to write something worthy of praise, something that will make my critiques talk.

But all I can think about is how gooooooooooood that warm slice of fresh white bread tasted and how much I wish I had bread like that everyday.

I am not the same woman I was before this bread.πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚


Good bread does that to a woman.

How can I go back to the same s..... everyday? The one we buy at the supermarket, that tastes like paper, that annoyingly falls apart as you make a sandwich.

*Takes a long deep breath*

 How can bread do this to a person? 😲😱😲

Sunday, 18 March 2018

She said the WORD outloud...

I flinched when she said the word.

It’s not like I hadn’t heard the word before.

It‘s the way I expected the word to be used that was my problem. 

The word is often said in hushed tones, not to be repeated regularly because it's a repugnant word. Thoughts that trigger shame, humiliation and even trauma. We don’t want to pressure the victim into re-living the situation and we don’t want the picture to remain in their mind for too long. Subconsciously we want the word and the incident to remain separate from us and our current reality. 

I flinched  yet this isn't the first time, I heard this particular girl's story. I read the short bio they provided before I came. We chose her specifically for her experience, and to provide her with the opportunity to speak for others that have been unable to do so in the past. We wanted her to speak up so that the right help and support can be provided for all, especially those rendered mute by the  heavy shackles of shame.

I must confess I doubted that she could do it, I have been here before and many girls have bulked at the chance to speak up. And that's okay. They need to make the best decision for themselves, we need  to help them do that and provide a safe space for them to feel in control. Being able to say 'No' is a decision we support too. 

All though we say our opinion as society is changing for many girls there is a wrongly attached stigma to the word which follows the victim and never the perpetrator. In Roxanne's book 'Bad Feminist' she shares her harrowing experience in the thought-provoking essay " What We Hunger For".  Advance Warning! This essay will remain with you long after you have put the book down. But it's a necessary read that encourages deep reflection especially on sexual assault and how we process violence against women.

' The boy I thought was my boyfriend pushed me to the ground. He took my clothes off, and I lay there with no body to speak of, just a flat board of skin and girl bones. I tried to cover myself with my arms but I couldn't, not really. The boys stared at me while they drank beer and laughed and said things I didn't understand because I knew things but I knew nothing about what a group of boys could do to kill a girl. ' ~ Roxanne Gay - Bad Feminist  (p.143)

'I sat perfectly still and tried to concentrate, but all I could hear was the hiss of the word "Slut". That shame was one of the worst things I have ever known. " Slut" was my name for the rest of the school year because those boys went and told a very different story about what happened in the woods."'
~ Roxanne Gay - Bad Feminist  (p.144)

I was heartbroken when I read this essay. I didn't sleep that night, because I vividly saw the younger Roxanne carrying this shame and burden herself. My nocturnal clock was turned upside down, because I know there are many young girls that have this similar experience, and many boys & men who have never paid for their sins. Undeservedly the victim is tied to the baggage of shame and humiliation that in my opinion belongs only to the perpetrator for not respecting the sacredness of another person's body.  It is unfair, but how can we talk about fairness and rape in the same sentence?

So why did I flinch when this girl told her story?

I flinched because the product of the action was sitting in this girl's lap contently breastfeeding and just a few months shy of their* first birthday. I flinched because the word, 'RAPE', rolled of her tongue with such confidence and certainty . She made eye contact with us, she was lucid. The word was clear, it was enunciated and not one person in the room could ever say when recalling this conversation that they did not understand what she had said or what she meant.

That is what was new for me.

The fact that she could assertively call a spade a spade. Usually when I hear their stories, the girls don’t even use the word rape. The councilor or the caregiver will always use the correct term, but it’s been rare for me to come across a girl that comfortably uses the word. They will say ‘he hurt me’ or ‘ he forced me to be with him,’ or even ‘he forced himself upon me’ .  Sometimes they won’t even discuss it, there will just be a big gap in their story, and when you revert back to the part for clarity, they may be unable to articulate it in words. She may simply look down or get lost in thoughts and you are left to imagine the worst based on their facial expressions. That part of the story is usually discussed in lower tones, sometimes in whispers and no eye contact.

This girl-child was different thanks to months of counseling plus family and social  support. This girl didn’t look away from our asking eyes, she didn’t lower her voice and fumble with her words. She clearly announced “I was raped.”  while breastfeeding her baby in her lap.  This healthy baby was born nine months after the incident. 

The fact that this girl could state what happened to her without hesitation is what shocked us. 

She took that negativity and threw it right back
 at that man who totally disregarded her rights as a child. 

She removed the shame & humiliation from herself and her child
and hurled it across borders, right back at this man.

 Experiencing that moment was profound. 

He was a family friend. A grown man who approached this girl-child and she rejected him. When conflict broke out in her country and the whole village fled to the bush for safety.... he took advantage in the chaos and raped her. He may never be prosecuted for this crime. He tried to crush her budding teenage self-esteem. Place cracks in the first foundation stones of her female confidence.

 A grown man could not  take rejection from a child so he raped her.
Think about that for a moment...
A grown man could not take rejection from a child.
Pause for a few seconds before you continue reading.
Take that thought with you.
Because it doesn't matter how many conversations we've had,
We need to keep talking till perpetrators know, they don't have a right to any body's body. 

In the moment that she used the word rape, it sounds clichΓ©, but I understood what they mean when they say 'She took back her power’ .This young girl had dreams for herself and her baby and she told us with drive and conviction in her voice that she believed they could be achieved 

 She called a spade a spade. 

I am also learning to call a spade a spade, thanks to her bravery.