Monday, 6 August 2018

SOME FICTION: Nothing In the Pit of her Stomach....

Pinks roses, baby's breath and yellow carnations in a cute little bow peep basket,
hand delivered by Jjuuko's Flower shop on Monday morning.
There's a tiny note attached from ever persistant Charles
 'Mama' Helen the elderly receptionist smiles at Martha.
"Beauuuuuuuutiful!" she chuckles as she hands the basket over.
You don't seem excited?" she prys;
 Twenty five year old Martha dashes up the polished marble stairs of the accounting firm,
balancing herself as best as she can in her purple pumps and a sleek black dress.
She is pleading with the universe to allow her safe passage to her desk unnoticed.
But the universe duly denies her request.
She bumps into Agnes on the second floor.
"Have you seen Kirabo, I need her input for these PSA messages? Oooooo... those look lovely,
Bambi enjoy it," She romantically sighs, "once you are married
those things stop happening."

 At her desk, Martha quickly glances at the note, before hiding the flowers
in the cabinet.
Charles must have copied a line from 
He calls at lunch time.
On their first date he told her,
“When I see something I want, I just have to get it!”
 He never beats around the bush.
"Did you get the flowers? You're not replying my whatsapp messages."
"Oh sorry, been busy all morning, not had time to check my phone" she lies.
There is a long pause
She can feel his stifled disappointment through the phone.
"Thank you!" She says, trying to sound upbeat.
Her eyes quickly run through his fifteen unread messages on her phone.
The skin around her nails is pink and distressed from her picking them throughout the morning
A teeny bubble of dried blood has formed at the base of her middle finger nail.
"Listen...I'll call you in the evening. Thank you so much once again," she hangs up.
"Shouldn't I feel something for Charles?" She wonders.
But she feels nothing
There is nothing in the pit of her stomach.
If she marries Charles their lives are set.
Jobs, money, houses, their off spring in the right schools etc...
Her Ssenga introduced him to her in January at a kwanjula.
The son of her wealthy connected best friend.
"A match made in heaven for you Martha,
He may not be handsome,
 but he's  responsible and reliable and that is what counts in marriage these days.
Don't be like me Child...
For the fifth night in a row your father isn't home,
 I am alone,
 scrambling for school fees for your brother in this God-forsaken economy. "
Her mother reminds her on her return home in the evening.
“Martha, are you going to have tea? The flask is on the table.”
“No…Let me go shower.”
Martha leaves the flowers on the kitchen table.

On Tuesday she asks Ben to give her a lift home.
 She is too exhausted to struggle with public transport this evening
He cheerfully waits in the parking lot in a turquoise Hipsum
As she enters the car from the passenger side,
He grabs his tattered dairy and a stack of old newspapers from the seat,
then stuffs them in the back.
“Wait!” he panics while dusting off some crumbs from yesterday’s meat pie
“Okay… sit.”
“But Ben, why is it so hard for you clean your car?” Martha teases.
A friend since her university days, she trusts him with her whole self.
He is book smart, with a heart of gold, a very rare combination for an african male, according Martha’s youthful opinion
 Last Sunday morning after church service he surprised her by making it clear that he wants more.
As they drive, he sings along and taps his hands on the steering wheel in time to the music,
 After one hour of crawling through Kampala traffic, bumper to bumper,
He gives her a mars bar from a Shoprite shopping bag.
Ben’s sweet tooth never lets him move anywhere without a treat nearby.
"What are you doing on Saturday? Come with us to Entebbe.
A friend of mind is opening a new restaurant."
"Maybe...I'll let you know." She says while scanning through her messages.
Another hour passes before they finally reach her home.
She is saddened by her relief to see the gate.
The lighthearted friendly banter between them
 forever changed by that Sunday morning conversation.
"I'll text you." he says
"okay...thanks for the lift, safe journey home" she replies.
But there is nothing there for him too.
 Nothing in the pit of her stomach.
Her Mother is peering from the window
"You'll have to choose soon, you can't keep stringing them along."
Her mother secretly likes Ben, but Ssenga persuaded her Charles is best.
"Sure" Martha's says as she scampers up the stairs to avoid another lecture.
“You’re not having tea today as well? You children think I just buy milk and sugar like decorations for the house.”

"I have finally seen more land I want to buy." Moses proudly announces.
Sharing a double Chocolate Fudge Obsession desert with Martha at Java's Cafe Kampala Road
It's Friday evening. Every young person of age is looking for the ultimate party plot.
Moses knows and has access to all of them.
 His mobile phones are neatly laid out on the table as they eat.
Every now and then one buzzes and he interrupts himself to pick up and close a deal.
They interned in the same law firm two years ago.
Both assigned to record keeping,
They would laugh & joke their way through the long hours of strenuous paperwork.

Martha is wearing  ruby woo mac lipstick which complements her complexion,
Because Moses has always liked shinny things.
An  inside joke between them.
She stuffs her mouth with dessert so he won't expect much talk from her.
But he never has, a peacock in a flashy suit that loves the sound of his own voice. 
"I have a brother coming from the States, would you like anything?
How about a new phone? An iphone would be good for you."
She starts to reply, but the sticky fudge has caught her tongue
and all the words she had, are jumbled up stuck at the ceiling of her mouth
Last month he casually informed her that it made logically sense for them to date.
"You're not fussy and needy like other women, I need someone level headed like you,
 it can work out well for us. Just think about it."
The fudge loosens  it's grip on her tongue.
But the words have all gone.
 She feels nothing for him.
Nothing in the pit of her stomach
He drops her home in his  silver Benz at midnight.
She doesn't want to go to the new Snap vodka launch at Club Rouge.
As usual, her Mother is waiting for her in the sitting room.
"Where did he get the money to buy that swanky car?" she asks.
"I don't know." Martha replies the smell of sweet fudge tangled in her breath.
"Those are the dangerous ones, the Police will come in the night
and snatch him away as you breastfeed your newborn.
Is that the life you want for yourself?"

At 1.00 am Martha is seated on the edge of her bed
The house is quiet, everyone has gone to sleep
She welcomes the silence
She knows where her heart is.
It's  six feet under concrete, buried with the body of Alan.
Her eyes glazed she remembers,
the first time they met at  Malcolm's .
It is where all the students went on Fridays after lectures.
His hair was freshly cut
His beard was neatly shaven
Tanya her university room mate introduced them.
Their eyes locked 
She was whooped, and pleasantly annoyed by the cliche of love at first sight
"Oh my God, it's true!" she thought.
The intensity of his stare made her shy, as if naked
and deep down in the pit of her stomach
a spark ignited, sending warmth all over her body.

Afterwards on their many dates & shallow lovers' tiffs,
delirious and isolated in the magic bubble of  infatuation
They planned their lives together
What careers they'd create..
The home they would build together...
The number of kids they'd bear...
"Five!" He'd tease her "Maybe even seven!"
"We cannot afford that much school fees!" she'd huff and fold her arms,
pretending she didn't want to be touched.
But her body would always betray her.

A year and half later from the day they met, his sister Anne called at 1.00 am.
Rubbing sleep from her eyes " Hi Lover", she joyfully answered,
thinking it was Alan calling to wish her goodnight.
If he didn't have credit on his phone, he used his sibling's .
Expecting his smooth tenor voice, she was startled into sitting upright in bed by squealing.
Was he still at the club?
Had Anne pocket dialed her by mistake?
Then she recognized the animal like squeals were cries of shock, grief and denial
All mixed in one.
And the bubble was burst.
Stark reality came flooding through...
In between Anne's uncontrolled sobs, Martha heard words her heart refused to swallow
"He's dead....He's gone....
 knocked....knocked off a boda boda
Why did he take one Martha?
We told him not too...
We told him NOT TOO.
His body is cold Martha,
His body is so cold!"

Wednesday, 4 July 2018

Random Early Morning Thoughts - Karamoja, Uganda

just imagine....we need this feature film to happen.

Day 1

4.00 am: It's dark everywhere, which means power (electricity) has gone.
In Uganda electricity can 'leave' and not tell us when it will return.
6.00 am: Must drink my small bottle of water.
Because access to toilets during the day is limited.
I need my body to hydrate and cleanse itself before we hit the road for work.
So glug glug glug... 
6.30 am: Who is that confused man loudly conversating across the hotel courtyard ?
And who is that woman replying in high pitched excitement?
Why are they so pleased with themselves so early in the morning?
She must be cleaning I can hear the splash of the rag cloth disturbing the bucket of water. 
I can hear the effort in her voice as she scrubs. 
Don't they know some of us enjoy quiet starts to the day, 
beneath the blanket warmth of our beds?
7.00 am: I really don't want to shower with cold water.

Day 2

6.00 am: Lately waking up for me has been a first world problem.
My mind is ready, my body isn't.
It's sluggish and slow.
I hear my  mind sing to my body every morning,
"Time to get up!"
And I hear my body grumpily reply,
"What's the point?"
7.00 am: cold shower again...
8.00 am: Once I have got through my morning routine,
 sat down for hot fresh katogo, 
I am actually fine.
I am surprisingly eager to begin today's activities.

Day 3

5.oo am: If I really want to know how  I feel about something,
I ponder on it first thing, ahead of the the crack of dawn.
Before that first light slips past the wonky slit in the hotel curtains
those virgin thoughts,
those untainted feelings,
those are the authentic ones.
I listen to those.
7.00 am:  Really really don't want to shower with cold water

Day 4

4.30 am: I have discovered the best prayers are the one's said in the morning.
Before the cockerel crows
Before my first yawn,
Before my first stretch,
Before I rub the tiny sticky fairy dust off my eyes, 
I begin my conversation with God.
6.30 am: On my knees, head bowed low, I continue with prayer.
7.00 am: Really really really don't want to shower with cold water.

"What seem our worst prayers may really be, in God's eyes, our best.
Those, I mean, which are least supported by devotional feeling.
For these may come from a deeper level than feeling.
God sometimes seems to speak to us most intimately when he catches us…off our guard."

*The minions are the result of discovering Facebook stories

Sunday, 1 July 2018

Dear Queen: For you, the disillusioned one...

Dear Queen,

 Kindly allow me carry out my friendship duties, and dispense the little  bit of wisdom I have about this junction in your life.

Take my advice in good faith though, I am speaking with good intentions but you must remember it's still  based on my perspective, and you need to take into account your own opinion and many others too.

May I suggest we start with the Bible?

I am not a you'll just have to flip through the old testament until you stumble on

I used to avoid this book of bible, the only part I was comfortable reading  was "A Time for Everything" and that was because of the movie 'A Walk To Remember'. Back then, I was a Mandy Moore Fan.

Before we proceed, first be warned, you will need to learn to continually cheer yourself in this phase of life. It is a tough internal battle and requires mental strength. Your ideas of the world will change, your goals will too. To survive, you will have to spend time assessing, re-adjusting and forging new plans.

"I accomplished great things, I built myself houses and planted vineyards, with all kinds of fruit trees in them. I dug ponds to irrigate them. I bought many slaves, and there were slaves born in my household. I owned more livestock than anyone else who had ever lived. I also piled up  sliver and gold  from royal treasuries of the lands I ruled.  Men and women sang to entertain me..." ( Ecclesiastes 2 : 4 -9)
" Then I thought about all that I had done and how hard I had worked doing it, and realized that it didn't mean a thing. It was all like chasing the wind- of no use at all."(Ecclesiastes 2: 11)
" We leave this world just as we entered it- with nothing,. In spite of all our hard work there is nothing we can take with us."  (Ecclesiastes 5: 15-20)
"The same fate awaits human beings and animals alike. One dies just like the other"

So if life is useless...than what now?

Are you still waiting for answers...

 You most likely will not find them here. 

But while you are here, here is the wisdom I offered at the beginning of this post ... 

Speak to yourself nicely...what is the point in being harsh? The reality of your discovery will not change.... so no point making yourself feel uncomfortable. I urge you to take care of yourself the best you can, because even though Ecclesiastics was sought of right, ironically his writing lived on to the present day and his despair/mid life crisis is still educating us.

Accept that there are some questions you may never have answers too. For the questions that do have answers you may not like just learn to accept. Once you accept, you can clearly figure out what's next.

Pray for wisdom because even though it may only be useful while your alive, you need to navigate this world somehow...

The minute I thank the universe for something , more of it appears...why? maybe magic?
Go on try it, and get back to me with your results.

You need to laugh and in this place we call home, what else can you do but laugh at the mystery of it.

"Useless Useless, said the philosopher. It is all useless."

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.