Saturday, 31 October 2015

Where did all the gentlemen go?


Late one Sunday evening as I stood by the roadside at the entrance of Uganda Management Institute (UMI), all I could think about was what a slice of cake and a cup of African tea spiced with a movie at home would be like. A few minutes before while I was walking to the stage at the entrance from class to catch a taxi home, I received a phone call that a friend would be going my way so they could drop me closer to home.

Fast forward to me getting into my friends car 20 minutes late where I pondered ‘Where did all the gentlemen go?’ Now you must be wondering what transpired or went terribly wrong in that 20 minutes window believe me I will explain but allow me to start from the beginning so that you can fully understand what I mean.

20 minutes earlier
I exited the main gate of UMI and quietly waited for my ride home I did not expect much drama as I hummed away at a tune only for a young man - late to early 30’s invading my personal space. Now at the UMI gate it is usual for strangers to wait together for taxis and often engage in healthy debates about general topics and current affairs. Being hospitable Ugandans, this is always after asking what professional course you are currently studying as we keep each other company for what can be sometimes a pretty long wait.

As many of them boarded taxis heading towards home, not once did I notice this gentleman or so I thought he was at the time, until everyone else had left.   I use ‘so I thought’ because of the conversation that transpired between us.

Male UMI Student: ‘Eh, but this woman. I get here late and she tells me to go right into a paper.

Me: ‘…….,’ I did not respond.

Male UMI Student: ‘She could not even forgive me knowing that I have not attended class in about 4 weeks and therefore I did not know we had a test.’

I smiled when I heard this and thought to myself "typical Ugandan," how is this the tutor’s fault that you did not come to class for a month.

Male UMI Student: ‘And on top of that she insists on taking our papers and marking them before we left the room, she claims she does not have space at her home to keep our papers. Can you imagine that?’

I had been silent all this while until this point where I could not help myself, I needed to respond.

Me: ‘Well you cannot blame her for not being efficient, how old is she? Is she pretty mature?’

Male UMI Student: ‘No, actually she is mid-30. Anyway that is finished so where are you heading?’ he said as he intentionally brandished his freshly marked test script that bore a 16/20 for my benefit I presume.

Me: ‘HOME!’ 

Male UMI Student: ‘Where is that?’

I turned and faced him and looked him squarely in the eyes with no grin on my face and responded in a firm tone, ‘HOME.’

Male UMI Student: ‘Is that Mukono, Ntinda, Luzira…?’

When he realised that I did not intend to respond to the question he moved on to a different line of conversation.

Male UMI Student: ‘Anyway so what are you doing at UMI?’

Me: ‘Doing...?’ I asked.

Male UMI Student: ‘Yes, what course are you studying?

Me: ‘CIM – Marketing.’ 

Male UMI Student: ‘Oh okay, I have never seen you around, which block do you use for study?’

Me: I smiled and responded ‘one of those blocks within UMI.’

Male UMI Student: ‘Well my name is Julius, what's yours. I have no need to continue talking to you as a stranger.’

Now, this fellow had broken my number 1 cardinal rule of this taxi stop - don’t ask for names. 

Me: ‘I am a stranger, all the same my name does not matter I will not be here in 5 minutes.’

Male UMI Student: ‘Please what's your name, I can't leave here without knowing your name after looking into those eyes.’

My back was facing him but when I heard this I spun around to respond, ‘I beg your pardon?’

Male UMI Student: ‘I can get lost in your eyes and those lips…there is a lot I could do with them.’

Now at this point I asked myself, a full grown man meets a stranger and because I am courteous and polite as most Ugandans are, you decide to take liberties and …. ‘’Be silly’’ for lack of better word at this time.

Me: ‘Eyes, lips are you serious?’

Male UMI Student: ‘I cannot leave here without knowing your name,’ he said as he began to move closer to me.

It was at this point that my friend arrived and the car came to a halt a few yards in front of me, you all know what I did – right. I darted straight for the car door at such a speed that I almost head butted my friend Zinedine Zidane style as she sat in the driver’s seat and I firmly shut the door behind me.

Mothers out there please raise your sons to be polite, raise them to know what appropriate conversation for public places is. This is  so that ladies like me will not wonder where they grew up or as the commonly used Ugandan phrase comes to mind, not to make us wonder ‘’who grew them.’’ (Direct translation from local dialect)

Fathers, please teach your daughters the basics of self-defence or in my case how to head butt wanton fellows such as the one in this post. With this fellow’s escalation, I would have needed these skills in a few minutes scratch that seconds.


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