Sunday, 11 December 2016

The MC who had more fun than the wedding guests.

In a bid to break my antisocial habits I made a decision to attend my cousin's wedding. Aside from this new resolution, it is also extremely difficult to dodge a wedding when your personal invite has been delivered to your workplace. However, at the end of the night, I was glad that I showed up because the MC really did make the night – all by himself. I experienced something I have not in a really long time, an MC who thoroughly enjoyed the wedding more than the guests and the bridal party.

I must note that the MC was not the only highlight of this wedding, there was this instance just after the cutting of the cake when the bride was scheduled to throw her bouquet (yes it was scheduled on the program), that he got every single bridesmaid and friend of the bride to come and take part.

MC: ‘’Hey, if you are single or he has not put a ring on it I expect to see you here.’’

The single ladies were a little shy and most did not respond to his calls to participate so he amped it up and resorted to calling out names.

MC: ‘’If you are single and you are not here, do not complain if this favour passes you by. This is a divine moment, your husband could be in this very place. Can I hear an Amen.’’
I was so amused I burst out in laughter only to see one of my aunties ahead of me turn and motion to me to go in front and join the group. I politely declined and unfortunately that would open me up to a whole other grilling session I would be a part of where I would have to explain why I had not declared my status to them as - dating. (Let me not digress)

As all this commotion was taking place, at the table right behind me there were ladies in their late 30’s and early 40’s who had been dancing the entire wedding and talking so loudly I would often hear them above the MC’s baritone.

Lady 1: ‘’Athieno, why aren’t you getting up to go in front?’’

Athieno: ‘’Because I am not single.’’

Lady 2: ‘’ No, but the MC did not say if you have a man hanging around you. He said if you don’t have a ring on your finger.’’

Athieno: ‘’But I am not searching.’’

Lady 1: ‘’No you are not but Oboth is clearly still searching. Do you see him around there, over there chatting with those younger ladies.’’

Athieno: ‘’Maybe they are his nieces.’’

Lady 2: ‘’ If my husband held his niece's handbag and hand like that he would not have any supper.’’

Athieno: ‘’Well me I am content, God will sort me out.’’

I could not help but snicker as I listened to them from my seat and watched this drama play out before me almost play like in this mix of a blend of a modern and traditional wedding setting.

MC: ‘’Okay time is up. Mugole (bride), we are going to count down from 5 – 1 and then you can close your eyes and throw the bouquet.

The crowd went wild into laughter as the last 3 girls shot out of their seats and run to join the group waiting to catch the bouquet.

MC: ‘’Wow, these ladies really want to meet Mr. Right and all the single brothers say……’’
The crowd shouted back in response, ‘’Amen.’’

MC: ‘’Single gentlemen and especially those in the groom’s party, I hope your eyes are open and you catch this vision. Okay, let’s count down 5, 4, 3, 2……..1.’’

When the bride closed her eyes and threw that bouquet I could not help but feel glad that it was a non-living thing. There was 1 lady from the group of 3 who had joined last that jumped so high that she mimicked a high jumper at the Olympics. She grabbed the tip of the bouquet as another lady grabbed a hold of it as she was descending mid-air. We all watched in shock as the Olympian nearly elbowed the other lady to a point she let go.

That squabble was not the least of the excitement with the most shocking part of the entire bouquet toss being during it. Now a word of advice to every young or middle aged lady going for a wedding. ‘Be mindful of what you are wearing.’

So the 20 something lady who won the bouquet toss was wearing a short and flimsy dress and had not thought through her actions before she decided to take part. She had jumped so high that due to the laws of gravity, her dress joined in the jump exposing her now not so private parts to the rest of the guests at the wedding.

I thought she would have been so embarrassed that she would have left the wedding celebration immediately but to my surprise, she fell to the ground into a squat with the bouquet and composed herself as the MC said.

‘’Wow, dear single brothers this is serious.’’

The rest of the crowd burst into laughter while a more senior lady held her mouth as she tried to recover from the shock of what they had just seen. The bouquet toss winner got up, laughed it off and walked off grinning from ear to ear with her prize.

What a wedding and who said weddings are boring?

Monday, 22 August 2016

My know it all classmate

As an adult, we are continuously plagued by the perils of professional education.  No one wants to do the work but we all want to benefit from the results of these new found insights that comes from studying a professional course. 

Not to digress, I was recently at Uganda Management Institute for my Saturday morning class for one of my final papers for my course.  Sadly, I was the only student in class that day with my tutor for close to an hour before anyone else arrived. Then in walked a middle-aged gentleman who asked;

Student 1: ‘’Is John around?’’ he asked he pointed at the tutor’s laptop which was open at the head of the long table.

Me: ‘’Yes he is,’’ I responded as I looked up.

 Student 1: ‘’Where is he?’’

Me: ‘’He stepped out to go and get some airtime.’’

Student 1: ‘’Are you on a break?’’

Me: ‘’Yes,’’ I said as I went back to my crunchy pack of cookies.

The tutor returned after a brief while and found us seated across from each other on either side of our long class table and after glancing at our new addition to the class he asked;

Tutor: ‘’Jim, where is your material for class? Where is your laptop, notebook, pen and flash disk?’’

Student 1: ‘’I have it with me.’’

Tutor: ‘’Where is it? I do not see a laptop.’’

Student 1: ‘’I do not need a laptop, all I need is,’’ he said as he tapped his forehead and I allowed a chuckle to escape under my breath.

Tutor: ‘’Okay, well will that capture your assignment? The assignment for your December sitting is out, give me a flash disk.’’

With a grin on my face, I watched the gentleman dig deep into his pockets and fish out a flash disk which he passed on to the tutor.

Tutor: ‘’So why did you come to class, ….now how are you going to view what am giving you as we read through the assignment.’’

Student 1: ‘’………,’’ he paused for a while as silent as a bat before responding, ‘’I was on my way somewhere when you called me so I came to class.

Tutor: ‘’So you did not receive the class timetable?’’

Student 1: ‘’Yes I did but I did not expect you to come to class for the first lecture.’’

As he spoke these words the other 2 members of our class snuck in behind the tutor as he faced the soft board. When he faced the class again, he saw 4 instead of 2 faces and said;

Tutor: ‘’Eh, we keep multiplying.’’

Student 2: ‘’Yes, we were not sure you would be coming to teach today.’’

Tutor: ‘’Yes, this is level 7 so there are no games. So did you also bring just your heads? Where are your class items, study material?’’

Student 2 & 3: ‘’……’’ There was dead silence as the students looked on stunned. Jim and I could not help but laugh because we were the only ones who could understand this joke.

The moral of the story is if you are going to show up, own it and make sure you are not simply physically present.

Sunday, 14 August 2016

Lovers quarrel at the sauna

After a long trip to and from the Eastern region, I decided to treat myself to much-needed sauna session at Paradise gym  to relieve myself of some of the fatigue that comes with driving a long distance. I had not had one in 6 months so I thought I deserved it enough especially since I could do with the quiet time to reflect. 

Anyway, enough about me, so I checked in at the front desk and after 1 session I came out to decompress and saw a young couple in their late 20’s and I thought to myself, how cute. I quickly forgot about the 2 love birds and went in for my second session only for them to follow me in and for my flowery impression of them to quickly dissipate.

Lady: ‘’I want to buy a watch so could you call the other guy who had the 2 cute white watches? After the gu thief grabbed my watch I need to replace it.’’

I sat there as I closed my eyes and had no choice but to take in their conversation that seemed very innocent but suddenly took a sour turn.

Gentleman: ‘’So do you have money to buy the watch?’’ he asked.

There was a long drawn out minute of silence with no word spoken from either party until the young lady broke the silence.

Lady: ‘’So you think that your girlfriend can not afford to buy herself a watch?’’ she responded spitefully.

Gentleman: ‘’I only asked, whether you have money to buy the watch if you recall I bought the last one.’’

Lady: ‘’Which one, mine or Shakila’s? You remember that there were only 2 pieces of the same design and I bought one the other you bought her.’’

Gentleman: ‘’Stop talking nonsense!’’

Lady: ‘’Hm, should I show you the picture she sent you on WhatsApp showing you how lovely it looked on her arm?’’

Gentleman: ‘’Where did you see that?’’

Lady: ‘’On your phone. We could go out, get the phone and I show you where I saw it. Are you denying it?’’

Gentleman: ‘’Who gave you the right to check my phone?’’

Lady: ‘’Are you denying it?’’

Gentleman: ‘’Are you idle, or don’t you have anything to do?’’

Lady: ‘’Are you also, are you so idle enough to be fooling around with Shakila.

At the sound of that, my eyes burst open as I could not block out this conversation that had quickly turned into a lovers quarrel. The gentleman stormed out of the sauna into the sitting area and I believe that even though the young lady had made her point to her beau, she had crossed a line. The young lady followed him a few minutes later and even though I found her sitting next to him when I noticed that he was definitely giving her the silent treatment. She tried to engage him so that she could break the ice but he was clearly engrossed in his mobile phone and given how tense the situation was I preferred to go back for my third session. When I returned from it the love birds were gone.

The moral of the story for me was, even when you have all the ammunition and are the offended party, learn that there is a time and a place to bring up such torrid details and a public area is not the place. If only that gorgeous white watch knew how much drama it had caused, it would have never run off with that petty thief that snatched it. :-) :-)

Saturday, 6 August 2016

Double Star Hotel Mbale that became a Single Star

During my recent travel to Mbale, I stayed at the double star hotel for a couple of nights. Now whereas the first night was decent, the nights that followed were very uncomfortable and constituted very odd conversations with the lady at the reception with the most peculiar taking place on night 2. I returned to the hotel after a long and tiring day and found that the lady at the reception had made an error and given away my perfectly lovely room to a new customer.

Me: ‘’Hello, can I please check into my room?’’

Reception Lady: ‘’Eh, you have come back!’’

Me: ‘’Yes, when I checked out for the room to be cleaned this morning I told your other counterpart I would be coming back.’’

Reception Lady: ‘’No, you did not communicate so we gave it away.’’

Me: ‘’Fine, give me another room at the same rate.’’

Reception Lady: ‘’I only have 1, room C305.’’

Me: ‘’Okay, fine.’’
I carried my luggage upstairs and sat down to do some work for an hour or so after which I decided to charge my laptop only to realise that none of the sockets were working. 

I tried to turn on the TV and realised that socket too was not working. I went into the bathroom to turn on the heater and yes you can guess it was not working as well. In frustration at about11:30pm, I went down 3 flights of stairs to ask to be moved to a new room.

Me: ‘’Hello, me again. Can you move me to another room, I need to charge my gadgets (mobile phone and laptop) but the sockets are not working and neither is the heater.

Reception Lady: ‘’That is the only room I have available at that rate, can I give you another room at 7,000 extra?’’

Me: ‘’No, fine I will bear with it, ‘’ I said in response as I walked away very disappointed.

I continued to work for 30 minutes longer and then went to try and take a bath with cold water that I had mentally prepared myself to stomach. Sadly, when I stepped into the bathroom to shower the faucet for the tap for the shower was off and it did not work and the sink did not have any running water either. That was the final straw for me, I packed my luggage and carried it downstairs the 3 flights of stairs.

Me: ‘’Can I be moved to another room at the same rate now?’’

Reception Lady: ‘’Did you use the room?’’

Me: ‘’Of course I used it I have been in it for 2 and a half hours.’’

Reception Lady: ‘’Yes, but did you use the bathroom to shower or the bed?’’

Me: ‘’I sat on the bed to work but I have not showered in the bathroom,’’ I said although this was the oddest question I have ever been asked during my hotel stay for all my travel.

Me: ‘’No I have not yet showered.’’

Reception Lady: ‘’Eh after 2hours in it.’’

Me: ‘’Yes, after 2 hours. I was working.’’

Reception Lady: ‘’Okay, so I move you to the other room and you pay extra?’’

Me: ‘’I am not paying extra for a mistake you made by forgetting that I was coming to stay here for an extra night.’’

Reception Lady: ‘’But the only rooms I have left are doubles.’’

Me: ‘’Madam either get me a room with running water and sockets that work or refund my money and I check out and find another place to sleep for the night.’’
Now as I said this I was well aware that it was midnight and this lady probably thought I was half mad but I was not bluffing.

Reception Lady: ‘’Okay take A102, it has 2 beds but only use one. Make sure you only use one and I will talk to the manager in the morning so that you pay the same rate.

Me: ‘’Fine, I said as I carried my luggage back 2 flights of stairs to the 2nd floor and went to shower.

As much as I have constantly passed through Mbale on the way to other destinations, I finally have a memorable reminder of my travel as a local tourist within my country.  But on a serious note, people who come from Mbale how would I possibly be able to sleep I 2 beds?

Ariel shot from hotel roof

Ariel shot of near by bar 

Friday, 22 July 2016

Village Stalker

My usually uneventful life was recently interrupted by some village romance but I do not want to give away my full story in the first line. Read on and enjoy.

Early one Sunday morning on my way to work I run into my neighbour’s house caretaker who is a talkative but pleasant Muganda man. Since I had not seen him in about 2 months and I recalled he had gone for an operation, I decided to stop, roll down the window and say hello. We got embroiled in a conversation that went on for over 10 minutes as I learnt that he was indeed feeling much better than when last I saw him. 

As we had our little catch-up session a young man who could be in his mid-twenties passed by us and said hello. The only issue was that he stopped ahead of us and did not leave so when I finished with my cheerful neighbour as I started to drive off, he walked towards me and asked for a lift to town. Ordinarily, I do not give lifts to strangers, however, knowing how dusty the area where I live is during the dry season, I decided to make an exception and honour his request.

Magadu: ‘’Thank you for accepting to give me a lift to town.’’

Me: ‘’Not town just the main road,’’ I responded since I did not plan on being in a vehicle with a complete stranger for more than 5 minutes.

Magadu: ‘’I am Magadu I live right opposite your house but was looking for a boda to get to the main road.’’

Me: ‘’Okay.’’

Magadu: ‘’Are you going to church?’’

Me: ‘’Not today, I have to work.’’

Magadu: ‘’Well I am going to church, I am a youth worker,’’ he said proudly as he showed me his recent certificate of baptism from his church. ‘’Are you somebody’s wife?’’

Me: ‘’No.’’ I responded with a slight frown as I was a little shocked at how forward this lad was. It was at this point that I began to get uncomfortable around this stranger so I pulled to the side of the main road and dropped him off.’’

Magadu: ‘’I hope we can be friends, thank you very much for the lift.’’

Me: ‘’Bye,’’ I responded as I sped off in order not to miss my appointment with stock books.

I forgot about this incident until about 2 days later when I had a knock at the gate at about 7:15am but since I was still in bed and this was my day off my sister went to check who it was. After a brief while she came back and asked me if I know a Magadu, I said I met him a few days ago but I did not know him. He had apparently asked to see me but had been sent away as it was too early for a random stranger to show up at our gate.

My sister asked if we had an appointment and I said no so she sent Magadu away but he said he preferred to wait for me. She did not hear any of that  and sent him away anyway only for her to find him seated at our gate post when she opened it 3 hours later to drive out to a meeting. She sent him away a second time and came in to ask me whether I was sure I had not forgotten about an appointment with a one Magadu. I answered in the negative and quickly closed the gate after she had exited. 

It was an odd occurrence but I decided to forget about it and got some breakfast ready as I prepared to take a shower so I could get down to some serious reading to prep for an exam the following day. However, 20 minutes later before I could step into the bath I heard a knock at the gate and so I got out of the shower and made myself decent. I opened the peep-hole at the gate and I peered through as I spoke,

Me: ‘’Hello is anyone there?

Magadu: ‘’Hello, its Magadu. I met you on Sunday morning.’’

Me: ‘’Uhh… yes, I remember.’’

Magadu: ‘’I came earlier to see you but your sister said it was too early to wake you.’’

Me: ‘’Yes she told me you wanted to see me but she did not tell me what it was about.’’

Magadu: ‘’Yes, I wanted to talk to you, can you come out?’’

Me: ‘’No, I am listening just tell me what this is about?’

Magadu: ‘’I was free at home today so I decided to come and help you.’’

Me: ‘’Help me, I do not understand. Help me with what?’’

Magadu: ‘’Wash your car, do some errands for you….’’

Me: ‘’Magadu, I met you on Sunday for about 3 minutes. I do not know you and you do not know me so how do you wake up and come to my house to help me?’’

Magadu: ‘’Yes because on Sunday I asked you if you were someone’s wife and you said no. So when I slept at night I thought about it and decided to come and talk to you. I love you.’’

Me: ‘’Pardon!’’ I blurted out of reflex not because I did not hear or understand but because it was the furthest thing from my mind.

Magadu: ‘’Yes, I want to spend time with you and talk to you. Can you come out and we talk?’’

Me: ‘’ No Magadu, I don’t know you. I met you just 2 days ago and we spoke for less than 3 minutes and now you love me. So is that why you woke up early this morning to come and sit at my gate for hours and wait for me? You can not to that.’’

Magadu: ‘’So you don’t want to see me, you don’t want to be my woman?’’

Me: ‘’No, Magadu I do not and please do not come to my house again. You are scaring my sister and making my neighbours very concerned.’’

Magadu: ‘’……but ….okay give me your phone number and I text you.’’

Me: ‘’No, Magadu. Do not come back to my house again I am going inside and I should not find you outside waiting for me again. If you cannot understand that then understand this, the next time I see you at my gate I will call the police.’’ I said this as I walked back into the house and locked all my doors and windows.

I was stunned for the better part of this conversation as I struggled to maintain a balance between being firm and not raging mad but ended up settling for the use of an elevated tone just short of yelling. The moral of this story is, mothers please raise your sons, do not leave any grey areas or things unsaid otherwise we will have many more Magadu’s in our world and this not something we would like. I will not be this kind to any more strangers going forward because I will be unsettled for the next few weeks every time I drive out of my gate.

Sunday, 26 June 2016

Educating the Kisementi security guard bully.

As Ugandans, we need to find a way of dealing with our insecurities and tapping into every professional fibre of our being so that we can actually do our jobs as per our job descriptions. A couple of months ago I started working at a cool place in Kisementi, now although I greatly enjoyed my new job I had the daily nightmare of where to find parking in this busy part of the city.

To deal with this in the early days of this new job assignment, I decided to come to work early to avoid any issues and get a head start on meeting my new team. I arrived at 6:45am so there was definitely no problem finding parking next to my workplace, so I was happy that I could rest easy at least for that day and focus on work. At about 7:00pm at the end of a jam-packed but amazing day, I strutted to my car in the parking area excited to head home and unwind over a new series I had been meaning to watch for a while.

I got to my car with no incident and was pleased to find all my car lights and side mirrors intact but as I unlocked my car door and flung my laptop bag into it I was greeted by a shrewd and unfamiliar voice.

 Security Guard: ‘’Hello madam, so you are the one who has really disturbed me today.’’

Me: ‘’ Hello, I beg your pardon!’’

Security Guard: ‘’How do you take my parking for a whole day?’’

Me: ‘’Your parking! I do not understand sir, kindly explain.’’ I said as I really did want him to since I wondered whether my mental faculties were dull due to the fatigue from the overly engaged day I just had.

Security Guard: ‘’Now, why did you park here? Don’t you know that I am the one in charge of this parking? Didn’t you see the sign post saying NO PARKING when you arrived?’’

Me: ‘’No I did not, there was no sign when I arrived.’’

Security Guard: ‘’ Madam, are you saying that I am lying?’’

Me: ‘’No, I am not but what time did you arrive here sir?’’

Security Guard: ‘’What does that matter! ’’

Me: ‘’I just want to know what time you arrived that’s al.’’

Security Guard: ‘’Around 8:00am.’’

Me: ‘’Good and who usually puts up the NO PARKING sign?’’

Security Guard: ‘’But now after abusing my parking you want to interrogate me. Do you know who I am, don’t you see my uniform? Madam, remember who is who here.’’

Me: ‘’No I am not, so just answer the question for me please sir,’’ I responded ever so calmly.

Security Guard: ‘’Of course it is me because I am in charge of this parking space,’’ he answered in a shrill but elevated tone.

Me: ‘’Okay, well I arrived at 6:45am and you were not yet here and there was no sign post.’’

Security Guard: ‘’Anyway that is not the point, the point is; do not park here. I am the only one who can let you park here.’’

Me: ‘’I did not know that thanks for the information.’’

Security Guard: ‘’Madam, do you think I am stupid. Are you making fun of me?’’

Me: ‘’No, I am not sir. So sir, where should I park then?’’

Security Guard: ‘’Anywhere, there is that whole parking area there just not here. This parking is for management of these shops and restaurant.’’

When he said this I thought to myself, this is why most Ugandans never progress in their workplaces. They think that authority is a license to bully people or be rude to them without even knowing whether this might be their new boss.

Me: ‘’Okay then sir, I would like to inform you that I am the manager of this restaurant.’’

Security Guard: ‘’….Ehh, now why didn’t you say that’ he responded after some hesitation as a dog caught with its tail between its legs would.

Me: ‘’Sir have a good day,’’ I responded as I got into the driver’s side of my car and prepared to drive off.

As I did, the security guard dashed away behind my car and removed the NO PARKING sign post he had put behind my vehicle that was blocking my exit. Going forward whenever he sees me he seems very numb and gagged often walking in the opposite direction when I walk past him. The morale of this account is to remind all you Ugandans out there earning a living as employees and not the boss to remain humble, we have enough Mufasa’s in our lives.

Wednesday, 27 April 2016

The night shift bank security guard.

We have all encountered that annoying security guard once or twice if you live or work in Uganda, whether it was at a checkpoint of a mall, an office entrance, washing or parking bay. There is one similar characteristic that they all share; they all think for you and make assumptions without having all the facts.

Recently I went to a DFCU bank Ntinda branch at Capital shoppers and on the outside there is an ATM with a security guard who was dozing at the time and only woke up when I pushed the booth door open. 

Within 1 minute I realised that there was a technical problem with this machine and I was not happy that I would have to go all the way to the Nalya Quality shoppers’ branch or back to town. I decided to engage the guard to see if I was the first person to complain that the ATM was not dispensing money.

Me: ‘’Hello Sebo, has this machine been down all day.’’

Security Guard: ‘’No it has been on and off like that like for about 2 hours.’’

I wondered, how an ATM machine worked like a security lights that go on and off but that is a discussion for another blog altogether.

Me: ‘’Okay so should I try again?’’

Security Guard: ‘’Let me see,’’ he said and after a minute he told me to come back after 5 minutes.

Me: ‘’Okay,’’ I said begrudgingly but decided to stroll around the mall as I waited.
However when I returned and walked towards his direction and said ‘’I hope this device will work this time and not capture my ATM card.’’

Security Guard: ‘’Nanti, the problem is you are talking too much.’’ (In Luganda)

Me:  ‘’What, excuse me!’’

Security Guard: ‘’You are saying too many things, you just keep quiet, believe and go back and try. But if you talk, talk, like that then of course it will not work.’’

Me: ‘’Fine,’’ I responded as I walked back into the ATM booth to give it one more go before I giving up. Sadly this time the screen display read, TEMPORARILY OUT OF SERVICE

So I walked out ready to leave with no look in the security guards direction only for him to say.

Security Guard: ‘’See it is not working because you said many words.’’
I was stunned as I turned around to glance at him before I walked away leaving him saying;

Security Guard: ‘’You try again tomorrow.’’

I was dumbfounded and also rather irritated at this point however, I decided I was not going to get into a full on exchange with this fellow for any reason and as I walked away he squirmed in his seat readying himself to get back to his nap while on shift with a firearm in hand. 

This led me to wonder how helpful his fire arm would be if I were being attacked in front or within the ATM booth. Many who saw me post this picture were unhappy but wouldn’t you be unhappier if I had done same with a casualty right next to him for his failure to stand guard during his shift? 

Ugandans we need to stop making excuses and pay attention to our job descriptions instead of giving ourselves new ones like this fellow who wanted to be the DFCU ATM booth entertainer. 

UMEME “ate” my Yaka units

On 24 th February 2020, my husband paid for my Yaka and I totally forgot to load it on our meter that night since I still had a few units...