Five to eight in the morning.
Beautiful day promised. The sun is out, but, the skies are overcast. No rain the last few days, that means the dust is up and about, a thick ever present red mist that lifts from the roads whenever cars pass.
And, the mornings... seems like smog to me. Kampala is growing, bigger, and heavier, a too pregnant mother. We wallow in our filth, which is kind of discouraging. This is very beautiful country.
Now, heavier cloud moves over the sun. Cooler, colder air, a nip in it on my skin. But, I still feel it in my bones that it will be bright hot and shiny later in the day. That is what it was yesterday. And, today it will be.
A few days without internet.
Is an addiction nowadays. I remember the days when I used not to have it..... , used to hear about that thing, the internet. Then there were days, soon after I had started working, when I would spend my off hours, and little money in internet cafes. Ridiculously slow, but, they gave access to the wonders of the wide world web. Was about that time that I came out to myself. The internet played a part. Not very easy to admit that I was gay. Not even to myself, even when I was acknowledging the emotions, and seeking out the thrills.
But, once it was acknowledged, to myself, the most immediate challenge was, where do I find others like me? I thought that I was alone, in the whole of Kampala, or Uganda.
Well, the internet showed me others.
Later, I made a website, on geocities, yahoo's free spaces. Gay Uganda. A cyber lover and I reworked it. Orokie. Theme captured our feelings at that time. He put up the photo of a single elephant on the index page, with the caption, 'You are not alone'. And next, a herd of elephants in the African bush, on trek, the dust of their movement rising a cloud around them, and the caption, 'We are many'
Orokie. Orokie of memories.
An artist and painter who lost his eyesight as a result of a tragic set of happenings. Orokie the painter, who used to call me the poet. His poet. He is the one who sketched that sideways nude 'me when I am me', hugely talented, gay, African, with the knack to see and notice, and express himself through simple complex images. With an eye for the African male.
No, we have lost contact. Much as the internet is the domain of those with sight, when the artist lost his sight, he dropped off the edge, periphery of perception.
Nostalgia. Wonder what he is doing....!
Those were the days.
At the moment, I do have access. There is some, seemingly at every street corner in Kampala. And the suburbs. No longer have to go down-town. No longer have to make a trek for it.
I used to pay exorbitantly. Still do, as a matter of fact. Internet in most of Africa is more expensive that elsewhere. The providers still have us squeezed for the access, though it seems as if they are feeling the competition.
Anyway, I am playing the consumers game. Trying to find a provider that will suit my pocket.... as low as possible. That means, whenever my subscription lapses, I go hunting for the best deal round town.
Well, I cannot have access to the cheapest and best deal. And, it irks me to fork out so much on internet....! Yet, it is a necessity of life, my life. I bet we shall write volumes on how the internet has revolutionised our lives. From helping our coming out as gay human beings, gay Africans. Seeking and finding love near and far. And, the organising, the maturing of our thought processes, as we wrestled free of the clinging homophobia, and found a vestige of freedom.
I love the internet. I say am addicted, but, it is like food. A necessary thing. I love it for the freedom to be myself that it allows me. The opening of the world to my senses and perception. I love it for the ability to connect to others that it gives me.
But, most of all, I love it for the extension of my being that it is.
Even now, not connected, off line, my mind is occupied by it. The time when I will log in and find myself connected. Able to surf and look at the news. From Tunisia to Tasmanian devils. Challenging the smallness of my world with the huge variety of perception. I love it for that.
Here is to a great day to you. When this is up, I will have posted.... will be online, again!
Have a great day.