Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Testing, testing...

Thinking time.

What drove the man in the house of horrors nightmare?

Humanity is such a contrast. We can be very kind, and very cruel. Irrespective of race, and of gender, and up bringing.

It is so easy to characterize and stereotype people. The stereotypes help us to think, and hide a lot of the individuality which we all show. Goodness is a perception, and so is evil. To some people I am evil because I am gay. Or I am evil because I affirm that I am gay. Or I am evil because I embrace other gay people from the ‘west’. To others, I am good because I am kuchu.

Once upon a time, soon after I had discovered the gay community in Uganda, I was very trusting. See, I had lived with my secret for years. Then I found that there were people who shared it, and I could trust my deepest, darkest secret with them. I thought that because I could trust them that way, I could trust them in all ways.

Well, kuchu life is a merciless jungle, wilderness. I was soon disabused of that.

Nowadays, when someone comes to me complaining of the ‘badness’ of the kuchu community, I commiserate, and tell them even kuchus are human beings. Bad, good, indifferent, some are supremely evil and uncaring of others. Some are worth of being friends.

That man who deceived his wife, abused his daughter from 11 years of age, then imprisoned her and made her a sex slave in a free country, fathering 7 children of her. Father, grandfather, and prison warder to his family, and benovelent grandparent to others. The only person with the key to the prison where his underground family was. What if something had happened to him? His children/grandchildren, who did not see light, literally for all of their life. To them freedom is a concept that is almost unimaginable. At least the mother had some memories of freedom. They could only see something on a television of the world outside.

Yet, they were victims, not truly able to change their circumstances.

But what drove the man? The man beast?

There are so many examples of such things round us.

Kony the Beast in Northern Uganda. Hitler and his henchmen. North Korea, Mugabe of Zimbabwe, etc, etc. I can understand ideology. Bush the 43rd and Bin Laden sincerely believe so completely in what they have bequeathed the world that they will go to their deaths believing in their opposing crusades. When one is that married to an idea, one tends to fail to think outside that box. Nothing exists beyond that box of thought.

So, if one is a Christian fundamentalist, all non Christians are a (slightly), despicable part of humanity which does not really know the truth. Same for one who is a fundamentalist Moslem, or Jew, or any other kind of marriage to an idea. Those who embrace your idea are the people. Those who do not are not, and anything is justified in the struggle to convert them, whether it is Communism or Capitalism.

But pure, simple, unadultered selfishness, like the man in the house of horrors shows is kind of hard to imagine. Selfish, self-centered, seeing the world totally in the self and not in family, or any other ideology. Willing, for his own or her own satisfaction and enjoyment, to enslave and imprison his own family. A total lack of care for others, or what may happen to them. I think we call them psychopaths. Another convenient ‘label’.

I admit that I do not understand them. Not at all. Doesn’t stop me from wondering how they think, what drives them.


Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Let's see whether this works

Sisters, Close your Eyes.

Uhm, I mean deT and Princess. I think them too young to read what I am going to write, but then, at their age the heading is a red banner for them, a must read. Well sisters, you are adults. You read at your own risk.

Woke up early, cosy in bed.

Was with him, wrapped around me. Didn’t feel like getting out of bed. Not for the dawn, nor the new sun, nor anything. Just wrapped myself closer to him.

There is something immensely satisfying in loving someone. On demand, with the lover, time stands still.

So it did this morning, me and him.

I wrapped myself around him, and he wrapped himself around me. Skin to skin. Length to length. We are a height, him and I, and it is supremely erotic to share the same skin feel, the thin sheen of moisture connecting us, making our hearts dance the same rhythm. Felt that I was drowning in the touch, feel, sense, warmth of him. Connected, not different, but one. The same heart beating, the same chest rising and falling, our breaths mingling. Minds in synch.
For a long time we lay like that, shifting now and again to seek a more comfortable position, adjusting a limb here, a limb there, just to fit better, more perfectly together. Not talking. That would have been superfluous. Unnecessary. My skin, my warmth informed his of all that we needed to know of one the other.

Sigh, it had to end. Needed to get out and prepare to come to town. Work calls, and am a wage laborer. My time hired out to the highest bidder. And, I have to honor that obligation.

His niece was in the house, on the way from one relative to another. Seems like a long time that I used to do that kind of visiting. It is holiday time. He is taking advantage of his position in the family as the eldest son. It amuses me. Though he is not completely 'out' to the family, he ‘forgets’ not to call me an endearment when we have company, any of his relatives. He does understand that he is a stigmatized minority, in the community. But in his family, he stands tall and straight, arrogantly claiming his birthright as an African male, with all the privileges of the leader of the pride.

Yesterday had a wonderful surprise.

Got a picture taker, the digital kind. A flurry of point and shooting, I have been doing. So, I send one of my sisters some photos. Including one of his. That was about a week ago. Then she writes back, complaining. She had noticed photos of others, but none of mine. Why? Was I camera shy? If she knew my lover’s contact, she would ask me.

Yes, she is the un-shy one, ready to tease me, and accepting of my sexuality, and family arrangements.

I showed him the e-mail. He took the pictures, and sent them to her. [I refused to read that letter!]

So, she writes back, teasing me, unmercifully. And she writes back to him.

First time that they have really been in contact. The fact that she accepts him, knowing that he is my lover, gives me a good feeling. Family. He is family, and family accepts him. Well, the others do not accept him. They know that he is and we don’t talk about it. But she knows, and accepts him, and is brave enough to write to him!

It is a beautiful day. [Could it be anything but?] Sun is out, a few clouds scattered on a blue sky. No rain, at least today, though may be in the future. Birds in the air, clean bright air. Uh, life is good.


Monday, April 28, 2008

A Walk

I have just been for a walk.

Up the hill, seeking to look out over the valley that I call home. Never realized that it is so beautiful, this valley. For a walk, or a run, or just plain lazing. You know, with absolutely nothing to do, but to look out and, like one of the many birds far, far in the skies, get lost in the circling of thought.

Yes, it was thought.

Thought about how beautiful my world is. The greens, and blacks, the loams and laterite reds of the soils. The deep blues of the skies, and the clouds that are ever racing over it. The magnitude of my sight, and its shortness. My world is beautiful.

I am not a bee, and will not cry how I cannot see it like a bee does.

Just plain old me, in plain old Kampala, amazed, anew at the beauty of this country that I call home. Fact, the ugly mixes with the beautiful. From the height of Rubaga, and Namirembe, I can see the beautiful houses, and the slums of the city. All of them are, where they are. And, though I would rather be in the posh suburbs than the slums, not even the rusted iron roofs distract from the beauty of this place. Home.

Today has been a funny day to me.

Cannot decide whether I am ok or not. Just like the skies,

They are not prepared to let the sun shine unchallenged, with clouds racing over her face most of the time, yet not staying long enough to make a perfect cloud cover. White sheep on blue hills there, they have been racing at pace too fast for sedate sheep. Maybe more like frisky lambs.

Seems kids are back from school. Holiday season, I kind of get to forget it during the long times off. Means less traffic in the city, less of the traffic jams. And, for my work, a bit more work than usual. Maybe will do to remember that.

But it also means that some will always be hanging around outside, lazing, or, the word is chilling?

No, it will not distract from the beauty of the day, nor my enjoyment of it.


Horror Story

I was not going to post.

Then I passed through some news stories, and a truly, macabre, horror story struck me. Certainly, not the kind to read on an early Monday morning, but life does not give us such relief.

AMSTETTEN, Austria (CNN) -- Austrian police were Monday investigating the case of a 73-year-old man who they believe held his daughter captive in his cellar for 24 years and fathered at least six children with her.

The woman, identified as 42-year-old Elisabeth F., has been missing since 1984, when she was 18 years old, police said at a news conference.

Police: Captive had at least 6 children by her father

Story Highlights
  • Woman tells Austrian police she was held prisoner in cellar for nearly 24 years
  • Police believe the 73-year-old man may have fathered at least 6 of her children
  • The 42-year-old woman had been missing since 1984, when she was 18
  • One of her children, a 19-year-old woman, is hospitalized in serious condition
For me to comment on this is like the statement that water is wet. Indeed, water is wet.

Caution, the story is not for the soft hearted. So, you click on the link at your own risk. You will not feel good after reading it. (But then, life is not only about feeling good, is it?)

A true horror story.


Saturday, April 26, 2008


I am embarrassed.

Woke up today, very early. Prepared, in part because my lover was also up, and had something to do in town. So, out of bed, to town, on a Saturday morning. Only to discover that I was not supposed to be at work.

Sent a message to my lover. (Didn’t want to talk to him. A sharp tongue sometimes!) And he rang back, and asked me how I had come to make such an embarrassing mistake. Not so subtle!

I decided to walk back home. Wanted to say in penance, but if it was penance, I loved it too much. Heavy overcast, sun just filtering a grey light through. Promising rain, but none as yet. Kampala is a burgeoning city. Yes, despite the too visible signs of squalid poverty, there is a pace to it that is ‘city like’. A poem, that I stopped on the roadside to pen.


burgeoning, building, busy city;

the feel of the inside of an anthill-

termite citadel indeed,

all inhabitants busy going- somewhere

too busy to take note

one tiny insignificant ant, me.


Friday, April 25, 2008


A literal interpretation of words,

Written, spoken, is not the only one;

Though it is the most replicable-

(able to show, reproduce.)

But there’s something, somewhat higher

A tone, emotion, motion, muse

That the literal touches not

That unique stays on mind’s imprint;

A flame, lick of flame,

At once beautiful and eternal

The reader will read, and touching which exclaim;

‘Yes, I do’, with the poet.


Thursday, April 24, 2008

I am not Normal


I did think that I was. Just something to remind me of it.

Was it in 2004, or 5, Radio Ssimba was fined 1.5 million UGX for hosting a show talking about gay Ugandans and HIV. What reminds me of that? Why, news from Singapore

Television company fined for making gays look 'normal'

Singapore's City State Regulator has fined a television station £5000 for featuring a gay couple in way that makes them look 'normal.'

Prior to 2003, homosexuals were barred from being employed in "sensitive positions" within the Singapore Civil Service.

Ok, I will continue to insist that I am normal. Who else will shout that for me?


The Big Day

Oh, it will come, I assure you, deT, it will come.

But first of all, there are all the small things to go through. The big day is the day that he takes you away. Am not a Christian, and I am not going to insist on that, Sis. That will be up to you.

After he has discussed, and we have agreed on the bride price, and how he is to pay it (installments, for some tribes, past the birth of the first babies...)

The big day. We invite the whole village. And the family. And the extended family.

We start early, (East African Standard Time; 2 hours after the stated time), and of course they will do us the honour of coming 3 hours afterwards. That is the definition of ‘fashionably late.’

When the whole village is gathered, and the ‘Bako’ arrived, and I have put on my traditional clothes to welcome them, (I am resplendent in leopard skins and ostrich feathers. I know, many girls have told me. Sigh!), then, and only then will the ‘Introduction’ ceremony start.

I will not bore you with the details- they are intricate, and vary with tribe and place.

We will be told everything about his family. His great and grandparentage. And we shall be informed that he has come for something special from our home.

After a lot of haggling, (mock haggling), since everything is pre-arranged, we shall at last come to you identifying him in the middle of all his brothers and sisters.

Now, some tribes in the east are reputed to follow a certain custom.

You are supposed to identify him, and then run off.

He will chase you, and not catch you until you are far into the banana plantations. Then he will wrestle you to the ground (You have to struggle and soak him a few in the gut. No sister of mine is going to appear easy!)

And then he will have his way with you, and you will come back as his wife. "Rape of the Willing" we call it. Or we will have some other such custom. But the end result is that he goes with you.

I have to warn you sister, me, I have no sympathy with the new fangled Christian tradition things. If you want, you will go to church, and invite me or your dad to give you away. If you don’t want, that is up to you. It doesn’t matter to me.

But it is important to some people. Like little sis, Princess here. And some of my aunties. So, we shall have to choose a Ssenga for you who will not mind the traditional way. Some of them will insist on that. Imagine, one of them once insisted on not having the beer at a wedding– just because she was a Christian!

Now sis, I know all this has been a bit of a shock, and revelation to you, of course. But don’t worry. Now that you have told me, everything will be done, officially. And we will not have to beat him up, for thinking our family is nothing…

So, what do you say, sister?


Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Now that I know.

I am the ‘Muko’, and you have informed me, deT. Officially.

So, we have to start thinking about what is supposed to happen. And there are lots of things to prepare for.

For example, we have to choose a ‘Senga’ for you. One of my father’s sisters, of course. But she gets a very special role. Go between for my family, and his family. She is the one who arranges things.

Since I know, everything will be easy.

First, I will inform daddy. My duty. And then, of course, mummy. Not so important, but she must know. (Sorry for the political incorrectness. I am an African male. [glare]) The Ssenga is very important. She will teach you about all the correct and expected behaviour, that my dear Muko will expect.

For example, you don’t look him in the eye, he is a man. You look demurely to the side. Make sure that the water in the bathroom is hot enough before you tell him that it is ready. I have a suspicion that he is a Muganda. Now, that is the most difficult tribe. He will expect you to be his slave in the home, in all but name. But that is your duty as his woman.

By the way, you didn’t tell me, are you the first wife?

[You are startled. I realize that you don’t know]

Sigh. The duties of the elder brother! I will have to find out. Of course I am going to. Find out how many children he has, whether he is willing to make you the official wife. You have to be. And I have to know. Part of the negotiations.

When we get to the bride price, that is a big, big thing.

Forgive me sister, you are white, priceless. A mzungu. Oh, what glory you are going to bring to the family! If he is a Muganda, he will not give me cows. But if he is from the west, I will value you about 30 heads of cattle. Minimum.

Don’t frown, DeT, you have no say in all these things. What you have to do at the moment is to learn all the good behaviour expected by a Rev of you. You must not shame the family. That is what the Ssenga is supposed to do. Marital counseling. Not martial counselling. [Of course he will beat you sometimes, but that is besides the point]

I don’t think we have the Kama Sutra in our tradition, but your Ssenga is supposed to teach you everything.

(Err, DeT, don’t shame me by trying to kiss her. That will certainly distract her)

You are lucky. We are a modern, ‘educated’ family. She will not insist on spending the Night of the Nuptials underneath the bed to give you instructions in pleasuring the man of the house. That is her right. To see that it happens, and of course to bring evidence of your virginity out of the room triumphantly the next day.

So, Sister DeT, you are quiet, are you taking that in? He is a cute guy, I know, but you must not shame the family. That is the most important thing.


Tuesday, April 22, 2008


They were asking where I was. They were debating, why should I tell that what I was doing? But I accepted to be deT’s big brother. I have to tell.

I was sulking. A very big sulk. But now I have forgiven all of you, and decided to teach you the customs. So, let us all pretend that we are sitting by the fireside. And I am big brother, and Princess is the little sis who is too young to teach slightly bigger sister DeT all the intricacies of our customs.

So, we are together, and the fire is dancing. We have eaten the evening meal. And, since I have decided to teach something, I will tend the fire. Small sister has to listen, because this is not my job, I am not a girl, and (I suppose) she should have known all these things. I don’t know how, but I suspect Mama should have taught you, little sis, these things. In the conversations since your breasts started budding.

DeT grew up in ‘foreign’ countries. She is forgiven her ignorance.

So, sister DeT, I have found out that something is going on behind my back, and I did not want to embarrass you. I asked little sis to teach you, but she did not. [Deserves a big slap. Glare. How can you force me to teach her!]

So, sister DeT.

First some disclaimers.

We have many different tribes in Uganda. So, our customs differ, a lot. I will try to make this as simple as possible, but it may stretch into 3 posts. So, prepare to do a lot of listening. And listen you must [sternly]

I am gay, something you know. I also grew up in Kampala. But my father came from deep in the countryside. So, I proudly claim that I am of a certain tribe. Which I am not going to reveal. And, sister, you are an honorary member of the tribe. So, you will follow our customs [Glare].

The slight problem is that I do not know these things as I should. And, the girls know them better than I do, and, I have not had the chance to make an ‘introduction’

But that is jumping the gun.

Li’l sis DeT, I don’t know 27th. Not at all.

Yes, I know the slight guy with dreadlocks who keeps blogging about his Communist ideals. He is nothing to me. Maybe a friend [sniff], or acquittance. We may share a beer once in a while, or a cigarette, if I smoke and he does, but I don’t know anything about him relative to my family, of which you are a member.

So, I don’t know about what is happening between you two. I don’t. I swear, and that I will swear on the most sacred of all places. The graves of certain people.

So, if you meet and like him. That is your deal. If you like the way he smiles, that is up to you. I will not interfere. I will look away. I will not see anything until you tell me. That is your privilege, but beware!

If I am from a certain tribe in Uganda, you have to be very careful about shacking up with 27th. Suddenly, I may become aware. And violent.

If you are together, and living at his place for a time and you have not told me, I will get my brothers together. (Six). I will come when you are both at home. We shall beat him up, with you looking on, and carry you off home.

But don’t worry. We are modern. We shall leave you together for about a year before we decide to teach him a lesson. [glare] He would have to pay for that. Rank disrespect to my family. How can he think my sister is cheap? Or free?

Now, if you have been living together, and doing things which I do NOT want to know, and something happens, and a small life starts growing in you. Then remember that you are almost time barred. I MUST know as soon as possible. Because when you put on some weight, then it is no longer in my hands. You are my sister, so I look after you, as a surrogate for my father. When that happens, he will ask me about that, and I MUST know what to answer the old man.

So, sister DeT, you come to me, on an evening when we are together like we are, with small sis Princess looking on with very wide adorable eyes. And, as I am looking with a frown into the flames, you jog my elbow.

I look at you, and you smile.

I have something to tell you, big bro. You say

I frown, sensing that it is serious. Turn my full attention to you, and listen.

You know I am an adult now. (I nod), and it is time for me to start thinking about a place of my own. (more vigorous nod. Girl, you are overdue, since the breast buds started showing.)

So, I have seen a boy.

(I frown. A boy, what boy is playing with my sister?)

Err, a man (quick interruption from you. My frown was getting ugly). He likes me, and I like him.

(I am listening. It is your forum, it is you who must tell me.)

He has asked me to be with him. (you say it all in a rush, eyes cast down)

After a few minutes, you look up at me. My face is split in a huge grin. The teeth are reflecting the starlight, the moonlight, and the firelight.

Relax, little sis. My face says. I knew, and I was waiting for you to INFORM me. So, Princess, besides me, relaxes. It is not going to be a fight. I have been informed. But that is not all. Those are the preliminaries


Bathroom Scale Beggars; the Reason

When I made the last post, the Bathroom Scale Beggars, I asked, rhetorically, what would make me send a child of mine to beg in the street.

Nasty thing, rhetorical questions.

I did not know that sooner rather than later, it would be answered. By this article on the CNN website.

Boy flees Islamic school that forces African children to beg

Story Highlights

* 1.2 million of the world's children are trafficked to work for the benefit of others

* At least 7,600 child beggars work the streets in Dakar, Senegal, study says

* Study: 90 percent of the boys are sent out to beg under the cover of Islam

* Boys who don't make 72 cent quota stripped, doused with cold water, beaten

Now that I know, what am I going to do about it? Just another of those real life stories to remind me that I live in a jungle. The terrible, real life jungle of life. I am so well off that I am ashamed! But I do have to remember that some are that much worse off than I am.


The Bathroom Scale Beggars

Mateo’s bar, in the middle of Kampala. Usually after 9pm, onto past midnight, that is when you will see them. Kids, boys, age range ten to early teens. Each with a bathroom scale, accosting the customers on the roadside bar.

Ostensibly, they are providing a service. They ask whether you want your weight taken. If you do, they put down the scale, and you step on it, and in return give them a coin. 100 Uganda shillings (about a twentieth of a USD) is their prize.

In fact they are begging.

The crowd is affluent. Mateo’s is mid to upper class. A popular hangout. Doesn’t hurt that it is on Parliamentary Avenue, in the middle of town, and that it spills out its clientele on the roadside, with the new Chogm lights giving the place a kind of open door ambience. Drive in, with cars carelessly packed on the street, lining it. Turning it from the hectic business district that it is during the day, to a hangout. Popular and populated.

So they take advantage of it.

Or rather, their parents take advantage of it. A well dressed crowd pouring out money on drink. Here comes a kid, scruffy, armed with a bathroom scale, and asking to weigh you. They are persistent. You look down, and there he is, by your side, cutely looking up in your face, thrusting the bathroom scale at you.

‘Want to know your weight?’

Of course we are all soft hearted towards kids. Some will look away, and the kid will take the hint. Some will look in surprise, brush him off with a coin, or, intrigued, he or she would discover that they do want to know their weight there, right then, on a Saturday evening when they were out chilling. And of course, if one does, why not the whole group? The kid smiles, and rakes in the loot. Ladies, they do look put out if they don’t get to know their weight at that particular moment. Make sure the poor kid goes home with at least a coin in hand. And there are others who just give them the money, without the excuse of knowing their weight.

Life is full of challenges.

I wonder what would make me send out my child to beg? What kind of necessity, but a desperation that I have yet to really understand.

The bathroom scale beggars are fairly well off. The families of women and children that man the streets downtown during the day and early evening are more chilling. They line the streets, at a regular 5 meters or so. Children, 2, 4, 6 years of age. Clearly a family. Ragged clothes, the older girls babysitting a toddler, and the mother, somewhere within the vicinity. A suckling infant in her arms. Where are the men? Bad question.

The bouncers (security) at Mateos know the kids. And they play a game of hide and seek, cat and mouse with them. When they are busy, the kids slip in, under the rope, to get to the customers tables. When the bouncers realize that they are there, they take a few steps towards them, and the children disappear- as quickly and silently as they appeared.

The more regular customers kind of brush them off. Too common a sight, they are invisible with the familiarity of the common. But they will usually manage to get a few coins. Which reminds me of Sherlock Holmes’ beggar. Begging is a lucrative profession, if you can but manage to do it.

Err, bloggers are having their monthly bloggers hour. At Mateos at a very unfashionable hour. Thursday at 6 pm! You guys are just nerds or what? I can understand Princess being reluctant to take the alcohol laden breaths at other times, but 27th? Revolutions are made in dinky, smoke wreathed rooms, with lots of alcohol.

I cant promise that I will be there, or not, but mind reserving a chair for me, 27th?


Monday, April 21, 2008

Past Mid-day

It is a day beautiful.

Rain when I woke up. Failed to get out of bed, his arms held me, and his body was warm, and. He is my love.

I held him and thought how beautiful it was to do so.

Yesterday, in a bar, a friend came to greet us. An acquitance, I should say. I know him, but no more than his first name, which is not his name of course. Throw back to the bad old days. But one has to respect a person’s privacy.

I asked the friend who he was going out with these days.

He shook his head, despondent in the gloom. No one special. Dismissively. The boys were just not serious. Jokingly, I told him he needed to make a connection. If he did not risk it, he never would be able to. He shook his head. I was very lucky, he told me. I was lucky that now me and my lover are like brothers. I objected, strenuously. I would not do with my brother what my lover and I had done in bed Sunday morning.

He laughed, we laughed.

But the conversation had become too heavy, and he was not comfortable.

Yes, I know I am lucky.

Lucky to be me, lucky to live in this country, to call it home.

The rain has stopped. But the grey overhang still is. Cannot say I can point to where the sun is. That heavy, the cloud curtain. The rain has stopped, but the drizzle is. A reminder. The leaves of the trees stir in the breeze, and the air is sharp, clean, cold.

It is criminal to be indoors, but that is something that I may not have much control over. Have to look out the windows longingly. Wish to be out in the pure, cold air outside, breathing in the beauty of the day.

A guava tree in our compound, a big one. That tough hardwood gnarled and twisted with age. The water has made some interesting patterns on the bark, a painting, abstract that I will not try to fathom. Except that it is, and it is beautiful.

Life is beautiful that way, so simply, uncomplicatedly beautiful.

Have a good day.


I don’t want to see like you do.

Childish, I know.

I don’t think I see like you do. Your perception, it is different. It is yours.

It is not mine, neither is mine yours. But what is yours, is yours.

When I say I am stubborn, I mean, I don’t want to see like you do, and do not hope to have sight that is similar to yours. Because we are different, you and I. Different we have grown up, different we have had our experiences. And different we have had our births. Simply put, I am me, and you are you, and we are different. I don’t want to see like you do.

What do I see?

Different things.

It is a rainy day. Dull, you would say. Cloud cover close, skies grey, or a silverish grey tone. And there is water dripping with them. Not particularly fast, and not slow.

Yet, is this day dull?

In the swamps of Kampala, the valleys, floods have already entered the houses. Those who slept in them have had to leave, and seek for higher ground. I am on higher ground, but the house leaks. A persistent leak that I have failed to get the landlord to repair.

The house is not small by many standards. Yet it is small. And we live in a small compound. My neighbour just a few houses away lives with two teenaged sisters, and a younger brother in two rooms whose total area is about the size of my living room. And, the play area for the child is smaller than my bedroom.

Ok, I do live in a big house, but I see it is small.

The grass is green, and wet, and turgid. The fence, hedge is green and florid. In need of a trim, which I am too lazy to give. The rains have made every green thing to flower, and every flower to blaze in bloom. Rain and sunshine. This is god’s own country of Eden.

I see the rain, and the wind. I see the clouds, and the grey. I see the skies, and the brown bleeding earth, red where it has been newly torn.

All that I see, with my sight, and eyes. And I do not want to corrupt my sight with yours. I know. You see better, of course. You see further, faster, keener. But that is you, and not me. I do not want to see like you do.

Me, and my love, we are different as day and night.

Not oil and water, which do not mix, but day and night, which mix and are in harmony at certain times. Dawn, dusk, twilight. Moonscape, a reflection of the day’s light in the night. When we were newer, he railed and shouted at me, demanding that I see like he does.

I am stubborn. I told him I am not him. I do not demand that he sees like I do. I appreciate the beauty that he brings, and see my faults glaring. But I would rather be me, than try to be him.

So we have lived, for years, in a jungle and through flash floods and droughts. Different, but in harmony.

Maybe that is the key that we have had.

I don’t know, neither would I affirm that it is so. I will not be so foolhardy as to have a firm opinion on something that I know enough to know that I do not know completely. But I will not be lured by your higher knowledge, or greater knowledge, or your passion, or your insistence.

I do not want to be you. I don’t want to see as you do.

If you would guide, guide. Do not demand that I follow, because I will not.

Point out that path, and let me go off stumbling into the bush. Yes, I may stumble back, higher up, or lower, or even go on, lost to the path. Thanks for your care, but I don’t want you to lead me. Show me, and I will be proud to make my mistakes. But I do not want to see as you do.


To Princess I dedicate this. It is a strange post, but, hell, hope you understand. A partial answer to a question that you asked me long ago, and I declined to answer.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

A Song

There is a song in poetry, a song, that I can hear.

Sometimes it is loud and clear. Many times it is soft and low, a serenade that I have to hearken to. Concentrate to listen, and hear. Words, they are words. Beautifully crafted, the language understandable, the meaning clear. But that does not make it poetry, that does not make it verse.

There is a song beneath, that weaves emotion with the verse, that makes the most mundane of words shine, a song that I cannot but listen to, a song that is irresistible to my ear. If I but take a second to listen, it can stretch into an hour, that song, it can turn into a choir, a chorus, a tempest of emotion. If I can but listen, the song is a hurricane, a storm and a whisper from heaven.

There is a song in poetry, a song that I would hear.


I wish I could…

uh, so many things. Wish I could write, better than I do. Or sing better than bathroom stuff. Or make money like Midas. Maybe the world would be a much better place than it is, because I could. Or, more than likely, it just would not. It would be its ever dull self, in need of further improvement.

Yesterday, I broke my silence in a shout. I was in pain. The Buddo tragedy really touched me. Reminded me of the time that I was in school, and I was not that happy. It came pouring out, the anger, and bitterness. It’s a matter of fact that I have been avoiding the papers. A lot of us do know what happened at that school, and we cannot but think that, but for the grace of god, it would have been me. Or my son or daughter, or cousin.

Fact is, life is a game of Russian roulette. And sometimes the choices that we are forced to make are not the best. And we pay the price. Dearly.

Most, if not all, our boarding schools are fire traps. That is a matter of fact.

The parents, many do not know. Or don’t understand. They do not realize that there are minimum standards to a building, and that the schools do not follow them. A struggle to survive, the administrators, the schools, the teachers. Needing the money and desperately seeking it. School fees are unbelievably high. They do take up most of the family budgets, and a boarding school seems like a good solution to harassed working parents. The parents are relieved, when the child goes to a ‘good’ school. Accepting academic standards above other standards. The schools try to spend as little money on the children as they can. The infrastructure is poor. Government schools have been flooded with the ‘Universal Primary Education’ kids, and the standards have nosedived. And the oversight is non existent.

I cannot claim to be a typical gay Ugandan. A typical gay Ugandan does not have a blog! A typical Ugandan is most likely illiterate, even in his mother tongue. And most do not have access to computers, or internet for that matter.

More likely, we (as in the bloggers!) are the elite. Duh!

I have gone through a school straight out of Dicken’s Oliver Twist orphanage. So have many people, most of the ‘elite’ Ugandans. But seems like that time was so long ago, and the struggle to earn a living, build a house, raise a family, are so overwhelming that we have forgotten what we passed through. Or find it hard to effect any meaningful changes.

The politicians are looking around for the usual scapegoats. The headmaster. Poor guy, charged with murder! Ridiculous. Even in Uganda, that should carry at least the intent. So, instead of focusing on the real reasons, they are looking for scapegoats, and headlines, and someone to blame. Stupid, but then, that seems to be an abiding condition of the human race.

I wished to write on poetry. But I was diverted. I am still angry and disappointed and unhappy. And still guiltily remembering the days that I used to take my brother to school, and look at the dormitory and wonder, wow, what if a fire broke out there. Yes, the anger is mixed with personal guilt. I swore off taking any child of mine to any of our boarding schools. But when I had to send my brother to secondary, I had to choose a boarding school. Guess I am still guilt ridden…

Oh, wish I could, … so many things!


Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Fire in the House

Down, but not out.

When am down, down things seem to matter. So here goes.

20 children burnt in the dormitory of a boarding school. One of the supposedly premier boarding school in the country. Girls’ dormitory, the matron had locked the children in.

I have shied away from the papers since I heard the headlines on the fm stations yesterday. I was in boarding school, for long. Too long. I grew to hate it.

Hell holes. Sanctioned living hell holes. The new vision is the government paper, and, just maybe, the horror of this will make us do some self examination. The horror is here, and a list of other school fires. Suprisingly common, arent they? The graphics. Not for the faint hearted.

But reminded me of my boarding school dormitory. Triple decked beds, wires and steel posts everywhere. Having to climb up to the highest deck, or the lowest, as necessary. A concrete cage with steel partitions. Used to like the uppermost deck best. Open, to the roof. Could lie in it and look at the roof, when it was not too hot. No ceiling, plain corrugated iron sheets. Unpainted.

A fire in that place?

Makes me shiver. More than 200 kids crammed into the room. Two doorways, at either end of the long A-frame building. And one side free of the triples. Only one side of the room had a space that ran the length of the room. The beds were arranged in rows, 3 beds per row, end to end, a half meter of space between neighbouring rows. Big enough for us to squeeze our small frames through. And to jump from one bed to the next, in case of an emergency (prefect sighted, lights not out, not in own bed, etc)

Good thing the windows were large, no glass, plain iron frames with those rectangles in which the glass was supposed to go, just big enough for us to squeeze through. (Done, on some occasions. Prefect coming and we are not supposed to be in the dorm.)

Why did we never get fires? Don’t know. Law of probabilities, and we lucked out, maybe.

The dorm was just a shelter against the elements. The rain and the sun. When it was cold, it was miserable, wind from the lake from one end of the room to the next. When it was hot, the iron roof held the heat lovingly and baked us underneath. Oh, we did not have fires, because we were not allowed electric implements in the dormitory. Though there were some dare-devils who would boil a mug of water. Very simple implement, the heater. Get a bed spring, the coiled type, just small enough to fit in a mug of water. (Glad that they were plastic). Put live electric wire one end of it, and another the other end. Sockets of the lights worked well. And wait for the water to boil. For some reason, I don’t remember finding any sockets in the power points. Didn’t leave them there when I left.

Ugh. Nice memories, those.

Still, at least there was no fire, not when I was there. I hated the place so much (not the living conditions, which I am surprised I remember, but the constant, gnawing hunger in the pit of the stomach, that is why I hated that school), I have never gone back since I graduated.

But at least I did graduate alive.


Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Alternative Treatment

One of my neighbours’ was involved in a road traffic accident.

Lucky, she is alive, but had multiple breaks in bones of a leg. Nasty. So, she is taken to hospital, and has pins(?) or nails put in.

Now, there is a big debate outside.

Another neighbour is singing the healing powers of a traditional doctor. Apparently the guy has a big practice at Rubaga, and is well known. He talked about it before, apparently, the neighbour’s husband investigated. The traditional doctor informed them that, before treatment, he wanted the nails removed. Something which did not go down well with the lady in question.

But the other neighbour is really convinced that they are making a mistake. They should go see the traditional medic, and he should have his way, and that the fractures will heal faster. I don’t like the guy (other neighbour), he is a bully, and loudmouth and opinionated. Yet he makes me remember the available health options for people in Uganda.

Health care is expensive. Really, prohibitively expensive in Kampala. Yes, just had a sick person, my mother in law last year. But there are all the traditional options available. People believe in them, they are advertised on radio, and TV, and touted by the community. And they are cheaper.

Do they work?

I have to sincerely say that I do not know. Some of the things are plain sleight of the hand magics. But others are herbs and things like that. I have to say that I tend to ‘believe’ when I know how a thing works. So, I don’t believe in a magic. Big deal.

My lover believes in them. And I know most Ugandans believe in them. Is it the belief which makes them work? I don’t know.

Once, I was in hospital, and I listened in to a conversation.

A child had been brought in sick, a fever I think it was. While at the hospital, the child had a convulsion. The father immediately decided that this sickness was beyond ‘western’ medicine. He requested for discharge.

I listened as the doctor tried to change the parent’s mind. He did try, but it was like they were on different wavelengths. The doctor didn’t understand the parent’s concern, the parent couldn’t understand the doctor’s insistence. Ultimately, the parent took the child away.

Do alternative medicines work? At the moment, the problem is also being complicated by the Pentecostal pastors who are claiming miracle cures, even of HIV/AIDS.

Do they work? I don’t know.

I have listened to the discussion, today is the second day. I think they will take the neighbour’s wife to the traditional doctor. Me, I don’t know what advice to give. I simply don’t know all the pros and cons. And I would rather admit that than argue for or against one option.


Of Muse

Poet, Poetess is, and only is

muse’s servant, interpreter;

Horn my ear to listen,

feel the soul of poet, poetess

come pouring out in heartfelt words;

another world, woven around mine,

the entrance the poem, words

that no longer words are

but doorway to muse.

©GayUganda 15 April 2008

Monday, April 14, 2008

Sense of Community

Yesterday, about 10 in the evening.

Seated at a bar, one of our bars. Kuchu bars, I term them. But that is a very loose term. It is a kuchu bar as and when we are there. It is not when we are not there.

Looked around and counted, at least 50 kuchus.

It is true there were many others who were most likely not kuchu, but there was, and is, something special in knowing that so many of us are meeting in the same place. Incognito, yes, and I bet few who are not in the know would be able to figure it out un-aided. But we were there, and we knew one another.

A sense of community, a sense of common knowledge.

Kuchu society, under the current circumstances, is very much a jungle society. Closeted, secretive. Stressed by what affects the rest of society, in addition to the need to remain invisible. A sub-culture separate from the rest of the community, yet a part of it. Individuals who are immersed in it in different ways, to differing levels.

We differ.

There are the sex workers. True, we know them, and they know we know, but we are all kuchu. There are the less blatantly ‘sex for gain’ people. There are those looking to lay and get laid. There are those seeking for company, some out for a chance to talk freely with other kuchus. Others fearful and lurking in the shadows, looking around. I like the variety. From ‘white collar’ workers to office messenger, we are all equal at that hour. Men and women, kuchus. Incredibly, our tribal differences barely register.

A sense of community, noting some who have not been seen for a while. Careful about the inquiries. There are some areas that are red limited. Though there were some guys who had come in with children, obviously their children.

Meet, talk, look around. See new faces, talk to new people, tease out those who are on the fringes.

It is a jungle. One has to know his or her limits, how to take care of one’s self. But it is a jungle which for the kuchu spells the comfort of the familiar. An uncritical, accepting environment. A safe space that is defined by the time and space. It may not be as safe on other days, or other times, but at that time, it was.

Saturday, we were at another place. Again, there were lots of us, but it did not feel as safe, as confortable as the Sunday place.

I was struck by the thought that the comfort zone is getting better and better defined. And more comfy, at least to my perception. For some, it may not be so. Saw a couple of lads who looked lost. Felt like going and giving them a hug, just to say welcome, you are safe.

Now, it is morning. Another week, a Monday.

Rained at night, the leaves fresh green and glistening with dew, the land washed and muddy roads. Yes, the evening was refreshing, and feels like time for most of us to duck into the usual closets of our existence.


Sunday, April 13, 2008

Ethics and Culture

Since Thursday, I haven’t posted.

Writers block. Hit me right in the head. Paralysed the fingers, made me just wish to read.

But even the reading is not going on that well.

Now, instead of being out somewhere else, I am seated on a keyboard, trying to make sense of words.

Last post, we were debating different ideals and ideas. Now, here is another example of a dilemma which is very ‘western’ in concept.

You know about ‘lawyer’s privileges’? A client can tell a lawyer that he or she is guilty. And the lawyer still has to go to court and defend the client. And of course, what the client tells the lawyer is under seal. The lawyer cannot testify against a client.

Well, a pretty story. Two lawyers, with a client. The client was accused of some murders. He was convicted. He told his two lawyers that he was the murderer in another case, in which another man was charged.

The two lawyers felt they could do nothing about this. The innocent man was taken to a sentencing hearing. The two lawyers were there. They were relieved when the man was given a life sentence, instead of death. They knew that he was innocent, but they could not tell anyone.

Time passes. 26 years, that is, before they did manage to get a judge to get their testimony. 26 years when the innocent man was in prison.

Now, because he was proven guilty, he cannot just be released. Bureaucratic red tape and the law. He is still in prison.


If I was one of those lawyers, would I have done that?

I don’t know. I am not sure that I would.

I am of the opinion that ideals are not perfect. We always have to temper them with reason- not follow them always. A guide instead of the roadmap.

But then, I am a Ugandan, an African with my life experience basically African, Ugandan. I cannot sit and judge those lawyers. Though, like the innocent man in prison for 26 years, I wonder, is the integrity of my word worth the life imprisonment of an innocent man?


PS. Strange to observe this, but I think that we as Africans judge guilt differently from the 'western' justice system. The ‘western’ sense is that a person is not guilty until proven so in a court of law. Ours? The burden of proof is usually on the accused.

Why do I think so?

Again and again I have heard that the police are so corrupt that they release thieves taken to them. That they imprison accused persons for a short time and then release them.
That is one of the reasons the common man here seems so distinctly contemptuous of the police. And why mob justice is so rife, I think. Take a thief to the police cells, and he will be out in a couple of days, so reasons the community. Yet, in their eyes, a thief deserves death, and the sooner it is meted out, the better. So, the cry, ‘thief!’ will turn a street of strangers into a mob which will kill one so accused. If he runs, his fate is sealed.


Thursday, April 10, 2008

Some Latter Day Saints

I have been following this story.

Frankly, to me, polygamy is normal. That is the society and community that I have grown up in. And I just don’t feel like rejecting my many half brothers and half sisters because they are not part of the ‘nuclear’ family. Yesterday, was talking to one of my, should I call her, one of my sister’s mothers. She was talking nostalgically of the ‘old days’ when men fathered whole villages of children. The lady who lives with my dad susshed her, quickly. Guess it is because she knows that I am gay. And have no heirs apparent.

But that is not what was happening in Texas.

A religion, a fall back to the old practices, geared towards only one thing- putting the man on a pedestal, and the woman, as a lesser member of the race, on the servitude level. Servant is too good a description. Slave would be more apt.

And this was happening in the Texas, US.

It has been happening in the oil rich countries of the Arab world, for years, and will continue for years. Women are chattel, there. Fact.

For it to happen in the name of religion, is no big deal. That is how we justify innumerable cruelties. For an enclave of slavery to be created in a free country is something which is horrible to imagine. It has happened before. It will happen again. Here is the full story.

The 16-year-old girl whose phone calls led to a raid on a polygamist compound in Texas identified Dale Evans Barlow as the man who she said beat, choked and sexually assaulted her after their "spiritual marriage," according to a court document unsealed Wednesday.

An affidavit says "Sarah," 16, said Dale Evans Barlow, shown in 2005, beat her and forced her to have sex.

The affidavit, signed by Texas Ranger Leslie Brooks Long, also says a former member of the polygamist church told authorities details of the sect's activities -- including a bed inside the group's temple that adult men used to have sex with underage girls immediately after wedding ceremonies.

After authorities raided the ranch late Thursday, the ranger "observed the bed within the temple that had disturbed bed linens and a strand of hair that appears to be from a female head."

The document said the 16-year-old, whom state officials call Sarah, identified her husband as a 49-year-old named Dale Barlow

According to the document released Wednesday, the girl said she has an 8-month-old child and is pregnant again. She said Barlow has beaten her -- once hard enough to break her ribs -- choked her and forced her to have sex with him.

She said another of Barlow's "spiritual wives" would hold her infant child while he beat her.

Long also wrote about seeing a document at the ranch that suggested marriages between one man and more than 20 wives -- all of whom lived in the same house.

Wow, talk about a man’s sexual heaven. Even my grandfathers never had it that good! er, that bad. Seriously, think about it. By virtue of sex, the man is a god. The woman his servant. He can take as many as he is deemed able or to want. He could take them as quickly as and when they started budding into womanhood. And of course they were all taught from birth that this was their station in life. Servitude? No, slavery. Worst, even the minds were enslaved. I think the only Latter Day Saints in this church are the men. Women are too low to be saints?


Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Children’s Game.

They want me to play it, and so I will play it. But they are to blame.

Do I have to answer correctly? I swear I will. As far as my necessity demands. And no further.

Four Jobs I have worked.
Now, hell, what is a job. When I carried water on my head was it a job? When I fed mamma’s chickens? When I dug in the field? Ok, I did not herd cattle. What about separating Maama and Daddy during their fights- maybe extra for that, eh?

Four movies I would watch over and over again.
This is a tough question. I am not a movie person. Yes I watch them, but… Watch a movie over and over again? Why not give me a book?

Four places I have lived, countries. Easy one that.
Did I mention, Uganda?

TV shows?
‘xcuse me, what are those?

Four places I have gone to on vacation?
Do you mean like when I was having holidays from school or something?

Four of my favourite foods?
He cooks, I eat. Whatever.

Four places I would rather be now?
Easy. No-Whe-Re-Else

Ok, I have done it. And simply because I had some time on my hands, and I was writing a post which bored me. No, I will not tag you Princess, not will I tag you again deTamble, nor will I tag 27th. Eshuneutics is off the list.
Sigh, I do live in a big village.

Ok, done, or not done, or undone, or fulfilled, whatever!


Monday, April 7, 2008

Is Night

Is night, and what a night!

Soft darkness. A sliver, slice of light the moon in the skies, them dark as dark could be, with the diamond glitter of stars on that carpet.

Cool. The heat of the day is gone, replaced by the cool of night. Yet more, a soft darkness that clothes the skin and soothes the mind.

I am outside. We are outside, him and I.

Two guys, incredibly, two gay guys in Uganda. A couple that has found a measure of calm and peace in our world.

We are a couple. He is whispering endearments to me. I am smiling.

Incredible that our world, neighbors would not see us for what we are. Maybe they know. Frankly, I am so into him, and so happy, I do not really care. He is for me, and I am for him, and we could as well be on a desert island.

A cool breeze from the lake. Cool, soft to touch on the skin.

It has been another hot day, but the breeze is stronger than usual. Rain. Maybe a cloudburst tonight. Or maybe tomorrow. We are due one.

Our neighbors, the ceaseless chatter of children. True, the one thing that I am nostalgic for in this gay paradise of mine. Yet even that cannot dim the brightness of my companionship with him. A dream of life that we dared reach out and grasp. A fruit that is, oh, so much sweeter the more I think of it.

I could be married, with kids, and a wife. And unhappy.

Friend of mine is, literally planning to run away from home with a child on the way. To go and find some fulfillment that touches his soul. There are so many possible permutations that life could have taken. It did, and did not. And I chose, sometimes forced, sometimes not, sometimes unconsciously, sometimes not. But I am home, home with him, the man I love. And we are home and relaxed, and sipping of the beauty of the night that is indescribable.

I have been reading today, of some studies about people like us. Gay, and others. A medical text, true. But at the moment I can follow the language. (Do they teach a new language in medical school? Think they do.)

Incredible the amount of research and knowledge that is there in the world. About sexuality. About sexual minorities. About people like us. Incredible how little we know of it in Uganda. Ok, seems like a new subject, but some of these things are on the internet. But it takes knowing what one is looking for to get what one needs. And how could I have ever known that I needed to know, if I had not been gay? Would I have been an ignorant lout, a homophobe? Would I have been one of the ignorant stone throwers? So deeply confident of my lack of knowledge that I would kill people who are gay? Condemn them in thought and deed?

Maybe. But again maybe not.

Of all the possible permutations of life, I have followed this path. And I am happy, content, with him. Don’t know what the morrow will hold. All I know is that today, now, I am happy and content with my love. Who I will hold, close, all through the night, whether it rains or not, whether the sun comes up or not. I will hold him through the night.

Hope you do have a good night.



I have been disturbed.

Thoughts playing around, tumultuous in my mind, a sea, an ocean lashed by the wind, on the boil. Why?

Went to one of our ‘beaches’. Went with my lover, and a friend.

Beautiful day. Very beautiful.

Clear skies, blue, wisps of cloud. Hot, sweltering hot by the afternoon and evening. We are due some rain I think. The lake waters were calm, except for the swimmers, and children playing around.

Perfection- sand, sun, water, and a relaxed mood.

Except that we were not relaxed. I was not relaxed.

My friend can listen. Really listen to people, or to some people, I guess. So, when kuchus have relationship problems, they come to him. A Senga, they call him. Kind of agony aunt. He is a firm believer in monogamy, even in our circumstances. I tease him that he is the patron Senga of all kuchus in relationships.

The friend, he was in need of counseling. And my lover listened, and gave advice.

I was not happy. Beautiful day, but felt like a ‘spare tire’. There only for emergencies.

Oh, we do not lack for quality time. Fact is, we do have a lot of time together. The green dragon had reared his head because he was talking to a guy that I knew was kuchu. I was shocked. Wanted to do murder on the beach.

To distract myself, I decided to enjoy some eye candy. Tear my eyes from the two talking.

And I did realize that there were some very beautiful people on the beach.

Some boys decided to play a football game. After playing in the water.

Heaven for a kuchu, heaven on earth.

Rippling, firm muscles. Washboard hard tummys and bulging dancing crotches. They were on the beach, and did not realy care that much. Sportspeople have this seeming lax attitude to their bodies. They are so free when naked it makes me blush.

Time was for blushes.

Me, I was very handily distracted. Too distracted sometimes. Looking at the boys play football, in their miscellany of swim wear.

Forgot the green dragon. Forgot where I was. Stared, a lot.

But it was safe. I am a man, look like a man, and they were playing football. Good masculine game, they would think.

Me, I watched the dancing muscles and seemingly unsupported crotches. Tended not to notice where the ball seemed to be heading. Fact is, at one point, it did break my beer. But that just brought the beautiful bodies closer.

Yes, I perved.

But that did not stop me from complaining later about feeling like a spare wheel. Scary, this thing we call jealousy.


Saturday, April 5, 2008

Life is life

Life is life, life’s no politics

But a strange, pulsing bloom

Whose mysteries a lifetime unsolved are;

Nor can they be by one pair of eyes,

One mind be known.

Life’s a liquid bird note call,

The scent of orchid in bloom,

A mysterious night flower unfolding,

A dream with beginning and end-

Going trillion miles between.

Life’s a living moving river

An ocean caught up in wind,

Life’s the soft sunlight in the morning

The blaze of noonday heat,

The dusk with bird and bat call,

Moonscape with stars twinkling aloft;

Life’s a wondrous open dream,

That I will dare to dream this day.

©GayUganda 05 April 2008

Freedom is of the Mind

He refuses to get out of bed. Something to do with the late night that we had. And the fact that he was a might, a little bit, over the top.

I do remember meeting the police roadblock, it was after midnight. Cant close nearer than that. Old Kampala Police station, near the Mosque. Usual traffic jam site, but a jam at that time?

No, police.

Making sure that they were arresting those who drunk and drove.

My heart sunk. Contemplated a night in the police cell. That is the routine, whenever they decide to do these middle of the night arrests. Suprisingly, we passed the initial screening test, and drove away carefully. I am with all Kampala drivers. Breathalyzers, that is technology meant to encroach on our freedom to drink and drive, and kill of course.

Beautiful morning. Very beautiful.

Golden sunlight. Green leaves, shadowed and sprinkled with the sunlight. A breeze making them dance and wave. Shadow and light beneath the trees. Cool, calm. The heat will be in a couple of hours. Throw off shirt and sweat freely.

Thinking of Mugabe this morning, I wondered, would a Mugabe imprison my soul?

He has done quite a bit, apart from bringing to ruin a good economy.

He has beaten and killed opponents, abused and laughed at challenge, inside and outside the country. He has made Zimbabweans the laughing stock of the continent. Reminds me of Life President, Dr. Al Hajj General Idi Amin Dada, VC, DSO, MC, Conqueror of the British Empire (damn, have left out some of the titles, like Ssalongo etc). He also killed and raped and destroyed a country. Yet humanity is resilient.

Burma will come out of the ashes when the strangle hold of the generals is broken. So will North Korea. China is a bulging, burgeoning, feasthood of humanity.

Can a Mugabe imprison my soul?

That is important for me, because in as much as I would love political and other freedoms, I have realized that freedom is of the mind. Of the soul.

A person, a gay person in the Scandinavian countries would think of my life as a horror. Closeted for life, suffering indignities which their countries left in the distant past of the 18th Century.

Yet, despite the physical lack, the economic needs, the real life problems that are undeniable, I am free. Free in the mind. I have challenged life as it was given to me, and dared to break out of the mold. I have found love and happiness. I have found a man to love, who loves me back. The world may not acknowledge us, my community and society may be hostile and condemning, but I have found my life and love and happiness.

Yes, I have passed through a lot in life. I will most likely pass through more. My life is on an uncharted sea, easily able to founder and sink without a trace. I have many battles to fight, in future. Some I may lose. A few I may win. Many I may never get the chance to see through. But I am happy that I have opened my eyes to the freedom of the mind, the freedom of thought.

Freedom is of the mind, and I am deeply thankful that I have found that freedom.

I will use what weapons I have to teach others, to free others. I will understand that some will willfully stay slaves and prisoners. But, and I have to respect that, that is their will, their journey, their life.

Can a Mugabe imprison my soul? My physical body, definitely. Pain to my body, my heart, torture, the indignity of poverty, stupidity and physical need and confinement. But freedom is of the mind, and I find that today, this morning, with my love resting late in bed, and my world full of sunlight and sunshine, I know that freedom is of the mind. And that it is mine to lose. Mine to keep.

Have a great day.


Friday, April 4, 2008


The sun is westering.

Bright orb of brilliant light too bright to look at. I see it, but soon, very soon, it will be over the horizon. Hidden by the hills of Kampala.

Downtown I am, at the moment. So the hills round town will shade the orb for a time, before darkness closes in fully.

Friday evening. Freedom out there, to party and relax, wind up the week. Will I join in? Will we join in? Maybe.

But for the moment, bars of steel shield me from the freedom of the open air.


Did he win? Unlikely, as finding ice in the Sahara.

Did he lose? Most likely. But now a runoff is mandated, even before the Electoral Commission declares what the results are in Zimbabwe. African democracies can be truly interesting. Apparently, borrowing a leaf from one of my friends, they (ruling party) has already started the campaign. Endorsing its front-man. Taking hostage the media, and reminding all and sundry who ‘brought’ the gift of independence. And that the opposition is ‘homosexual’ and pro-west. Apparently, those two things are synonymous. DeTamble should be able to say something about that, in very colourful language.

For a few minutes, I will be here, then I will be off. Seems like time is coursing faster, with the sun westering. But it is a beautiful time of day, dusk approach, night not far off, the sun an orb, crown jewel over Namirembe hill.

Have a good evening.


Work in Progress

Life’s a work in progress, that will never end.

I tore myself out of bed. Was morning, and the dawn called. But so did my love’s warm body, as he clung to me, wanting to make love, and to hold me as if the night long hug was not enough. I felt regret to exchange his body’s warmth, for the chill of the morning.

Chill of the morning? The cool of the morning, the song of bird, the time of day when the sun peeps out, first a shy girl’s smile, a teenage boy’s hesitant beauty, before the full blaze of day. That time of day when night gives way to light, and the cool of the night for the blazing heat of day.

It will be a hot day. That I felt in my bones, as I listened to the birds sing, watched them court and play. That song it is so beautiful, the different fervent tones, the sharp and light, the swift and slow, the loud and not.

It is a brief time of day, which is why I do not want to miss it, and daily debate between my lover’s warm embrace, and the dawn of beauty. Temptation. Life a work in progress that will never end.

Yesterday, reading a poem, Rupert Brooke, Soldier.

Was struck by a strange thought. Would Eshuneutics understand that poem?

Why Eshuneutics? Words to him have concrete meanings, set in stone, immutable. Words to me are plastic. Not my mother tongue, I claim, but I’ve never been fluent in any language. Not even the English that I read. Yet there seems to be a deeper sense in the poem. Not the surface, a soldier proud of country. But deeper, a man longing for home, home that he may not see, feel, touch, where he may not be buried, denied that final peace.

Life’s a work in progress, and I am a butterfly, flirting with all the beauty that I see. I was walking Namirembe Road, through the dust of the construction. It was a terrible stretch, now it is being repaired. I walked the pavement, in the stream of people on foot, like me, oblivious to the dust and sound. The begging children, denied school, begging for family and life and being. Not for them the discipline of school, but the harsher demands of survival. Odd’s life, but it is too easy to pity them, and forget that they do survive, even at the toughest of odds.

There is an odd pulse to life. We see it, in the bright lights, the concrete buildings, the huge edifices of the city. But that is not all life, and our sight is perverted. Life is the small person on the street, the child begging so that the family survives, the young man ready to risk lynching to grab a gold necklace, the flood of men and women not able to afford a fare home, needing to walk to work and back, anxiously hoarding the small salary for food, clothing and shelter in the city. A concrete jungle it is, yet that story is not true without the salute to the small man, the little lady, who through it all strings one day after the other, providing for self and family.

There are so many things that I would be, more things that I cannot be. Yet one thing I know, if I miss the beauty of this day- the bright sun in a cloudless sky, the whisper of cool breeze on my skin, the blazing heat of day, the eye hurting brightness of the sun’s halo; if I miss them and not see the flow of life, a child, children growing, nothing else that I see will be worth it.

Enjoy the day, because, wherever you are, it is a beautiful day. Don’t sweat the small things, just soothe the small things, and hear the sweetness in a bird’s call.

Have a great day.