Monday, March 1, 2010

They Dont Get Us

A Wet Morning.

For some reason, I love the rain. Really love it.
Maybe comes from the time I was a kid without cares. Rain meant snuggling down in bed, drifting off in sleep. Rain means dreams while the patter of it on the ‘baati’ roof soothes them. Rain does mean sleep. And, it means a crisp coldness that has me in shirt sleeves or bare chested and moving round the house feeling like a trillion dollars.

Ahem, that is now.

Of course, rain also means flooded valley bottoms in Kampala.
Growing up, I used not to hear of that. My little isolated village, the valley didn’t have houses, but I remember thick papyrus reeds, lots of mosquitoes, and a real stream in it. Plus the fact that we had lots of trees.

Now, Kampala valleys have houses. Everywhere. The famed ‘wetlands’ that NEMA is supposed to protect are nowhere. Houses stand where streams used to flow. And, of course the water finds a way. Makes rivers and ponds and lakes in the blocked valleys. Chases people out of the houses.

Guess, it is the continuing price of corruption. But guess we shall continue paying it. Every time it rains. With scenes like this one.
 True, it was in the New Vision, the government paper. I have no doubt that as I write, such scenes, the water... it is happening.
When it rains, people in Kampala are routinely flooded out of their homes. It is sad. But, when shall we ever get it?

Another thing we don’t seem to get.

I was in my favourite bar on Sunday. Not as crowded as usual. Maybe something to do with the fact that it was the end of the month and for most the salaries are not in the accounts. But, we are gay. And, we were having fun.
Part of the draw is that guys kind of loosen the restraints and flow off into the music. Yes they do. They dance, and, I watch. Nothing like the lithe gyrations of a nimble slick body by someone who does really know how to shake their limbs to the music. Unfortunately, I don’t get the girl’s dances. But, when the guys dance….!

There was one such dude.
We call ourselves kuchus. We all do. And, we ignore the very obvious differences that we have. So, this guy loosened the white scarf round his neck for effect, to let it flow, and he started dancing.

He was very, very good. [Ahem, most are!]
A beautiful young body helps everything. Kind of naturally draws the eyes. The jumping, the shaking of the butt, the sheer wild joy of living… It was fantastic.
My eye was fixed on him. So was a girl’s that was standing just infront of me.

‘He is dancing like a woman!’ The exclamation came from the girl.

I looked at her, shook my head. She was shaking hers, but, from amazement. He was dancing very well, but to the girl, he was dancing in a girlish way. In a bar, in Uganda, and those of us who had the time from our little bits and pieces were watching him with lascivious eyes. I couldn’t help myself.

‘Maybe he is a girl!’ I stated.

The girl looked at me. Incredulity written on the wondering face. I almost laughed. Hell, Ugandans do need to get us. We are kuchus. She was in a kuchu bar, surrounded by us, and she was literally not getting it. Not at all! Any wonder that they do want to kill the mysterious ‘homos’ that their pastors rail against and demonise?

‘But he is a man!’ she cried. And, looked closely. I swear she did lean forwards, to make sure of that. ‘He is a man, isn’t it? He is!’

I shrugged my shoulders. Left her wondering what I meant. Or what I didn’t. Because the guy was really dancing well. Nothing like a chance to free eye candy, so openly displayed. Nothing like taking off the scanty but very well positioned clothes to enjoy the dance, the bubbling spirit of youth and young and freedom to be what one is. I certainly didn’t mind.

No. It is difficult for Ugandans to get it. And, maybe it will be for a while.

But, today, a small step on that big journey is happening. A few religious leaders, Ugandan, are taking a petition to Parliament to hand it to the Speaker of Parliament. Canon Gideon Byamugisha is leading them.
Or, maybe not. Because I have heard the rumour of someone more prominent than the wildly brave Canon stepping up and speaking out.

It is tough, speaking up for us Gay Ugandans in Uganda. [sniker, ask Comrade 27th.] For some reasons, even when one does not have any problem with us, speaking up for us, for gay Ugandans brings out the coward in fellow Ugandans.
Canon Gideon is no coward. He was a Reverand in the Church of Uganda when he came out as being HIV Positive. He talks about going to pharmacies, with his clerical collar on, and requesting for condoms. Ugandans are prudes. Such a request, innocent as it is makes people cringe, and when a man of the cloth in the cloth is the one making the request…. All work stops and people stare. Even when they were not ‘listening’.

Canon Gideon called the bill genocide in a Guardian article. Yes he did. 
Well, it is. I like the bravity not to mince words, to speak them like they are. No, I do positively hate the malice and barely hidden cruelty of the Church of Uganda statement, Anglican. I hate it with a passion.

But, if I am not mistaken, it will be who else is with the Canon that will matter. And, I hope Ssempa and his goons are not there to disrupt the proceedings. God knows but they have delivered enough of their own petitions to let Ugandans kill their homosexuals.

But, the pride of the show may be taken by who else accompanies the brave Canon.

No. I am not able to spill that news. Not until it happens.

Nothing is braver than a Ugandan standing up and supporting Gay Ugandans. But, a few Ugandans are going to do exactly that, this Monday morning.

My heart, my mind, my spirit is with them at this particular moment.


1 comment:

spiralx said...

Wow. That's one young lady who really needs to get over her gender stereotyping. Men are bad enough, but when women do it...!

Good on the Canon. It's time Ugandans got loud 'n proud about their right to a free and democratic society.

Unless, of course, we prefer our children to be rail-roaded into churches to watch extreeme fetish porn.

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