Mwe tongue chewers and heavy breathers, first come here.

Let’s not encourage Miley Cyrus by acting shocked about her gross performance. Let’s just ignore her and her long tongue. She should be examined by professionals for repeatedly engaging in racist acts and grab grabbing from a culture, while giving it and its people zero respect.

But if you’re honest, at 20 most of you were performing (much) watered down versions of her madness. You felt like the discoverer of  sex, like the president of a republic called rebellion.  Unfortunately for her, she’s making her ugly mistakes with paparazzi, Hollywood and the world watching. I pity her 30-year-old self and the mudslide of shame she will have to wade through to find inner peace.

Actually, the only reason I’ve brought her up is her tongue. It can’t seem to go five minutes without nudging its way out of her lips and rolling down almost to her neck. That on its own doesn’t bother me, but it reminds me of other tongue-related deviances that do.

If there is one thing that drives me so far up the wall that I end up hanging from the ceiling, it is tongue chewing. When I notice that somebody near me is doing it, I become incredibly annoyed. Think a dozen bulls in a indoor stadium with walls painted red.

I have to fight the impulse to shake and roll and vomit and scream “Why? Why are you chewing your disgusting tongue? Do you hate peace of mind? Do you hate me?!”  and if the person’s chewing is accompanied by that sound like slugs mating in mud, I have to get out of earshot or risk exploding.

I was happy to discover that it is not lugezigezi at play here but a variation of Misophonia, a condition defined as the hatred of sounds. Of course this is all self diagnosis, but my symptoms are a direct match with those of selective sound sensitivity, a condition where soft sounds (typically eating and breathing sounds) make the sufferer react with great rage and disgust.

Sufferers have an abnormally strong reaction of the limbic (emotional system) and autonomic nervous system (body control system) which the auditory system is intimately connected to.  Basically, Misophonia happens when the parts that control your hearing get all muddled up with the ones that affect your emotions.

I once considered ending a promising friendship* because the jama couldn’t keep his tongue away from his teeth. Luckily for me, that situation resolved itself.

I know there are many people like me, so I’m going to be charitable and share the ways I deal with it:

Forcing the person to stop. If you are in a position of authority, you can easily threaten the person into quitting. This sounds like bullying, I know, but if you have experienced misophonia, you know that their sound is worse than bullying for you. It is the difference between productivity and breaking down.

Training your mind to react differently: This is difficult but if you care for the maker of the disgusting sound, you can do it. I know I did. Nope, not going to share how. This is a blog not a diary.

Wearing headphones and listening to white noise, such as rain sounds or static is 100% effective. This is great for work places where you may be stuck for months or years around people for breathe so loudly, you’d think they had hot coals in their throats, that are being put out by a dripping tap.

Very much

As in you really need to stop

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Crutch Me One Time (Say it with Reggaeton).

Crutches hurt your back, stress your arms and give you the gait of a scarecrow on stilts. Even though I was possessed by a strange excitement when I first began to use mine, the novelty wore off chap chap. Life changes when you’re so openly hurt. People you’ve passed by for two years on your way to work all of a sudden stop and with sympathy in their voices, ask you what happened.

First I thought I was being mocked and became angry, but the concern seemed genuine so I mellowed out. That’s one thing that comes with crutches: paranoia.

I was walking up Capital shopper’s parking lot with my sister when I noticed that a trio of young adults had turned to stare. I couldn’t believe their bad manners. I scowled and began to complain loudly about the stupidity of Ugandans nowadays. After listening to me rant for a few seconds, Jero said, “But you realize you have just shaved the back of your head, right? You have a ponytail at the top and shiny kipalata on the bottom half of your scalp. Sure they may be wondering about the crutch, but this attention, you deserve it for wearing that hairstyle.” And she is right. I am used to the doubletakes. Because of the new crutches however, I was convinced that these people were intentionally trying to make me feel awkward.

Crutches provide the perfect response to the kiss-kiss, sister-sister laced overtures that Kampala’s idlers so love to make. Now if I feel a person’s words are offensive, I stop and threaten them with my crutch. So far, both men have run away with real fear in their eyes. I understand that I am a fine specimen of a woman, even with my crooked walk but ssebo, have some respect. I am struggling to get from place to place on this wonky leg and really don’t need your lechery in my life right now.

Breaking my leg has made me unable to abide unkindness, especially from people who are supposed to be making my life easier. Last week I wrote about how traumatized I was by the service at (a certain) hospital in Ntinda. Be fair, people. If you are going to be bad to me, make sure it is when I am full of health and can chase you down.

If you like to look different, the opportunity to accessorize your crutch will fill you up with glee (well, when the thing is not making your armpit yell with pain). I decorated mine with colorful flowers made out of kitenge material and paper beads, making it a bit easier to tolerate.

Lastly, crutches infantilize you. You are not able to blaze out of a room or hop on a boda at will. Because I hate being idle, I decided to continue going to work after my fibula broke

(stupid decision). It is not a very important bone and if it wasn’t for the fear of never wearing wedges/ running again, I wouldn’t even be using this crutch. I cannot leave or arrive at office on my own so my father’s car is very important to me now. His time keeping too. Do you remember when you were five and you realized that you were the last person in class who hadn’t been picked up yet? Do you remember how the tears started forming from the pit of your belly, how they traveled up to your eyes making you cry and cry like you’d never stop? That’s how I, big woman as I am, felt when father picked me up at 7pm last Monday.

Crutches change your life completely. I almost can’t remember walking any other way (lies, I really really can).

Of course I tried to use it as a modeling prop. One day, my moceling career is going to take off. You wait.

Of course I tried to use the thing as a modeling prop. One day, my modeling career is going to take off. You wait.

Because We got High II

If there’s one thing that has a bad reputation for no clear reason, one substance that is illegal because some people in the world dislike happiness, it is cannabis.  I’m not advocating that people be high all of the time, but surely  some jobs (like  copy writing or  being a member of parliament) require the mind expansion that occurs when you bake your brain in THC flavored smoke. I claim the right to be high! 

It's your right.

All the time!

Every Wednesday, I contribute an article to Muwado.com. I have many reasons, many of them terribly shady but the most important  is that it is a promising space that gives me the freedom to write about whatever I want.

At the beginning of this week,  I thought up the (brilliant) idea of collecting weed tales, anecdotes from people who have smoked the holy vegetable. We tried to source them from Ugandans in Uganda but were open to all.  Click to read part one.

The stories have kept on coming and so I’m publishing more here. Get a drink (and maybe a spliff?), sit back and enjoy.

The Young and Curious:

Smoking weed is only half of the stoner experience, the other half, which can sometimes be the most momentous, is the process and manner in which you find/buy the weed!

My brother and I were seated on a secluded beach, south coast Mombasa, when we heard a whistled tune in the distance. When the whistling had stopped, without quite thinking about it, I whistled back the same tune, and to my surprise we heard yet another whistled tune in response. This back and forth continued until we made out a figure at the end of the beach. As he approached us he started speaking to us in Swahili, and we just let him talk on until he realized that we didn’t understand what he was saying. He smiled and asked us in English after a while if we wanted to smoke some weed. I told him we didn’t have any money, and he said he asked if we wanted to smoke weed, not buy it.

Now I had not woken up that day with the intention to get high, but when the chance came up in the magically random way it had, how could I say no? It was like a scene from the intro of an indie movie, a sign that the height was bound to be all sorts of epic!

We agreed and followed him into a small cave on the beach, under a huge coral rock. There was hardly enough space to sit up straight and we had to crawl on all fours under the rock. He then took out a little parcel from his bag and unwrapped a heap of fried leaves. This was my first time to ever see a real marijuana leaf, and the beginning of my obsession with the ritual like cleaning, preparation and rolling of my very first handmade joint. The weed was unlike anything I had ever smoked before, as light as the ocean breeze and as potent as the sting of salt water.

The memory of sitting there in a low lying sandy cave, smoking weed with a dreadlocked beach boy who called himself Bob Marley, with sand crabs dashing about us sideways and the glimmer of the ocean a few meters away, is so surreal if I was alone I would have thought it to be a dream, but my brother is my witness, and confirms that really did happen.

 After the smoke, we said our goodbyes and he told us if we wanted anymore we should just ask around for Bob Marley, but we never saw him again on the rest of our holiday, and he became a bit of a legend between my brother, the likes of the tooth fairy or sandman. We spent the day floating on a cloud, swimming in the ocean and rolling about in the sand, needless to say it was the best weed I have ever smoked and the most spiritual high I have ever experienced. Moral of the story, if you hear a whistled tune on a secluded beach, whistle back!

Damn. I wonder if it looked anything like this.

Damn. I wonder if that cave looked anything like this.

George:

I had to promise George beers before he spilled, but his stories were worth it. 

There is this story, legend really, about guys drinking and smoking weed at dreamworld hostel in Kikoni. It was deep in the night and stuff. Somebody happened to ask what the time was and according to legend, one of the guys who was hell bent on knowing the time hatched a smart idea.

They all walked up to Wandegeya and stared at the street clock there. It was 3:15 am.

***

You really get Paranoid after taking weed. Once, I actually washed my face and hands with fruit juice because I had done some weed in a nearby bush and I had to go back to school (I was in S5). My face became sticky and then bees (they may have been mere flies) started hovering around me. At one point, I thought it was a whole swarm of bees coming for me…I actually thought I felt the buzz in the air, and heard it too. We were like four guys seated under a small guava tree. I suddenly shot up and started running while wailing. My friends who were suffering their own paranoia also woke up and raced in different directions. They had no idea why they were running.

Stahp!

Stahp!

The High Priestess:

Weed is a beautiful drug, it makes food taste better, colours brighter, feelings more intense and that ant crawling across your floor is now the funniest thing you have ever had the pleasure of seeing with your own eyes. Despite what the police would have you believe, weed alone never caused anyone to jump off a roof, or rape someone, or jump off a roof while raping someone. Hell, if you managed to leave the couch to go and scour your fridge for moldy leftovers to satiate your munchies you are among the top percentile of high functioning stoners.

That being said, it is possible to do much and find yourself in the worst THC-induced torpor; wondering if you are alive or comatose, or even worse, your mind trapped in a permanently paralyzed body, the only part of which you have control over being your eyelids like that guy in The Diving Bell and The Butterfly.

I enjoy making baked goods, and my friends enjoy the fruits of my labour. Consuming marijuana via your digestive tract is a little different, and this is what I tried to impress upon my American visitor. “It takes about an hour to kick in, and what everyone does the first time is eat the first brownie, then 30 minutes later decide nothing is happening and eat a second one. Then 2 hours later you’re higher than Felix Baumgartner without a parachute. DO NOT DO THIS” I told him, handing him his brownies and leaving him in my flat for the night as I went off to enjoy Kampala’s nightlife.

Hahaha one slice. Yea.

Hahaha one slice. Yea.

 Fast forward to 1 am. My phone rings. It is my American friend, let’s call him Lance: “High Priestess…. Something is wrong…. I think something is wrong with me” Lance is speaking very laboriously, every other word punctuated by long silences like he is drowning. “What’s wrong Lance? … You ate both brownies didn’t you?” I ask.

“Yes, well I didn’t feel anything after the first one…” He trails off again. I sigh. “OK, so are you sure something is wrong or are you just too fucking high for life right now?”

“Something is wrong…. I don’t know [unintelligible mumbles] maybe malaria… Can’t just be the weed”

“Lance you’re just high, i’ll be home in a few hours and you’ll have come down by then and will be feeling very foolish…”

“I think I need to go to the hospital or something. I think I’m going to wake up your dad—“

“WAIT LANCE, DO NOT DO THAT. Stay where you are, I will be home in 10 minutes. I’m jumping on a boda now”

 I got home and found Lance lying in his bed, rocking back and forth like a patient in a sanatorium. “Lance.” He moans in response, continuing his rocking. “Lance. Stop moving.” He stops, and seems surprised to find that he was able to do so.

“Lance you’re not dying. You just ate too many brownies and are now too high for your own good. You’ll be fine in the morning. I’m going to bed”.

 Lance wasn’t even embarrassed by his behavior the next day.

Nswaswa:

My girlfriend and I once wandered around Amsterdam for what felt like, and might have been, many hours- looking for any falafel stand. We had the munchies and were convinced falafel was the only cure. We wandered past the same street corners over and over, maybe we expected one to suddenly appear. (happy ending- we eventually took a wrong turn and found one.)

***

My roommates and I once made plans to go out. I said “cool, give me 10 minutes to shower and then we go.” I came out of the shower to find the room thick with bong smoke, and my friends were all quietly crashed on the sofas watching the ceiling fan go around. I thought, “Damn, now I have to go out alone.”

***

Brad Nowell (RIP) from Sublime sang it best…”I’m too drunk to light the bong…I’m too stoned to write this song.” Thousands of times we were so baked, just laughing our asses off, but now…damn what was the question?

*

And this is where I’ll end for now. If the stories keep on coming in, expect some very fun Thursdays on this blog.

To the holy herb! If you have any tales of your own, don’t hesitate to put them in the comments. You can also send them to mildredwriterchick@gmail.com, if you want them to appear in the next compilation.

I feel I should say Jah Bless. 

How I Know You Are Real

If you are that wonderful breed of human being called a readeriticus of Apenyo’s blogoticus, you expect me to reveal a big secret today. I have been writing about the seven weeks during which I abandoned mainstream deodorants and went on a quest to find a natural substance that would effectively do away with body odor.

This blog is, among other things, a place where I archive the stories that get published my column. Unfortunately, my editor at Sunday Vision said he could not publish three stories about smelly armpits, three weeks  in a row. He ordered me to write about something else.

 If you haven’t roughly shifted your eyes to another blog in protest, know that I dig you and that (freshly harvested) aloe vera sap is the magical substance that brought my armpit woes to an end. The full story will be in your eyes next week.

Moving on, do you ever find it difficult to fully recognize the humanity of other people? I do hope it’s not just me who suffers from this. I think that human beings are generally inclined to think of themselves as the center of the universe. This begins in childhood (where if we are lucky, we actually are treated like little deities) and never really disappears. What I am saying is that to varying degrees, we all treat other people like they are stones.

We many not go around singing, “I’m berra than you, I’m berra than you”, not unless we are rappers, and we may not openly declare that we think that we’re the only ones deserving of satisfaction and happiness, but show me the person who hasn’t whined “why meee” when they fall into problems and I will show you a liar. Serpents and tenpence!

When you are being the office jerk, when you are trying to cut in front of another person in a queue, when you are being jealous, when a sense of perspective isn’t part of your psyche, you are behaving as if you are the only true human in the world.

The moment I noticed my tendency to do this, I was alarmed. I have always thought of myself as a very good person. So I began to write down the situations that made other humans realer to me. Here are some of them.

Dance: Oh this is my number one. I was around 5 when my mother came to life as a true human, as opposed to a food/hugs machine. She liked to tell me stories, and her favorite was one called Danzolo.

Danzolo lived with her father on a mountain. Because the nearest market was right at the bottom of it, he would sometimes have to lead their donkey to the market for groceries and other things. Unfortunately, her father was so lazy that he would burst into tears in the middle of any activity that required even the slightest effort. This meant that Danzolo was always having to follow him around and dance for him so that he could feel better and finish whatever he’d been doing.

Her dance involved a  bent back, swinging arms, a series of facial contortions, bum swaying and a hop from side to side. 

The above is pretty close to the Danzolo dance. (Thanks for boogying it up with me, Joel!)

To this day, seeing people expressing their feelings and desires through movement just makes me want to hug them and say, “You! You are human”.   

Taxis: When you are getting out of a matatu, you have to do a slow shuffle through the aisle, get to the door and then kind of stumble out. All the while, your bottom is swaying and shoving itself into peoples’ faces. (If human bottoms smelled terrible, taxis would have been made very differently). The whole process is so awkward and the people performing it are so vulnerable to butt-centered pranks that my heart always softens when I watch them.

Soli-da: When a person farts during a prayer or a yoga session, or a movie and everybody comes to a silent agreement to ignore it, warmth floods my heart. I think, “Look at all these human humans, accepting this gross smell. Let me even share my things with them”.

Food: I always fall in love with people the moment I learn that they love food. Foodies unite! And have babies together.

The running eye: Making eye contact with people on my jogging route, and having them smile or wave at me. This happens more with women. Guys oba get shy? I always feel like saying, “Dude I saw you checking me out from meters away. Just holla.”

Pull/Push: Watching somebody fidget with those push/pull doors, especially at the bank where everybody is putting on such grown-up airs.

My list, as you can see,  is a work in progress.

Do share the things that make you feel-feel the humanity of others, in the comment section below.

When Love is Not Enough

When you enter the world, you’re wet, naked and poor in most senses of the word. This is unacceptable to your greedy little instincts, so you begin to gather things for yourself almost immediately. My mother, my nipple, my blanket, my chew toy, my shaker without which I won’t allow to sleep.

As you grow, you attach different levels of fondness to the different things you encounter, from toys to books to friends, lovers and eventually, that person you feel should be yours forever and ever amen. But Happily Ever Afters are rare and sometimes things don’t work out.  What  happens when you have to walk away? When love is not enough?

Loss is hard to accept. To acknowledge that grief is going to blast through you and remain sane enough to envision a time when you will not be hurting, that’s even harder.

When the loss is permanent*, say the death of a parent, friend or spouse, you feel a terrible helplessness and it is this feeling that pulls you away from the lip of insanity. You realize that whatever you do, however much you weep and starve and curse, your person is dead and you cannot bring them back.

Then there’s the flavor of loss that I call reversible loss. This is where your mind tells you over and over again that if you say the right thing, your ugly situation will disappear and you will be back in the zone of comfort, normalcy.

It could be the loss of a job (right before a promotion, no less) where you are sure that if you explain your contribution to the company hard enough, the boss will welcome you back your desk.

It could be the loss of a partner with whom you have built a flamboyant castle of dreams, a castle that is now disintegrating, wisp by wisp like so much cotton candy.  In the case of lost love, even if you are the one who has broken things off, the feeling of “I must take my words back right now and return to my relationship” can be overwhelming. Woe unto you if your partner has also made their mind to move on because you’re going to be stuck with self-loathing and regret for a while.

People with broken hearts are always looking to commiserate with somebody. That’s why there are so many threads on reddit on this subject, and so many songs. That’s why I’m writing this, to be honest.

I asked some wonderful people how they dealt with the loss of a partner that they still loved. My exact question was:

Have you ever walked away from a relationship with somebody you still love? How did you do it? What was your day 1, 5, 9 10, 20 like?

This is basically sadporn. Proceed with caution.

Nagasha: The same. Weighty. Heavy hearted. Except some days were heavier-hearted than others. But they all carried the same dull ache. Day 1, 5, 9, 10, 20. They were all the same.

Immaculate: Day 20 feels like you made the decision to walk away only moments ago. You can barely believe its been 20 days, it all feels like yesterday.

Kirungi: It’s been a year since he walked away but stupid me, I’m still trying to walk away…it can be that hard.

Nswaswa: Year 1 was so painful that even booze could only numb but never stop it. Year two is better, though just seeing a missed call from her is agonizing and even more so when we actually speak. But going apart has been like removing a bad tooth- the pain of extraction and healing time are worse than the bad tooth pain, but then you feel better and even if you loved that one (or still do) you know life is better off without.

Diana: Grief. It’s just like grief. It is grief. Except that with a break-up, when you think you saw them on the street, you probably did. And then all those times you wondered what you would say have suddenly materialised into an actual situation…

Nada: I cried a lot the first fifteen minutes. Parked the car, smoked a cigarette. It rained and I was on the road by the car, and then it was all tears everywhere. I think that thunder broke something in me. It hurt, I drove back to Kampala hardly being able to breathe. Day five was worse, and day twenty was particularly bad because we bumped into each other. And soon he was gone forever. That pain never really leaves you. It lingers inside your mind waiting for a girlfriend to pose a question like yours, to hit back full swing. But now I take a deep breath and carry on.

And finally, Amanda:

Walking away from a relationship when you still love someone hurts. I listened to the script, Adele, Lady Antebellum, I re-read those love letters. Yes I was one of the lucky few who received those precious missives.There was a permanent lump in my throat for a while I tried to cry and failed. I never cried, which I found strange. We were young and inexperienced maybe even a little reckless. We were each others firsts and even though I am past him I know there will never be one like him. He literally snuck in and stole my heart,the good-looking thief! But we got full closure and that helped we talk occasionally and we are both good.

 Loss is hard to accept, especially if you’re listening to Toni Braxton on a loop. If your heart is a mess right now, know that you’re not alone. The world knows your pain and if I were able to sing songs, this would be a crazy track, just for you. Feel better. I already do.

Here’s some of the stuff that’s helped me feel human again:

Warsan Shire’s Seven Stages of being Lonely

Everything by Soley:

 

Almost Everything by Little Dragon, especially Ritual Union

 

Of Monsters and men (this is an entire album)

 

Almost Everything by KT Tunstall. Heal Over especially

 

Nneka’s Restless (OMG this video). I think I can watch this on a loop because it’s been a couple weeks

Do share the sounds and tricks that have made you feel better after one of them nasty break ups.

x

Kampala Traffic: I am not a cow.

Recently, I was weaving through traffic, just trying to get to the other side of the road with the breakfast muwogo I’d bought from Kamwokya market.  As I was about to plant my foot on the pavement, a boda boda whooshed past me. You guys the bike passed so close  that it would have hit my belly I hadn’t contracted it in fear.

No I do not have a potbelly. It’s an adorably round affair that contracts when I’m terrified.

Now this bodaman, instead of riding away grateful that he hadn’t caused an accident, turned his head and yelled, “You stupid woman! You cross the road as if you are a cow!”

To be honest, I am not a great road crosser. I like roads best when they are empty. Anything but that and I’ll (usually) either skitter across like a large dudu, or make fast friends with whoever else is crossing at the moment. Roads make me nervous, but not stupid. I wasn’t to blame this time. The man and his motorcycle appeared out of nowhere and tried to kill me dead. Full of annoyance and  embarrassment, I squeaked something at his disappearing back about his mother and her morals.

Later that day, after I’d mostly forgotten about this incident, I clicked a link that Ukamaka Olisakwe posted about three peoples’ experiences in Nigerian traffic. The stories painted what I thought was a fascinating picture of  Nigerian city life that I was determined to do a Ugandan version.

I wrote a blogpost and a few thousand updates/tweets asking  y’all to share some of the interesting experiences you’ve had while using public transport in Uganda. It wasn’t easy. The stories came dripping, then trickling, then rushing in (thank goodness). I will post some today and others on Thursday.

Ugandans survive this everyday! Picture from tugendedriven.com

Ugandans survive this everyday!
Picture from tugendedriven.com

Darlyne: One time, before getting on a boda, I politely greeted the rider. We chatted some on the 10-15 minute ride to my house. It was just polite conversation. Weather, traffic, such things. When I got off and paid, I also wished him a good day. He then asked me to marry him. Apparently, his other passengers don’t greet and bid adieu. I told him I was sure he would one day find a good woman but I was already taken.

For all those interested in finding marriage partners, you now know what works. A few Good mornings and Goodnights should get the object of your affection brimming with desire and thoughts of marriage.

Ronald’s story features those curious people commonly known as brokers. They hang around taxi stages, selling their time to drivers. For a small amount of money, they will enter a taxi to make it appear to be filling up faster than others. This makes customers gravitate towards it. He says:

I entered a taxi in Wandegeya that was full of brokers. When it was finally ready to leave the stage, the driver paid the guys and off we went. But alas! When we reached Mulago stage, three quarters of the passengers disembarked. The driver started to cry and lament. He had paid the brokers and hadn’t gotten a profit. I was too amused.

Kawuki:  I was crossing the road one time, walking on a zebra crossing when this impatient and impudent taxi driver almost ran me over. Seriously, he only braked when he was a few centimetres from my nose. I yelled (in Luganda), “Don’t you see this is a zebra crossing?” to which he loudly replied, “Oli zebra?” I was stunned. I had no words. I just walked away shaking my head and holding back laughter. The driver was laughing. I didn’t want him to see my amusement.

There are tons more so check back, will you?  Have a safe week .

P.s: Feel free to share your own traffic tale in the comment section!

Shame on my face.

It’s been two weeks and two days since I last posted anything. The excuse I’ve been clinging to is that my bosses have blocked wordpress, but seriously. There are like 5 modems at my home. I have allowed certain silly happenings (not so silly. Letting go of a living breathing person you still care for is fucking devastating) to paralyze me, to kill my motivation dead.

Um, some special stuff has been (and is) happening, so I’m just going to dump it all below. Yes?

  • I wrote an article about breasts, popular perception and beauty but I haven’t been able to put it up because I’m constantly rearranging my thoughts on boobs, popular perception and beauty. Really I could write a book.  I need this article to be perfect! It will be up by tomorrow, I promise. For now, stare at this glorious pair
Yea

Yea

  • I made a call for stories about bizarre/funny experiences had while using public transport in Uganda. Many of you responded with such great stories, that I didn’t have to write Stiletto Point Articles for two weeks. Thank you!
  • I entered a writing competition called Writivism a few months ago and the finish line is close. Terribly close. I like to pretend that I’m not at all anxious about the outcome, that whether I among the top 3 or not, it has been a fantastic experience, but I care. I care so much. I hope that when the time comes, you will read my story, fall in love and vote for it. Here is a video of me talking about why I write. Thank you Writivism!
  • I had the best pilawo of my life yesterday. Seriously. It changed my life. There’s nothing better than perfectly spiced meat and rice. Holla at these guys for a plate.
Is there anything better that perfectly spiced meat and rice? NO.

Is there anything better that perfectly spiced meat and rice? NO.

  • My weekend is going to be full of DIY. Today, I am meeting Akiiki and Liz, two lovely ladies from Arisu.ug to make accessories and maybe even skirts out of my lovely kitenge material. Check their work out HERE.
  • Tomorrow, I am meeting another pair of ladies who make shoes. Shoes! Shoes! They are going to help me make some pairs, using some more of my lovely kitenge. I have an almost unhealthy adoration for love people who can do great things with their hands. This is probably because mine ate the clumsiest pair ever to exist.
  • I’m going to be better about posting. I promise. In fact, here is a gift for you. A really good story by Doreen Baingana. Banange she snatches a chunk out of life and presents it perfectly preserved.Just…read it.

http://caravanmagazine.in/fiction/gorging

Call only when you’re dying (otherwise text).

When short and sweet, a phone call can set you on the path to a great day. It can infuse your soul with wonderful feelings and make you want to hug somebody. But when it’s long and winding, and boring to boot, a phone call can make you wish a catastrophe upon your caller so that they can shut up and attend to something that isn’t you.

I’ve found the above to be true in every situation apart from courtship. Somehow, when you like somebody, your hatred of unnecessarily winding conversations vanishes. It’s no longer irritating to have to keep your hand against your ear for hours, like some kind of moron. You even begin to take advantage of those call packages that our telecoms, against all evidence, advertise as “free”. You jump with delight every time your phone vibrates and donate hours of your life to cloyingly sweet talk and embarrassingly earnest flirting.

Now that I have properly bagged my fellow, my hatred of phone calls has returned and has brought with it a hatred of the phones themselves. No matter how organized you are, your phone will never be in the pocket of your handbag that you remember placing it in. If you keep it in your pocket, it will vibrate and startle you into screaming at inappropriate times.

Phones, it would seem, are clairvoyant and only use their powers for evil and never for good. Your phone can tell that on a given day, you’re going to receive many important (and hopefully short) calls. It then craftily crawls under your pillow, bed or table and remains very quiet until you’ve left the house. And then every time somebody rings and and bounces, it transforms into a miniature robot and does a happy shuffle.

How unfortunate that a person’s reliability is nowadays measured by the regularity with which they can be reached on phone. For God’s sake. What if the phone is one of those bulky, smart types? Are you expected to carry that brick around all the time? First see this tweet by Twino Kwesiga. ‏@MR_TWINO: Does the Samsung SIII feel good on my ass? Will it make me more attractive? Will it fondle? I want fondling. If not fail.

Ahahahahaha.

How about if you’re sick and resting? Are you still required to pick up when intrusive workmates call to inquire how you are? I can’t stress how much I hate it when this particular dude from office does it. He always has me wishing I could stab his ear through the mouthpiece using a porridge encrusted spoon.

Ever since my mom passed on last September, my hatred of phone calls has become overwhelmingly intense. Worst are the unexpected ones from family. Whenever I find a missed call or a message that seems cryptic, my mind starts to ache. What if they have bad news? What if somebody is sick and dying? My mind runs around in circles and eventually collapses in a pool of it’s own frustration.

Phones irritate and alarm me and I hate them, but I’m going to spend a fat quarter of my salary on a smart one. Why? Jogging apps. I want to download an app that will coax, challenge and heckle me into running faster for a longer time. Something like Zombie Run. If Charlie Brooker of all people is doing it and getting fit, I want in. Phones otherwise are useless and we need to return to sending telegrams.

This is the face I get when I hear my phone ringing:

Lol. Jk. This is me eating life at Blankets and Wine yesterday. I didn't carry any of my phones.

Lol. Jk. This is me eating life at Blankets and Wine yesterday. I didn’t carry any of my phones.


Telling stories can be buladde.

Being invited to give a talk is exciting. It means that people think you know a lot about whatever field you work in and that you’re wise. Wise! I’ve been invited to exactly four gatherings since I started writing Stiletto Point, which makes me suspect that people didn’t think me all that clever before.

The latest event was  Rotaract gathering at SteakOut bar. Not knowing that this venue is well loved by Rotaract clubs, I stumbled from one group to another awkwardly asking if they were the one supposed to have me as speaker. Without fail, people’s eyes would glaze over with indignation, like, “How dare you interrupt our meeting? Why would we have you as speaker? Who are you?” and I would always stifle my instinct to say, “Excuse me. I am Apenyo. Don’t you read? Don’t I look like my caricature?”

I finally reached the group I was supposed to address, ordered my gin and tonic and tried not to scrunch my face at the level of formality with which members of Rotaract address each other.
The subject I addressed was writing; specifically the ugliness I suffer whenever I’m upgrading, growing in the craft. My growth process is hideous and I’m going to share it with you, like I did with them because I have no personal pride.

It starts with me noticing a pattern in my stories, a kind of stagnation. There’s no one particular thing that alerts me to this pattern really but when I notice, my stories start to suck.  I begin to criticize words before they even hit the page and even become unable to hold coherent conversations because I’m too busy editing my words before I say them.  I become irritated with the world, anxious and hateful of any person that stares at me for a fraction of a second longer than I deem necessary- basically, I become a sociopath.

The Knowledge that I will have become a little better at telling stories at the end of it all is little consolation. The pain is too much. Meanwhile, my story generator doesn’t give two shits about my situation. It keeps throwing suggestions and ideas at me full knowing that any attempts to flesh them out beyond the idea stage will result in pain. So frustrating.

When I chose the writing path, I didn’t think things would be hard. Coming to the realization that the actual work involved is just as hard as anything else I could have chosen to do was very disappointing. I thought I was escaping the challenges of growing up by choosing something I already did as a hobby. I was wrong.

Writing requires discipline, a decision to sit in the same place at the same time everyday and create even when you’d rather be stabbing your face with a pencil.

Things are particularly hard right now and to cope, I’ve been reading Angela Kintu and Charlie Brooker online, going at a rate of an article every three hours or so. They’re keeping me alive.

Writing is fulfilling when it’s easy and ugly when it’s not.

I have shared my angst-ridden growth process with you. Tell me. Is this what you all go through in your profession? What are the things that you do to revive your mojo when it collapses and makes you useless?

120 million. I need 120 million now.

I’m slowly drowning in my sadness as I write this. Father has just lit a fire in the middle of the courtyard and it’s emitting terrible smoke thanks to the leafy mango tree branch that he’s just thrown over it. I feel exactly like that smoke; I feel gray and aimless.

There is a medium-sized house right next to ours. Despite the unfortunate shade of orange that covers most of it’s surface, it’s pretty and has a compound that’s perfectly sized for the kinds of herb gardens I like to maintain. Using charcoal, somebody has added the words FOR SALE and a couple of phone numbers to it’s décor.

As my aunt and I were passing by it earlier, she brought my attention to the fact that nobody lived there anymore.  I sleep next door everyday! How could I not have realized that the neighbors had moved?

She went on to tell me she’d heard the house is going for 120 million. Oh boy. The excitement I felt was insane. My mind went into overdrive. What can I sell? Who can I ask? What can I sell? Who can I ask? Until it occurred to me that I have nothing in my life that I can sell and nobody that I can ask for one hundred and twenty million shillings. What a shame.

That’s pocket change for some people, you know. There are Ugandans who go into 21 billion worth of debt and get covered for by our government. How rich do you have to be in the first place to accumulate such debt? Probably rich enough to lend a broke writer 120 million.

I escorted my aunt to the road, ran all the way home and breathlessly informed my people of what was going on outside the gate. With 120 million shillings, I could own a house right next to ours! Perhaps I’d move in there or maybe rent it out at an exorbitant price . I could even make my friends pay me to hold house parties in it. Father looked at me in the same way you would a kitten climbing a tree and said, “Mildred, that house is 40 million, tops. If Housing finance got a serious buyer, it would probably go for a bit less.”

That is the moment I slumped down next to the smoky fire and began to type this. People, I have no where to find 40 million (which is 80 million less than 120 million shillings) and have nothing but bad ideas.

The first is to write and here’s why it wouldn’t work: writers in Uganda get paid really badly. My only hope would be to win something huge like the Caine prize of African writing and whereas that is achievable, it’s hard.

Another idea is prostitution which would probably work if I didn’t have such strong inhibitions. I take this opportunity to thank my parents for doing a good job.

The third idea is to start a school. The only problem here is that I dislike long contact with all strangers between the ages of 11 and 19 because they are full of hormones and are therefore unpredictable.

The fourth Idea is to stop thinking so hard about this and start a donation drive here where anybody who gives me over ten million shillings gets a free biography. I have no idea how to write those, but Google is full of how-tos.

P.s My kidneys are in great working condition.