I dared Mt. Muhavura and she dared me right back.

When I was leaving for Mountain Muhavura last Friday, I wrote a braggy facebook update daring the mountain to become steeper because I felt I needed a proper challenge to help me forget the week I had had. I got a challenge alright. As I write this, I have one cracked fibula and a body that is still bruised from the various ways I had to contort it as I climbed.

Well I wasn't climbing ALL of the time. I lay down on the trail and took pictures of my throbbing legs many, many times.

Well I wasn’t climbing ALL of the time. I lay down on the trail and took pictures of my throbbing legs many, many times.

Have you ever exerted yourself so much that even your elbows sweat? Has your body ever given out so deeply that your mind stops recording your life? This is what happened. Halfway up the mountain, I stopped noticing things. I placed one foot after the other like every zombie in every zombie flick you have seen.

If the journey up takes away all of your energy, the journey down steals your patience. I began to fast-walk, and then slow-jog down the mountain. I had become bored with my pace and also competitive. It gets old, watching person after person overtake you. I also wanted to feel fit.

When my knee cracked back and I heard that pop, I fell down and wailed like a heartbroken actor in a Telenovella.

OK like this, only less dignified.

OK like this, only less dignified.

My poor limb. First, it had been ravaged by the spider mites on my herb patch, making it scar so much that I look like I’m wearing polka dotted stockings, and now I had broken it. Central to my weeping was that I would not be able to dance that night. A trip to a new place is not complete for me if I haven’t jiggled my limbs to its music! I was full of despair. Somehow, I got off the mountain. Somehow, I danced. Somehow, my moves did not make my leg break clean in half.

Yea

Yea

When I got to Kampala, my first stop was a hospital in Ntinda that I have been asked to please not name. The medical insurance I have is tied to that place. With the help of my nkoni, I hobbled up the stairs right into a nightmare. I have never encountered such confusion or rudeness. I should have run right out when I saw that the doctor was wearing a tiny pink dress top leggings and strappy sandals. You guys, I work in Advertising. That is my uniform. When clients see me, they go, Oh! This one must be full of crazy ideas. That is NOT what you want to be thinking about your doctor.

Me on a good day, You would not allow me to treat you.

Me on a good day. Don’t allow any doctor who looks like this to treat you.

Fortunately for me, she didn’t seem to have any ideas at all, good or bad and after 30 minutes of spastic, disinterested and distracted service, I was sent away with diclofenac and instructions to return for a session with the ‘sonographer’. The next day, the receptionist informed me that I would need authorization from my office to see this sonoperson. After two hours, she snappily informed me that my office hadn’t called back with the authorization. Now I know the fault wasn’t hers and reserve a big helping of side-eye for my office admin, but surely she could have let me know an hour earlier. I shook my crutch at them all and limped out of their establishment.

I eventually had my leg scanned at Span in Kisaasi, and although I am sure I left with some damaged cells thanks to being X-rayed on a naked table with no protective clothing over the rest of my body, I was happy with their service. The doctor made me feel like I was going to be OK. To distract me from the painful massage (there was a whole lot of swelling but I have been informed that it was very stupid of him to massage my fractured limb), he called me an athlete and told me stories of how basket ballers sometimes have to have their fibulas sawed entirely off.

I finally hauled my ass to a bone specialist and he’s put me in a leg brace and scared me into using my crutch more diligently, because nti I will never run again if I fool around with the healing of my limb.

I feel like an autobot.

I feel like an autobot.

One bright side is that thanks to the fracture, my body requires for me to take almost three times as many calories per day in order to heal properly. You guys August is going to be gorgeous. Fooooood!

Feel your feelings, read and travel.

First of all you guys, Chuma Nwokolo Jr. just followed me on twitter.  I don’t know. The world is so strange. My great grandmother, Apenyo the 1st would not be able to wrap her head around why a thing such as a ‘follow’, a little bit of finger pressure on the right space of computer screen would make a person so hysterical with joy. I barely understand it myself.

Chuma is the author responsible for Diaries of a Dead African, one of my favorite books this year.

Read this book

Read this book

It made me laugh, it made me cry, it made me eat a lot. Give my mind a moment to explode with bright yellow joy.

Yes, it disturbed me that the few female characters in the book were two dimensional, but  Meme Jumai will always live in my head. I’ve made for him a special space where things like desperation and hunger and indignity don’t exist. His section was my favorite.

*

I’m still obsessing over what my Thursday posts should be about. Should they chronicle the little dramas in my life? Should they be about herbs? Sigh.

For this post, the first idea that came to me was: What to do when you’re contacted by an ex who you have very deliberately cut out of your life? This is probably the most used and abused subject in the history of the internet, but I wanted to add my angst filled voice to the choir, but then I actually met with him and my anger went away. How disappointing.

But maybe I’ll write about it when I feel less lazy.

I then considered writing about the process of finding your correctness and how you can get thrown off your path by hypocritical and condescending people who are convinced that they know you and the workings of your mind better than you do. But then I realized it would get too personal then I’d begin to over edit, then I’d just choke on angst and die.

Sometimes, an asshole is somebody you appreciate on other levels and it is better to shift your focus on to things that matter.  Lokah samastah sukhino bhavantu and all that.

But maybe I’ll write about it when I feel less lazy.

*

You all know how much I love traveling. Travel writing is something I’d like to dedicate a large part of my life to.  Sabili Tours contacted me at the beginning of the year and together, we came up with a campaign called Around Uganda in 7 trips. These guys are passionate about getting young Ugandans to travel around their country.

This talk nti being a tourist is for bazungu is just lazy. People are coming from other continents to look at your baboons and to hike up your mountains and to rent rooms around your tea plantations and you’re here in Kampala choking on matatu fumes. People, tutravelinge!

Come and we model next to falls and such

Come and we model next to falls and such

Season 3 of Around Uganda in 7 trips is taking us to Queen Elizabeth National Park. It is going to be brilliant on so many levels (foh exampo):

1. Road trip!

2. Spending the night close to animals that you have probably only ever seen on TV.

3. Actually meeting these animals (from a safe distance).

4. Hanging out with some of the coolest people I know.

Click this link to see evi-da of how epic these trips get and then book your place.

In final news, Sunday is going to be a very special day in my life because Writivism is taking me to Hilton High School to read and discuss True to Nothing with the literature club there. Bless them.   

To find out more about my involvement with the Writivism competition, watch this video. 

Kawa Apenyo out!

See you on Monday 

x

When Children Abuse Adults.

The hardest thing about Mondays is switching from home mode to work mode. Weekends always feel like leave. I haven’t lived through one weekend that didn’t sneak a mean hope into my subconscious, a hope that I wouldn’t have to attend meetings for at least two weeks.

So when I walk into office, productivity doesn’t just hit me. I need transition time.  In fact, you need transition time too (unless you’re boring or too busy to be anything but). Well-adjusted people start the day by depositing their lunch in the kitchen; proceed to prepare some kind of beverage and then settle in front of their computer for an hour of cassava munching and internet trawling- to get the creative juices flowing.

It was during one such hour that I came across The Dull Coworker, a blog dedicated to making its writer’s hours at work more bearable. It contains tips on how to distract your co-workers, how to start conversation, how to survive that awkward moment when you meet the same person in the hallway for the third time, etcetera. I was about to move when I found an article titled Adults being bullied by children: The untold story.

This title made me jump with recognition and annoyance because something like that happened to me recently. In the article, the victim was taking a walk around her neighborhood when a little girl pointed a plastic gun at her and snarled. She, for some reason, thought this snarling child was saying something sweet, and being a good natured lady, she moved closer to hear. The child made shooting gestures and continued to snarl.  Sure, this can be written off as the actions of a bored child who watches too many violent programs on TV but what about the adult? What was she supposed to do with the irritation and anxiety caused to her?

My incident occurred when I was sitting at an Easy Bus stage outside the DFCU on Jinja road, cursing my fortune (or lack thereof). A teller had just informed me that my account was empty which meant that I wouldn’t be able to go on a date I’d been looking forward to. I knew he’d insist on paying for drinks and such, but I couldn’t go with zero protesting power. A girl needs her protesting power. It was in the middle of this mental lament that I felt a sharp pinch on my bum. The normal response to random, sharp pinches on one’s bottom is to jump and squeal, so that is what I did.

When I whipped back, there were two small children giggling uncontrollably. They were dirty and barefoot so it immediately clicked that they lived on the street. The easy bus sheds have spaces in their frames that are big enough for a skinny hand to dart in and out of. The culprits stood waiting for my reaction and when I smiled, took it as their cue to summon their friends. They had found a new toy. They jostled for pinching space behind me, delivering as many as they could before flitting away. When I eventually stomped behind the shed to twist their ears, they ran away. I was annoyed, but also pleased to have been the cause of so much giggling. Giggling is good. Anyway, I can’t promise to be so kind and accommodating next time. If there is a next time, ears will be twisted and cheeks will be pinched, so help me God.

So, what’s with that accent?

Swerncing is the act of sounding silly as you speak in an accent that your tongue just can’t be bothered with. Hello becomes helllorr, Stella becomes Stellarrr, go out becomes gorout.

Research shows that the moment the average Ugandan breathes in exhaust fumes of a place outside Uganda, even if it’s just Kenya, they’ll comeback swerncing, and more intensely if they’ve been to America or Europe (places associated with milk, honey and everything nice). A muzungu saying gyibarley nyabul is also a kind of swerncery, but of a more amusing variety.

English speaking Ugandans spend a lot of time analyzing, ridiculing, laughing at; generally being concerned with accents. You know a gossip session has risen on the scale of hatefulness when somebody says something like, “the way that heifer overuses ‘r’ to mbu Americanize her accent makes my ears vomit a little whenever she speaks”.

They’ve also made advertising agencies in Uganda rich. Whatever laughs can be squeezed out of Acholi and Luganda and Runyakitara accents have been collected and turned into money and now enough is enough. We shouldn’t even be reinforcing these differences in the minds of people, especially not in a country that’s a hop and a wiggle away from civil war on sectarian grounds. People don’t dig each other enough.

There are many reasons a person may swernce at any given moment, some more acceptable than others.

First of all, people are impressionable and even a little exposure to a different way of speaking can affect the way they’ll sound when they next speak. If you have friends with kiwi accents, you need to prepare yourself mentally and emotionally for the time your words curl unexpectedly. You will likely be telling a riveting story; all your friends will be nodding appreciatively, giggling in all the right places when BAH! your next sentence will come out in a strange accent and shame you.

People swernce to be ‘professional’, especially on radio. Most presenters sound like they’ve got a fungal infection in their mouth, which makes it impossible for us to hear what they are saying and is responsible for the recent trend of people flinging their radios across the room.

Really don't.

There’s also travelers swencery that happens to people who leave the country for long while. In a few months, the accents they’ve had their entire lives disappear completely. When they come back home, they never really change back. This swencery is slightly more acceptable because they’ve earned it by having lived in an environment where they were required to blend in if they wanted to escape the attentions of xenophobes. As long as they sound authentic, I reserve my resentment.

It’s those ones that leave for 48 hours and come back speaking like an American who has had all their teeth removed that irritate me. What are they saying? That they’d rather sound like a toothless person than sound like me? Shya. Those ones I dislike openly. If you insist on coming home with an accent, practice until you sound more like Denzel and less like you’re gurgling bile because while it is your constitutional right to speak funny, it is our constitutional right to say mean things behind your back.