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Plainly speaking

One Ugandan’s Open Letter to Billy Ocean

IMG_9366Dear Billy Ocean,

Or Mr. Wongo right?. Welcome to Uganda but of course you do not know me. I am just a lover of your music and an excited young man. I have been a lover of your music since ten. I used to run to my father’s bedroom just to listen to your 1984 Album  Suddenly  on his cherished Electrohome- Nostalgia EANOS501 Record CD Turntable (am sure many young ones don’t know this).

Mr. Wongo, you are always neatly clad  and a perfect gentleman. We are  excited  to have you in Uganda. We can’t wait for the Black Tie Concert tonight,even though it has raised mixed concerns. Some claiming they don’t know you and others claiming that your show is expensive considering that you are a man of the 80’s. But Mr. Wongo,  it is only people like me who love classic music, who will tell you that the rhythm and harmony of your music, finds it way into the inward places of our souls!

Your great songs like Caribbean Queen, When the Going gets tough (my favorite), Suddenly and Pleasure, remain some of the greatest songs in R&B and International Pop music history. I am sure you know that already.

But Mr Ochen, I mean Ocean (you guys have crazy names),  welcome to  the beautiful Uganda.

Watch this video you might not want to go back home.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UnBmfs5wwwA

You have to know a few things about this country you are visiting

    1. In Uganda, sometimes we greet people by saying “well done” even when the person is doing nothing. So just in case someone approaches you and tells you that,  just reply thank you!
    2. Africa is not a country and Uganda is not a town. Recently, American actress Raven Symone in an interview with E!, shocked Africans when she said that she is ‘from every continent in Africa except one”. At this point, we are not sure if her foot should be so far into her mouth that she swallows leather crumbs. Africa is a continent with over a billion people, who live in more than 50 different countries and speak more than 2,000 different languages. Uganda is a state within Africa full of beautiful people.
    3. In London, you call them mini buses but in Uganda, we call them taxis. What you call taxis back in London, here we call them special cars. It doesn’t matter if you get confused on your way from the airport about that, but just know that in Uganda, we are unique
    4. There is what we call UgLish. By UgLish, It is the Ugandan variant of English. In this beautiful country, we have dry tea, Wiseaching, cowardise, benching,  now-now, bullet and you will only understand the meaning of these words if you read our guide to UgLish which we compiled earlier here.
    5. When it comes to traffic jam, it does not matter whether you say “traffic” or “jam”, Ugandans will understand what you are saying.
    6. Meanwhile do not leave your car window open at night while in “Jam”. Your gadget might disappear unceremoniously but this doesn’t mean that Ugandans are thieves but it is just a security measure. Precaution is very paramount when you go to a foreign area for the first time.
    7. In Uganda we eat rolex, we don’t wear them. Relax! we don’t mean the watch you are wearing but a delicacy and type of food which is only found in Uganda here.
    8. We have what we call boda bodas. Now these are not boarders on a map but motorcycle loved and hated by Ugandans at the same time. Where a vehicle takes thirty minutes to reach a place, they take less than ten minutes! They know the art of invisible riding and when you feel that you are late for a show, trust me jump on one and reach get there on time! Still not sure what they are, we talked about them here
    9. More so, if you are coming out of your car or crossing the road, don’t forget to first look left and right. These boda bodas are not only fast, but they also ‘fly’ in all directions. You will be surprised when you see them coming from all directions towards you but don’t run, just keep calm and let them pass (if you come close to them while in Uganda anyway).
    10. In Uganda we don’t rush. We believe we have a lot of time to do everything we want and we value deadlines since its when adrenaline levels become active. You want proof? You will be shocked to learn that most people have not yet got tickets for your show but they are waiting to pay at the entrance. Just find a way of getting to the gate during your show, you will be my witness.
    11. “Let me come”, is a sentence you might hear a lot while you are in Uganda. Now this sentence is tricky. Someone will tell you “let me come” even when they are not going to come back. Please do not feel offended, sometimes Ugandans can be busy and end up doing a lot of things that is why they will tell you “let me come” even when they are not coming back 🙂
    12. Some English accents are seasonal don’t be surprised to hear some of the guys welcoming you speaking with a British accent. That’s how we be.

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    Have a pleasant stay

Yours sincerely,

Mr. Bata

If you thought Uganda was a forest, they lied to you

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2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. luwagga

    April 2, 2015 at 6:07 am

    Hahahaha i love this one.

  2. safso

    April 9, 2015 at 1:02 pm

    you nailed bro.

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Plainly speaking

The Alice Dora Foundation is committed to providing safe water to rural communities by providing boreholes

Health is a very great component of development. Unfortunately, in Uganda today, it’s still quite a struggle regardless of the different efforts set up by many people to facilitate the presence of clean water and sanitation as an aspect of good health.

According to many scholars, the human right to safe and accessible water, as recognised by the United Nations General Assembly in 2010, is inextricably linked with other human rights and therefore lack of access has a profound negative impact on many related Human Rights.

Worrying Statistics;

  • 82% of the population’s sanitation facilities in Uganda have no hand-washing facilities – only 8% have water and soap;
  • Urban households travel 200 metres to the main source of water compared to 800 metres in rural areas;
  • Only 15% of people have access to water on tap, despite improvements.

The Uganda Vision 2040 promises universal access to water and sanitation – all Ugandans will have access to safe piped water and a modern toilet facility. Some of the steps to achieve this vision involve government partnerships with the private sector to promote planned movement of people from scattered rural to planned settlements to ease delivery of utilities and services.

Borehole campaign:

The borehole campaign was designed in a bid to take clean water to people in rural areas thus giving them a chance at good health and sanitation.

With the goal to educate young children. empower youth innovations, and promote health and sanitation of community, the borehole campaign was born. The proposed place of establishment of these boreholes is next to Primary schools which is like killing two birds with one stone because the children will not have to go and fetch water from long distances thus they can focus on education (if they have a boarding section)

With this campaign the Foundation doesn’t only seek to construct these boreholes but also spread awareness to these communities on the services that the organization can support with if they are to work hand in hand.

“With these boreholes, water supply is not only dependent on unpredictable weather patterns as has been the case but also the communities get safe domestic water through the year helping the people to focus on other economic activities,” says Mark Keron Wamala, the foundation’s Public Relations Officer.

This Saturday of March 16, 2019, the Foundation will be holding an awareness interactive session with the community occupants with the aim of understanding their challenges better and with the main goal of “Touching hearts”.

Who is Alice Dora Foundation?

Alice Dora Foundation is a non-profit organisation that was built on the legacy left behind by the original pioneer(Alice Dora Nankinga 1992-2018) who had a dream to provide education opportunities to children who are in need, better family well-being at large, provide basic needs for the elderly, empower the young to exploit their skills while putting a smile on their faces.

With the same vision, the members of the foundation have carried on this dream and In line with its mission to bring development to communities, Alice Dora Foundation, is running a campaign to donate boreholes to the Kayini Kamwokya Community of Mukono.

 

Additional citations/notes

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Lifestyle

Celebrating Uganda’s Single Fathers

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Moses Abiine with his kids

Everyone can be a father but it takes someone special to be a dad” so goes the old adage. Parents are a pillar in a child’s life. Some say that the father is the head of the family but the mother is the heart of the family.

Countless stories have been told about single mothers, but in Uganda the phenomenon of single fathers is slowly creeping in.

What happens when she walks out on you and leaves the kids behind? Or when the unexpected happens and she passes on? The father must stick his neck out, take charge and be a real dad.

This fathers’ day we spoke to two single fathers that are doing a great job raising their children on their own.

Meet Wence Kamugisha, a 39-year-old single father of two, Jeremiah who is Seven and Maria four. Three years after a glamorous wedding, the two got misunderstandings that could not be resolved, they took separate ways, and they agreed that he takes care of the two children. During this time, Wence a data base administrator at Centenary bank fell sick with a rare trigeminal neuralgia and only recently got a surgery in India.

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“When I was in India, Maria fell sick because she was missing me. But I made sure that I call them everyday to find out how they are doing” he said.

He is back on his feet but even through the excruciating pain, he did not let go of his babies, and his neighbors accuse him of spoiling his children.

“They are mine, if I don’t spoil them who will? but I would like them to stay connected to their mother as much as possible. So during  the holidays they go to see their mother. I don’t want our differences to get in the way  of their growth. ”

We also spoke to Moses Abiine a 33-year-old single dad. His wife Diana passed away in 2011, for 4 years now, he has taken care of their kids.

“The last-born was 1 year and eight months when my wife died. I knew from that day that my children were my responsibility. I have always loved children; I don’t want to see children suffer whether they are mine or not. People encouraged me to take my children to the village to their grandmother but I wanted to keep my family together. If I take my kids to the village, I would be disconnected from them. I dropped out of school when I was young. There was  no school fees for me; I want my kids to have a brighter future. This is my ivory, My kids are my responsibility. No one will take my kids away from me whether I have a maid or not. My kid’s miss their mother yes, but they are comforted by the fact that I care about them.”

“When I was working as a driver at USAID LEAD, life was good. But when the project phased out, I told them that life wasn’t going to remain the same. I opened up to them to live within their means.”

“My challenges as a single father are very many, I worry about my children a lot, I am always thinking about my kids. About school fees, being a driver, most of the time, I am not at home, I worry about my kids’ hygiene, whether they have gone to school, then I also have issues with maids. I worry about their clothes whether they still fit, and their medication especially when I am in the field. My children are insured over the years, the maids have stabilized and I requested my organization to insure my maid as well. I make sure I pay her well and that the children respect her.”

“I would also love to spend quality time with my children, but work limits me yet the little time we have with them is to make sure that they are working. They now think I am very tough- they know that cleaning the compound is their responsibility. I need to learn daily how to discipline them with out creating a rift between them.”

“Right now I work at International Sweet Potato as a company driver. At work they will not give you special care because you are a single father. I have built a house for my kids, I rear goats and now I have 5 cows. This has taught me to be more responsible and to work harder. By the time I stop being employed, I should be able to be self-employed. I am working towards seeing that I can earn at least 500,000 from my farm every month.”

“My kids must know that I love them; I want them to be people of confidence that will change the world that they live in.”

“My advice to all fathers is that they should aim at a good life for their children all kids are the same. And this is not about the money they must be present in the lives of their children all the time. Right now, my daughter knows that she has to keep herself pure until she is through with school. I give her these life skills, sex education. I make it a point to live an exemplary life to my children. Help them do home work. You must sow in these kids’ lives then you will yield at the end. They will be children that change this country, not to drink And when faced with life’s challenges. We have a choice to make, but men should not turn to alcohol to drown their issues but face the giants. It is not easy but the fruit is worth it.

Abiine 2Abiine 5
Today, we celebrate all the awesome dads out there, the dads whose kids call inspiration, the dads who don’t leave it all upon their wives, the dads who never give up through thick and thin, the same dads that never adopted for abortion when the world said it was to early. In a special way, we celebrate the single fathers, you are the rock upon which this country is slowly being built.

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Plainly speaking

Ten Ugandan Historical Sites You Last Saw in Your SST Text Book

Uganda is not only endowed with awesome physical features but also great historical sites. Most of these we last saw or heard about them in our Social Studies (SST) books. Many Ugandans will prefer to go for honeymoon abroad yet they have never visited these amazing sites.  Maybe it is time to become tourists in our own home.

1.  Fort Pakito

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This is one amazing historical site in Uganda which is rarely talked about. The strategically located fort is believed to be 136 years old and stands on top of Ocecu hill in present day Gulu district found in northern Uganda. Re-known explorer Sir Samuel Baker over run the slave habour which had been constructed by Arab traders as a trench to avoid the escape of captives. He expelled over 250 Arabs and fortified the place hence the name it is known today. the fort is enclosed by a 16 feet wide and 15 feet deep and covers about 9.4 hectares.

2. Entebbe War Memorial

entebbe-war-memorial

3. Nakayima tree

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Nakayima tree is 40 meters high and is estimated be 400-500 years old. Located on top of Mubende Hill on Kampala-Fort portal Road.  Just a look at the root structure of the tree, will show you four formed wide spaces known to be resting rooms each for Ddahula, Nalongo Jajja Mukasa, Jajja Musoke and Kilunda.  People go there to seek blessings especially fertility.

4.  Nyero rock paintings.

cueva-de-las-manos The Nyero rock paintings are pre-historic paintings believed to be 765 or more years old (dating back to before 1250 AD!). Located in Kumi district, Eastern Uganda, the paintings were first documented in 1913. Many historians have argued that the paintings are credited to the Batwa (Twa) hunter-gatherers who are of Pygmy origin, and are today, only found in small groups in the far western part of Uganda. Many believe that they (Batwa), once lived in the general area of these rock art sites, probably moving on due to the arrival of the present inhabitants (Nilotic, luo and Bantu groups). These beautiful paintings are a representation of the rich cultural identity of the people of Iteso, Uganda, and Africa as a whole.

Until today, mystery still surrounds who painted them since no one openly has history relating to the actual individuals who painted them. The red and white paintings are believed to represent sacred places of gods according to the current inhabitants of the region, the itesots.

5. Sezibwa falls

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These falls lie 35km east of Kampala in the Vanilla growing district of Mukono district. The spectacular waterfalls are believed to have been born by humans many hundred years ago. The falls are one of the most spiritual and cultural centres where many natives flock for blessings, wealth, and fortunes. A traditional healer performs ceremonies for those seeking love, children, a successful business deal or a good harvest.

6. Katereke Prison Ditch

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Katereke prison ditch is one of the major symbols of tyranny and dictatorship in the pre-historic Uganda. It represents a history of brutal and vicious incidents in Buganda’s history. It is believed to have been constructed by the late Kabaka Kalema during the late 1880s. He constructed the ditch to be torturing chambers of all princes and princess whom he suspected to be his rivals. Many of these rivals were rounded up and exiled at Katereke for fear that they would one day overthrow him. These prisoners were later slaughtered without mercy.

 

7. Wamala tombs

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These beautiful and spectacular tombs are found on a hill in Nabweru Sub-county, Wakiso district. The dome structure makes the traditional site very attractive from a far. The tombs, are the burial site of Buganda’s King, Suuna II who was the 29th king of Buganda Kingdom.

Ssekabaka Ssuna II is remembered as the first Kabaka of Buganda to be buried with his law intact. The word Kabaka according to Ssebabenge, comes from the phrase: “Kano kaba kani?” (Whose jaw is this?) This is because upon the Kabaka’s death, his jaw would be removed and his widows would be asked whose jaw it was.

8. The Kasubi Tombs.

Kampala_Kasubi_Tombs

These magnificent traditional tombs, are the royal burial grounds of the Buganda Kings accredited by UNESCO world Heritage site. They are located just outside Kampala and reaching there is only an hour’s drive from the city. According to the Baganda, it is also considered a spiritual site and center for the kingdom. The recorded former kings of Buganda buried here are four (successive) and they are are the following;

  • Muteesa I (1835-1884)
  • Mwanga II (1867- 1903)
  • Daudi Chwa (1896-1939)
  • Sir Edward Mutesa II (1924-1969)

Sadly, the tombs burned in 2010 but are being restored by a campaign led by Buganda’s Prime Minister Mayiga named “Etoffali”.

9. Amabere Ga Nyinamwiru

dsc00016_stalactites_in_grapevine_gulch_bThis site is overwhelmingly spectacular. It houses an many caves, waterfalls and a hot spring. Amabere ga nyinamwiru is located 10 km from Fort Portal in Kabarole district in western Uganda. The site is best described and admired for its rare display of beautiful stalagmites and stalactites in form of breasts which release milky substances almost every after 25 seconds.

 

Mystery surrounds history relating to this amazing site. Under the Tooro Kingdom culture, it is believed that Nyamwiru, a princess of Toro and Bunyoro Kingdoms never wanted to marry the man her father had wanted her to marry. When she refused, her breasts were cut off as a punishment for the disrespect of her father. There is also a contradicting version which says that she boldly cut off the breasts herself in protest against her father’s wish. Either way as it happened, her breasts turned into rocks dripping with milk and hence the formation of the site

10. Bulange building

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This is the traditional seat of the Buganda Parliament standing on the south side of Natete road. It is one of the most impressive colonial era building in Uganda.

Bulange is one of the most significant buildings found in the palace (Lubiri). It hosts the Kingdom`s administration and its Parliament where the Kabaka meets members of the Buganda Lukiiko (Buganda Parliament). Before Bulange building was constructed, members of the Lukiiko used to sit under trees on grass but later, they decided to build the Lukiiko sit which was grass thatched. Later, Sir Apollo Kaggwa who was the then Prime Minister decided to build a new Bulange with bricks. He gave the contract to an Indian Alidina Visram and work was started in 1902 (although other sources say work begun in 1885).

Now you have plot. Next time you are looking for a destination you know where to go.

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