Two hours in Mogadishu

When I say I love traveling, my inner self feels convinced. To many traveling may mean boarding a plane to a place a thousand miles away or probably sitting on  a bus to go on a long journey, but for me, it means refusing to sitting in one place for more than 30 minutes.

This is not because of the kind of work I do, but may be because of my nature – I wouldn’t want to call myself restless but for lack of a better word , Yes! Restless!

Enough

Of course I got excited when my editor’s call came through that I should organise all my travel documents I would be covering the Air Uganda maiden Flight to Somalia.

Did you just say Somalia? The question resounded in my excited mind.

Picture the excitement and honour. I knew this was going to be fun but of course it was going to involve enduring a Yellow Fever vaccination injection which for years I had been reluctant to take.

“All programmes cancelled. I must get this vaccination done in the least time possible.” I said to myself.

In a few hours I  gladly surrendered my upper arm to the nurse’s palms.

So with all set, all I waited for was the D-day. I wasn’t excited because I was gonna fly, travel or something, the vigour stemmed from the fact that I was going to Somalia – one of  the countries on my  ‘to – visit list.’

My keen Interest in Somalia is also linked to the recent happenings in there, that I have always just read about in the news. I wanted to know how it feels to be in a place like one that is just recovering from insurgency – The journalistic Ego (Of, yeah I once was in Somalia)

I am simply being honest. I did not care if the trip was just for a few hours , just like it was – All I longed to do was to step feet in SOMALIA.

Well, at the eve of the flight, I retired home at the usual hours, and went to bed at about 11pm. I was meant to wake up at 2 and get ready for the 5.30am flight. I was up at 1.30am.

Quick through the process, at 5.30am, the much anticipated Journey commenced. For 2hr and 10 minutes I was catching sight of God’s beautiful space creation.

It was nothing short of Aaaaaammmmmmaaaaaazzzziiiiiing! Oweeeeesssoooooommmmeeeee!

When the hostess announced that we were landing…

The plane hovered over the waters, and soon we were on ground – Safely.

One word – Ancient

The smell of a semi desert.

An airport/ Military base – 9 of every 10 people you set eyes on, are dressed in military fatigue.

Place is guarded more than I had ever witnessed. The beauty was that the biggest number of the AU troops on ground hail from Uganda – they too were as excited to see an Air Uganda Plane jet in.  I keenly remember on of them telling me

“ Eh!, this has never happened, my heart has skipped seeing air Uganda plane land, ayaaaaaa, this is soooo goood.”

With these words I felt the joy and excitement of a ugandan who has been away from home for the at least eighteen months.

The tight security at the seemingly ancient airport for me revealed how much it may not be safe to travel further into Somalia, although the security operatives on ground kept assuring us that all was well.

The head of the Uganda People’s Defence Force contingency told me “People are happy, people are traveling, construction is going on, business is growing, Guns are silent here in Mogadishu.”

“Guns are Silent” that was the gist of the statement – what any entrant into Somalia would love to listen to. It made me feel at home.

And when these Soldiers walked to me giving greetings in our native Luganda language, I even fell more at peace.

About two hours in Mogadishu’s international airport and all I wanted to do was go even further – Oh I wish I could. I all wishes were horses…

Two hours well – Setting eyes on the Somalian President, interacting with Au troops, getting burnt under the scorching morning sunshine ( as If I even cared) and of course using my hand camera to document my first ever trip to Somalia.

In the few hours, I cannot forget to say my head was veiled. Somalia, wait for my Mega Return!

Yours Truely Uwitware

African Blood.

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Its been Nine Months

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When I say nine months, first thing in many of your minds is Pregnancy. Yes and no!

Last May I conceived, I was however not sure if it was a boy or a girl but I was sure it would be Joy at the end of the nine-months long journey.

In fact, my belly has for this time through beamed with joy, notwithstanding a few aches here and there.

Now, with only two days to deliver my long awaited baby I am joyful still, but sad too.

One, I am happy because I have successfully come to the end of my gestation period but also sad because I will miss the goodies that happened to me while the pregnancy lasted.

It was just yesterday, I can still smell the mood when I traveled to Nairobi to meet a delegation of fellow young journalists from around East Africa, to put together brains for career enhancement.

I can still remember how I met beautiful and handsome young wits whose names am compelled to mention because of they have been a significant lot in my journey hence this far.

In no order of preference, Wahida, Beryl, Mercy, Silvia, Goodluck, Robert, Laillah, Sharon, Athuman, Emmanuel, Mbashiru, Ingrid, Wisdom, Warothe, Peter, Daria, Kennedy and of course Olive.

Our people have been the best brothers and sisters I ever met besides my biological ones. I cannot but be grateful to my other Kenyan family members Maurice, Charity, Alex, Joy, Joseph, Prosper, Issa, Tom, Ray, and Sam who have been there for me.

But of course how can I forget my other buddies Kevins, Griffinz, Quest and Watson, you made me feel at home guys.

It’s surprising how time flies it has been fair yet unfair to me. It feels like I am waking up from a dream that has gone on for this entire while.

It is been a long yet short time, a time to bond with people who have been totally supportive and been there for me in all situations, while I smiled and while I frowned.

A great nine months of learning to deal with egos and temperaments from all walks of life,  but above all a time to climb to greater heights.

If there is something to regret in life, it can never be the walk I took nine months ago. I agree it has had its tough times but I have been able to overcome them with patience and persistence.

Besides, the tough times that there was, were always overcome by the Joy that the people around me gave.

At the end of the day now that there has been no abortion, I can attest to the sweetness of the fruits of this period- they are incredibly honeyed.

My pregnancy is now ripe, like a woman in labour I cry with pains of missing people who have become part of my life for this long, but grinning with excitement knowing that this is just the beginning of another level in life.

The programme has been one of the greatest achievements I will forever boast about, a chance to challenge and be challenged, to learn stuff beyond my understanding and to widen the scope of my knowledge.

It has been hard work but fun too.

All ye good people, there is only one thing, Go, Go and Go, fear no evil and road blocks, you have got all that it takes to shake the world and make it a better place.

God be with you till we meet again.

With Love Uwitware.

 

A letter to President Museveni

Dear Uncle M7, it is 9th October, 2012

It is not my birthday, not my parents’ wedding anniversary, yet I beam with lots of Joy.

I have religiously been looking forward to this day since I was born.  It is the 50th Independence anniversary of a great and beautiful Nation- Uganda.

Exactly 50years ago, this humble Nation received the power of self-governance from our colonial masters.

I would like to bring to your attention that today we remember Five decades of great development alongside numerous social ills.

We celebrate eight presidents not forgetting the incumbent (you) being in power for over 25years. If you are a good mathematician you know what I am talking about.

We exalt the Northern by Pass but not without mentioning the numerous potholed roads in Kampala and other roads.

We jubilate national patriotism regardless of whether Uganda ‘Cranes’ loses or fails to qualify for the African Cup of Nations. World Cup will be a matter of the future.

We are happy for UPE (bonna basome) but not forgetting how our children become academic dwarfs from UPE schools.

We appreciate the freedom of expression and free movement, but it remains true that opposition leaders are abstained from this right.

We are happy for the police keeping Law and order but we cannot forget the numerous times Besigye and I have eaten and constantly fed on teargas.

And, oh please! We cannot forget Arinaitwe, the man who broke Besigye’s window with a hummer and sprayed pepper that got the dude (Besigye) almost blind.

But of course we cannot forget Kiprotich and the Gold medal as we celebrate 50years, but we know he may be stale news like Inzikuru so soon.

And we cannot forget that we have never seen Kony but we have heard of him since we were born.

Most importantly we cannot forget that Mzee, you have taken so long in power, I want to see another president.

Lastly, I will be honoured if you hosted me for further discussions.

Caution: I am a child of 1988.

Yours Truly in love with Uganda

Trudy Tumusiime Uwitware.

 

 

 

 

 

Just Beneath Mulago hill…

Kampala stands on seven hills.

One of them is where Uganda’s referral hospital (Mulago Hospital) stands.

we all believe hills are synonymous with beauty, most times including the surrounding areas (at least as far as I can recall for the ones I have known.)

Yes, but there is something rather unusual about this one.  Between Mulago and another slum Kamwokya lies a very small slum, It is not common, you may be hearing it for the first time, even when you know Mulago, am sure only a few of us can locate it.

It has a very complicated name (Butakabukirwa).

I will tell you why I know it. When I was a child, I frequented the place, because I had an uncle who had a small business there. I was shocked just sometime I was passing by with a friend and decided to branch off, he could not believe what he saw.

He told me “Is there a such a place here in Kampala?”

I told him, “You never dare to find out.”

That said, I took a few pics, which I will let tell the story because I have already written a piece somewhere about it but felt I should share this photography with you.

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Somewhere in East Africa

I love you Mother Uganda

 

Somewhere in East Africa

Sits a small but sweet Nation

Also famously called the ‘Pearl of Africa’

The home of all beauty

The Nation that holds the future of its citizens

 

Somewhere in East Africa

A child was taught to love and respect her motherland.

The land upon which she was sired and reared

With utmost respect, love and compassion

To honour that land that feeds her

 

Somewhere in East Africa

Someone loves Black Yellow and Red

Somewhere in the silent East Africa

A person is in love with a Crested Crane

And another in intimacy with green and a Lion

 

Somewhere in East Africa

A three-bright coloured National flag is raised higher rich to the eyes

A beautifully curved map is at citizen’s fingertips.

The coat of arms is a picture that can be drawn even as they fall asleep

The national anthem melodies are like honey on their lips.

 

Somewhere in East Africa

A Nation is in jubilation

Somewhere in East Africa

A country is 50 years of Independence

Somewhere in East Africa

There is a Nation called UGANDA

 

Congratulations Motherland Uganda

With love greeting as you celebrate 50

May God uphold you

I lay my future in you

Somewhere in East Africa

 

The Masai woman: a true reflection of African Beauty

Masai Woman

She is black and beautiful.

A black woman’s smile like a two-edged sword cuts the eyes of those who receive it.

Her teeth shine through the gloom of her complexion.

Even free of any makeups, her clear and dark skin still glitters.

Sometimes bold headed, other times with rough, thick and black hair.

The Masai woman wears a bead head crown with filaments flowing right into her face, these just crowns off her natural beauty.

Her neck never goes bare; a thousand colorful bead ornaments dangle from round her long and feminine neckline.

Her ears are exceptional; always adorned with big beautiful earrings made of beads, sometimes metal, or even feathers.

She is unique; she is the typical African Woman, who leaves no stone unturned.

Who of you does not want to look like her? I bet none.

In this era of the olden-days fashion craze, many ladies, African and non-African, yours truly inclusive are acceding to this look.

To some of you, this may look like a primitive culture of the Masai people, please wake up because there is probably one thing you are missing.

I call it the screen genuine beauty because it is setting up a trend onto which modern day women are trading.

You may agree with me, that almost everything that there is to appreciate about African beauty is curved by such looks.

No wonder, our White brethren too are admiring it.

Men are not left out on this; ladies you must know that real gents are now days looking for this natural look. They hate forged beauty the ‘wigs and heavy makeup’ days are long lost.

“I do not want to date a woman who looks too plastic, I prefer her in her the way she is,” says Ignatius Matabisi, a Ugandan single and searching Gent.

We are off those days of the bleaching craze, when almost every black woman tried hard to look white. Could it be that Africans are becoming more patriotic? May be yes.

Clever ladies now know the trend and how to please their admirers, and so they are in for it.

Try the Masai Markets and you will be shocked at the numbers of women purchasing African accessories there.

One thing about this African jewelry, there are a variety of accessories made of different materials like beads, ivory, and metal among others.

Pieces produced include arm bungles, necklaces, rings, and head crowns, to mention but a few. This gives you liberty of choice so you can never go wrong.

They come in all forms and colours, making you even brighter when you wear them thus revealing your natural beauty.

Put on that bright head crown, blend it with those colourful beads around your neck, plus matching bungle and earrings would also do.

You can wear them for any kind of occasion, ranging from a simple home party to weddings and other occasions cultural and otherwise, just if you choose to go African.

You can also blend them with equally matching African fabrics such as ‘kitenge’.

How and where you choose to put them on entirely depends on you, also bearing in mind that Fashion is subjective.

When all is done, get back to me if no guy hits on you.

My latest Addiction

Of late, I have been going through inner battles. They have been really tight and tiresome.

I agreed with a friend of mine who said, “all battles are breaking but none is as breaking as the one in the heart.”

I have had a rough time understanding what is going on within me. But I thank God for his love for me, he has never permitted me to separate myself from him, even this time he has been on my side.

There is a song that has become my addiction through this tormenting moment, I have literally listened to it through and through and I cannot regret, I know how much it consoles me.

It goes by the title; “Lwazi Lwange” loosely translated as “My rock”  sang by the ANAWIM Uganda, a catholic gospel group.

The Anawim, sing of God as a rock, how to cling on the Lord for help, that all help comes from him.

And for me, I unceasingly sing “God you are my rock, whoever stumbles against you falls,” in that way, I have had him protecting me through this time.