Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Lately I am having trouble sleeping

This week I have had trouble sleeping despite feeling extra tired every night. Regularly at 7pm having dinner, watching TV and the head starts to feel heavy. I can barely keep my eyes open and yet when I get into bed I am tossing and turning. I am struggling with the constant compromise between thinking and breathing.

It started on Sunday after Liverpool beat Manchester City in the most dramatic of fashion.

You see on Saturday as I walked through Rosebank Mall I was accosted by a white man. Yes, a white man run towards a black man in a crowded mall shouting “JUSTICE”, at the top of his voice. The problem you see is that I was wearing my Liverpool replica shirt and he happens to be a Hillsborough survivor. This week marks 25 years since 96 people went off to watch a football match and never came back.

But he did not let on right away that he was a survivor as he put his hand around my shoulder and started to lecture me about the history of the club that is Liverpool Football Club. He informed me of how when the club was just formed 13 of their players were called up to fight the Boer war for the British. How they chose to play a game against Leicester City before departing and they ended up missing the ship to South Africa. How they then had to take a ferry cross the Mersey to catch the ship. They sailed to South Africa and had to walk inland for days to catch up with the Boers. Arriving in a place called Spioenkop tired and hungry and were promptly ordered to take a nearby hill. They all died on that hill. Their cremated remains and the blood soaked sand from that hill were used to build the famous Spion Kop at Anfield.

Meanwhile a small crowd, attracted by the initial fracas, had gathered around us. Someone in the crowd started tugging at my new Samsung Galaxy Grand Quattro (my precious old one had been snatched from my hands on the streets of Kampala). I held firm, but I later learned he wanted to record the scene for me.I need to start being more trusting perhaps. But imagine this black man in South Africa surrounded by all these white people gawking.

As I watched Liverpool crumble in the early part of the second half of the game at Sunday lunchtime, I could not help but wonder if the players were feeling the effects of not having eaten lunch. I then remembered those poor sods that died, tired and hungry on that hill in Spioenkop. I found myself singing that famous song about dreams being tossed and blown in the wind and how we strangely were not walking alone; as I too was hungry (unable to eat before the game due to some very playful butterflies in my belly). Then Vincent Kompany sliced his clearance and Philippe Coutinho swung his right leg at the ball.

So yes, I am having trouble sleeping.

My time in South Africa is coming to an end. Could it be am suffering because I now associate this place with inspirational good memories? I don’t want to say that am falling in love. I hate the weather that causes temperatures to drop below 10 degrees Celsius in the mornings and evenings. I hate that my wife and my kids, the wonder girls, are not here with me. 

But I love my work mates. I love how a bunch of us goes out to the Great Dane or Kitcheners to drink most days. I love how they never let me win any arguments. I love how they are always asking the question why. I love how cosmopolitan and multicultural the office is. I love that South African women are prudish in public but every bit as Zuma described when he discovered that hot showers could prevent HIV infection. But I wont say am falling in love with Jozy.

I think I am going to need therapy when I return to Kampala.

When Coutinho swung his leg on Sunday and scored, I jumped out of the sofa with a star jump. My legs hit the coffee table so hard that I have been unable to wear shoes since.  As such I was unable to control my landing and ended up slamming my back into the arm of the sofa. As such it hurts when I take a deep breath, laugh or move my back in anyway. Obviously sleeping is uncomfortable…

Hang on...

I am having trouble sleeping…

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