Thursday, June 18, 2015

The man from Kigezi and the son of Amos

And it came to pass, in the twenty ninth year of the reign of the son of Amos, sower of the Mustard seed and Sabagabe of Uganda, when the oil from the land of the god-King Kabalega had not yet been removed from the ground; that a man appeared in bright yellow. A yellow that was brighter than the morning sun going forward into the day.

A man from the hills of Kigezi and blessed with great intellect. A man who in the protracted guerilla battles of the triangle bush war spent his time munching on sausages and other delectable food and earned the nickname “kalya sausage”

In the great battles of the Movement he smote the philandering Gilbert; he of Mahogany, stealer of other men’s wives and laughing stoke of all who knew him.

And so it was, in the fullness of time, before Kiggundu had opened the gates to the great election bonanza, this man ventured forth, up onto the mountain of the YouTube. It was there that he did declare that he would challenge the king of kings, sabagabe of Uganda for the right to rule this great nation of coffee and diaspora dollars. But first he would challenge him for the bright yellow kingdom.

The message, as spake, was heard through out the land of green bananas and the entire world. The message was taken by twitting birds and packets on the super highway of electronicus to the rest of the world.

The news came to the son of Amos while he was visiting the land of Zuma, buffoon of the south and curer of HIV by washing privates with water from the fountain of Armitage Shanks. There they feasted with Bashir conqueror of the Dinkas and butcher of Darfur. The son of Amos left the feast like a pickpocket at a wedding. He jumped onto his chariot of the Gulf Stream IV and rode, fast like the wind, back to his kingdom.

And there was much anger and gnashing of teeth in Rwakitura, the land of milk and honey. And the cows in Sembabule were restless and would not eat of the grass nor bring forth milk from their udders.

The son of Amos, tired, after riding his chariot of the Gulf Stream IV all night, appeared as a vision to all his people. He told them that the man from Kigezi was a delinquent and could not be trusted. The king of kings took his people to the highest mountain in the land, on the peak of iPad. There he showed them schools that had been built by Nyamurunga and the vile colonialists. Some had also been built by the conqueror of the British Empire, Dada Idi Amin. Shamelessly he claimed he had built these schools with his own money. Money he had got from selling Milk from his cows in Sembabule and Rwakitura. Money he had got from selling cow hides to the great merchant Hassan B. Appalled by this chicanery, the wizards and sorcerers of the UCC decided they would switch of all analogue magic. So 98% of the nation were suddenly able to wake up from the vision of the son of Amos.

Starting the next day, much carousal prevailed in the land of green bananas for all of 48 hours. Then Hospitals went without medicines or doctors again. The great heroine Kagina continued to sharpen her sword in preparation for the battle at UNRA and Musisi continued to place her great huge buttocks firmly on top of the poor people in Kampala. And everyone went back to work in the over crowded malls and the gardens.

Life went on.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

I am on top of the world!!

If you are on top of the world, do you have to come down off the top in order to climb back up again? If you shoot for the stars and hit them, are there no more stars to hit?

Ever since I was little, people have talked about deciding what to do with your life. Back then it was – when I grow up, I want to be this or that. When I actually grew up, I even calculated how much money I needed to be able to “retire”. Then guess what? I actually became what I had always wanted to be and I even saved up enough to be able to decamp from the rat race. This was at age 32.

At the time, I told people that I had achieved self-actualization. Their reaction was to treat me with superciliousness. Reminded how no one knew who I was etc. There was much celebration when a few years later I said that I now had a new goal in life. A friend of mine told me that if I had really self-actualized previously then I would not have a new goal. But I disagreed and Maslow and his hierarchy of needs suffered defenestration.

Why do I have to do just one thing with my life? Why does doing all sorts of different things get looked at as searching for the one thing? Why does it have to be ONE thing?

I have always been able to identify patterns easily. I found that to quickly get a woman to bed, you had to make sure all her other needs or desires were satisfied. But this is not about her needs for all time. It is about her needs at that time. That means that what satisfied today may not satisfy tomorrow. For those still obdurate apropos Maslow’s pyramid, think of it as having to get to the top of the pyramid every time. So today she has no money problems, she is not hungry and is in a good mood. In that case all you have to do is make her feel respected. But tomorrow she suddenly has money problems that may impact her mood, but her boss was nice to her and so she feels really respected. So then you have to satisfy a different need.

Over 10 years ago, I found true happiness being able to come home everyday to this particular woman. Once my class and, later, my shift ended, I felt the excitement fill my heart at the prospect of seeing her face and hearing her voice. So every evening as I closed the back gate and she looked down at me from the bedroom window, I hit a star. Then I married her and we had a child, hitting several stars. This was now a new level of happiness.

In the meanwhile I was being paid well to be a programmer. I had wanted to be a programmer for a long time. I had even threatened to kill myself if my sisters did not let me use my inheritance to pay for my software engineering education. I remember how happy I felt when I paid the tuition. I had no money to my name immediately after that point but I was walking around like I was the richest man in the world. The happiness I felt when I finally found a job at McDonald’s was on another level. Then I came back to Uganda and my code was impacting real lives. The sense of fulfillment that brought was immense.

There is a long line of teachers in my family. My paternal grandparents and my parents were teachers. It is my destiny and desire to work in academia. While I was still being fulfilled as a programmer I got several opportunities to teach. When my name first appeared on a research paper, I cried. I cried because the joy overflowed. Then I was at Oxford University coaching doctoral students of Biomedical Engineering… If only my parents were alive to see that. My daddy used to brag in the bar about the secondary school I was in, am sure he would have taken out a TV advertisement about my stint in Oxford. Just that thought brings tears to my eyes. How many times can a person be on top of the world?

I have been truly blessed in my life. I had a box of cigars from Cuba that I used to turn to every time I was feeling on top of the world. That box had 10 cigars and eventually run out about 3 years ago. But the happiness is still coming.

It is my contention that in my life, I will continue to find happiness in many different ways. That is why shooting for the stars appeals more than Maslow’s pyramid. The universe is never ending. When you hit the stars, there are still more stars to hit in a galaxy far, far away.

So what is my purpose in life? What I can say is, its not just ONE thing. It has been many things. And I know many more are yet to come. Join me and lets count our blessings. Let us stop and smell the coffee. We have many lives to lead.