Thursday, August 28, 2014

On Bungee Jumping..

Ola Dolls,

This morning, we're in a pensive mood so deep meaningful thoughts coming your way. I have always wanted to bungee jump. It's on my bucket list. Ok, it was! Till I had a baby and I read about a freak accident where someone's head exploded after they jumped due to the pressure. That there was the end of that desire. There was no way I was making my baby an orphan while thrill seeking like a white person. Now way. Nope. Never. Jesus did not die for me to engage in such foolery. So when it was my girl's 25th birthday and she chose to fling herself off the contraption below;

This was me, when it came to my turn:

No, No,No,Never!
Instead, like Kim Kardashian I was taking selfies;


That was last year. This year, a dear dear friend of mine moved to Zambia. My first thought was, "OMG, Am so going to go bungee jumping at the Victoria falls!" I won't jump into the seemingly tame River Nile but bring on the valley of death. What is wrong with me?!

Where I plan to meet my ancestors
But that is not the gist of this post. (Don't judge me, am a baby writer!) Yesterday, someone said I have a pretty huge appetite for risk. I couldn't believe this. Am sooo risk averse, am those people always counter checking everything, planning things way in advance of their happening. I do not have an appetite for risk but what I do have is an appetite for adventure. Having the baby dulled this some and I've been battling and losing to get this back. Funny enough, I think God was watching this struggle and waiting for the right time to force my hand. And he has. A couple of random events that have happened in the past few months have set off a domino effect and the cards are starting to fall in place. Am setting off for a new adventure. I have never been so scared but then again I have also never been so excited. The world is soon to be my oyster.

And about that Bungee jumping, some people can jump on their own but am not one of them, I'd definitely require pushing. After which I would not scream since I'd be too busy saying a gazillion Hail Mary's, a dozen Surat Al Fatiha's and for Allah to receive my soul. But one thing am certain about is that my eyes would be open. They would be open to take in the wonder that lies beneath.


Sunday, August 24, 2014

On the Pakasa4 forum....

I've never attended or watched any of the Pakasa forums (Go here to learn more) but I'd heard a lot about them.The keynote speaker for this edition was H.E Kenyatta Uhuru the current President of Kenya, the chairman of the East African Community and according to Forbes the richest African President with a net worth of $500 million.The theme of the forum was creating opportunities for the youth in East Africa.

I was so there for that. I sent my email request for an invite and got one but was told that queues were going to be nasty and that I needed to be there by 6am. I am not about that life so I watched it from the comfort of my living room.Here's few of my observations and thoughts on the event;

1.Everyone was singing the entrepreneurship song! Everyone was talking about building a business and creating jobs. This is all very well but y'all need to know that not everyone is cut out for this. Infact ,MOST of us are not entrepreneurs. To start and grow a business requires a particular set of skills that very VERY few people have (and school can't give you). In a country where up to 90% of businesses collapse within the first year, we need to start thinking and doing differently perhaps. Do not go into business because it's a fad. Most Ugandans are not aware of the extent of their entrepreneurial ability and  do not carry out a market survey to determine the viability of their venture. They start businesses just to exploit what initially looks like a potentially profitable business opportunity only to realize later that they do not have what it takes to become an entrepreneur. How can this be solved? No ideas here. Ask me after I've finished a year doing my dream MBA, if and when I find a sponsor for it. (Shameless plug!)
And for all the "successful" entrepreneurs that were present, *side-eye at that dude making UGX 50million annually off 4 acres of land* I have this to say;

2.You must save. Most of the speakers, immediately after singing the entrepreneurship song, they went; "youth must learn how to save". Dude,you are speaking to almost 10million people, 60% of whom are unemployed ergo no money, what do you suggest they save, sweat,ideas?! NEXT please. My advise, you think you have a viable business idea(ati you have insisted on this business thing) borrow or better still, look for someone who believes in you and this idea;an angel investor. Good luck though, those are hard to come by.

4.We should stop looking to the government for help. Wait,What!! Why are people telling themselves this. It's like going to a hospital, paying for treatment and medication and then sitting back and saying "I need to get better by myself, this hospital can't help me, it is not the doctors responsibility to make sure I get better".
You people need to wake up and smell the coffee. You pay tax, every single one of you. Even if you are not employed,you pay VAT, ON EVERYTHING;clothes,sugar,fuel,matchboxes, EVERYTHING!!! You voted this government into power *coughs*, You are a law abiding citizen (if you're a thief, no one can and should help you),the government owes you. Look at the Americans, they know this. That's why things like this happen. And to think there's is just 10% now.

I love that when Uhuru spoke, he put this crop of naysayers in their place. THE GOVERNMENT ARE FACILITATORS! I was like tell em. PREACH homie!

Know your rights people. Do not abdicate the government of it's responsibility. There's a lot that the government can and should be doing to help youth 'create' opportunities. Tax breaks for example, why are they privy to only some investors(local and foreign). At the moment, every venture pays an income tax. This should be reserved for only profit making ventures. If I declare no profits for that year, I pay no tax. Whether am lying or not is up to how badly I do not want to see the inside of a prison cell.

3.Uhuru. God,This man. He is eloquent. I have never really sat and listen to him give a speech and I regret this. It's already a year into his term! He was rolling off numbers off his tongue just like that, cracking jokes (that are actually funny), being real and connecting with the audience. He was lively and vibrant. In 5 minutes flat, I was a converted! Am a believer. Kenyans can't tell me nothing. Y'all have an Obama right over there. If his policies suck and he's corrupt, it's OK. He'll explain your anger away. No wonder there was no uprising after Westgate for better security. He must have constantly soothed the nation with verbose.
When Robert asked him about coming to Uganda more often, he said he hopes to see more of the country when he retires. RETIRES?!! An African President! Talking about retirement! For someone who has had the same President since my birth, I was in shock. Presidents hope and plan for retirement? Like Pope Benedict? Retirement?! I was like, did he just say that? He did?! He's the man! *applause*

He spoke truth's about Oil production, the East African Community, cross-border trade and believing in oneself. He had me in front of my TV like;


4.The moderators. Lord have mercy, where do I start? For one, when Forbes says one has a net worth of $500million, that does not mean that that is what they have in their account. How can you even think that? *bangs head on table* The moderators were dry and the discussions were all over the place like this post is so no hate. I know it's hard being thorough and concise with such a vast topic but for an event that's going to be broadcast worldwide; PREPARE! Research like your life depends on it. This should not happen to you:

5.Notable Attendees: The Sudhirs. He gave comment about how Ugandans just want to ladder climb undeservingly(This is not a word!). Fagil Mandy, who said youth are physically too weak to prosper. Y'all need to hit the gym! Alot more was said by both but by then my mind had been numbed by most of the audience's submissions and then horrified by let's call it limited knowledge *ignorance* of the moderators.

6.Notable Unattendees(again, not a word just go with it *could have said notably absent but i dont care*): Our very own President, Members of Parliament, of whom 5 are representatives for youth,Not a single member of  the Uganda Parliamentary Forum on Youth Affairs,The state Minister for Youth and Children affairs, Ronald Kibuule. What is wrong with these people? Who voted them?! Why do we pay these people?! Perhaps they live streamed the event on their government bought iPads. We want proof!!!! We want our money!!!!!This is why we can't have nice things. My country needs help.

To Robert Kabushenga, Vision Group CEO, In-spite of the glitches and delays, this was well executed. Well done. For next one, we'd love to have Aliko Dangote.

Longest blog post ever.


Wednesday, August 20, 2014

On Co parenting....

Ola Dolls (I still fancy myself a Kardashian, bear with me),

So my lovely little dragon AKA Aki-Baby AKA Miha AKA my daughter returns to me today after spending a few days with her father. Yep, that's right, we are both full-time parents but for half the time. Ha! See what I did there? No? OK, moving on. She has spent the last week, bonding with him and his family. She stayed a few days with her aunt and her cousin (I see a bestfriendship forming). They are the most adorable lot ever. I tell no lies. See below:

Hasn't your heart melted? They are sooo cute *said in irritating baby voice* She then went on to spend a few days with her paternal grandparents. How you might ask. Well, her father was on this grand tour de paternity with her. He wanted to spend time with her. He'd bought her a bike and wanted to be the one to teach her how to ride it. He also wanted her to spend time with his people. I cannot lie,I have been overwhelmed by the dedication. 

Someone recently asked me how we do it, this 'co-parenting' and I had nothing of substance to tell them. I went to my trustee know it all- Uncle Google and there's so little on the subject. No how-to's, no-one is blogging on the experience, it's all a big blank. There's Dr.Phil, a few classes and workshops here and there but there's really nothing to relate to and especially not in the African context. So how are we doing it? How do two adults who cannot be 'together' but want to be full-time parents to a child they have together achieve this.

Well, I cannot say it has been or is easy. Parenting is difficult even for people who live together. This has been a complete minefield for us. We've learnt a lot and are still learning. But I'd like to share a few titbits for anyone who's having the same challenge. Here goes;

1.Baby comes first: Whatever you do, always always, ALWAYS think of the child first. So you have a 'thing' to go to and it happens to be during the time you are with the child. That 'thing' will be cancelled, unless it's income-generating whereby you can beg the other co-parent to take one for the team and remember to make it up to the child. Also, you will alter your time-schedule for the duration that you have the child. This will be hard but remember, you don't always have them. You can bar-hop next week. For this week, you will go home early, you will cook, play house, you will eat baby food (oats, you guys, OATS!), you will watch cartoons (Not southpark or family guy, think Lion King, Disney, Dora The Explorer). BABY COMES FIRST.

2.Respect the co-parent: It's hard for me as a mother to let my daughter go. Am worried about her even when she's with my own mother, the woman who birthed me. So that worry sky rockets when she's with her other parent. I worry if she's eaten, has she taken the required number of naps? what is she watching on TV? what is she wearing? who's doing her hair? what are they doing? It helps that she has the same nanny in both places but I still worry. In spite of myself, I never call the co-parent to dictate terms and conditions of the stay. We have basic rules that the nanny and everybody knows e.g sleeping time, feeding e.t.c But basically, he's on his own. This is his time, his space. The only way this can be achieved is via respect. Of course we have squabbles here and there and it has taken a lot of time and maturity to get here but we still try as much as possible to keep out of each other's hair. You are a team even if you are not together. Think of it like you would a business venture. You both need this to prosper.

3.Trust the co-parent: This is the hardest. You are both very different individuals. Different core-values, different up-bringing and ergo different parenting styles. For example, am a health nut, we're always eating fruits, raw eggs, vegetable smoothies and whatnot. On the other hand, her dad is a huge fan of junk food so they'll eat that. This rubs me the wrong way but I know he has number 1 (Go back and read it) down so he'll do it in moderation. I, like he have to trust the other party's decision while they have the child. And again, it has taken a lot of time and we are still a work in progress.

4.Create memories: My daughter's first word was mama. But that was a given because she spent the majority of her first year of life by my side. Fast forward to now, she knows her Dad's full name, she can pick him out in pictures, she asks to speak to him regularly on the phone and recognizes his voice. When she's grown, she will remember a childhood with BOTH parents. This is because we both try to be as present as possible when with her. Put that phone down and actually interact with that child. I have a list of firsts with her but so does her father. Am teaching her how to swim, he's teaching her how to ride a bike.

5.Be clear about your intentions: This one is also hard. You have a child together. It is hard to not want to get back together. And all the forces that be (think parents,elders) want you to be together. But there's a reason you are apart. Do not use this experience as a means to sneak your way into your co-parents life. Do not be lurking around. Do not stalk them. Do not start surprise drop-ins/ stop bys. Do not be about that life. If you want to get back together, use other means. Approach them as you would any other person with whom you do not have a child with.

6.Other people: Of course you are seeing other people. Be open about your arrangement. Expect contributions or even support but essentially this is all on you. Refer to numero 2. Respect the co-parent. Applies to the people in your life as well. They cannot speak to the co-parent on your behalf or any of that nonsense, you're the one that had the sex that led to this child,not them. Keep the 2 worlds separate. 

This is by no means exhaustive and I am not an authority on the subject.I am sure we are both going to learn and grow even more the older our child gets. We still have struggles and challenges but so far so good. Baby steps. My child has TWO almost-fully engaged parents and is growing up to be a well adjusted individual. Not the same can be said for many children. WE ARE WINNING! *fist pumps the air*

PS: This is by no means an ideal situation. I'd love for my child to grow up in a 2 parent home. If you can stick it out. Bend over backwards to make it work. Hang in there. HANG IN THERE. But if you must, leave.You are a better parent when emotionally and mentally healthy.

P.P.S:This will only work if you are both reasonable adults. If one of you is psycho, all bets are off and only Jesus can help you.


Monday, August 18, 2014

On India....

I travelled to India recently and I told tales. True tales. Read below;

India. As soon as you get off the flight, the heat slaps you in the face like you owe it something and just as you are starting to adjust to that, a miasma of smoke,dust,refuse and pollution hits you. You think, it surely must only go up from here. It doesn’t. It gets worse but then as you open your mind to the experience, it does get better. So gloriously good you start to consider a move here. India, so rich in culture, so diverse and with an intricate group of people.

My port of arrival was Mumbai, a large metropolitan city. The fifth most populous city in the world, home to over 20 million people who have migrated to the city mainly for commercial purposes. Mumbai is the financial capital of India, home to the Bombay Stock Exchange, the Reserve Bank of India and several other financial institutions. It is also home to the richest man in India with his majestic 27 story home. The city also houses India’s Hindi (Bollywood) and Marathi film and television industry.

Mumbai is an eclectic mix of the glorified old and brilliant new, the stinking poverty coexisting happily with opulent wealth. Every corner has a building that should be declared a UNESCO Heritage site with some being reconstructed and restored and others left just as they are since the colonial masters built them in the Mid18th century.

The Taj Mahal hotel. This majestic plaza was built in 1903 and has been home to notable guests such as The BeatlesJacqueline Kennedy OnassisBill ClintonJacques ChiracThe King & Queen of NorwayThe Duke & Duchess of KentThe Duke of EdinburghThe Prince of WalesRoger MooreJoan CollinsMick JaggerAngelina JolieBrad PittDeep PurpleMichael PalinHillary ClintonBarack ObamaMichelle Obama, and Oprah Winfrey .It suffered a terrorist attack in 2008 where at least 31 people were killed but has been restored to its former glory with its resplendent beauty.  It has beautiful Indo saracenic style architecture and the finesse of the curves and molds will take your breath away. During World War I, the hotel was converted into a 600-bed hospital. The dome of the hotel is made from steel as used in the Eiffel Tower. Jamsedji Tata imported the same steel during that time. The hotel was the first in India to install and operate a steam elevator. The hotel imported American fans, German elevators, Turkish baths and English butlers, for the first time in India .While there don’t forget to check out the massive Gucci store on the ground floor.
The Gateway to India.  This famous port built in 1911 to serve as a landing place for British governors for the then conquered territory of India. The Gateway of India is a major tourist destination and a popular gathering spot for locals, street vendors and photographers.  It is a stately structure reeking of ancient history and tales of arrivals and departures untold. Perfect for a photo op with the beautiful Indian ocean in the background. The only downside to this excursion is the smell. It envelops and overwhelms one’s sense of smell. On a scale of one to Nakivubo, Nakivubo fairs well!
The High Court of Bombay. In the same state as it was when it was constructed in the early 19th century, this imposing building reminds one of a castle; stately and regal. Though starting to show a little wear and tear due to age and pollution but the intricate designs still remain and are a beauty to behold. It is one of the oldest High Courts of India with jurisdiction over the states of Maharashtra and Goa, and, the Union Territories of Daman and Diu and Dadra and Nagar Haveli. The High Court has regional branches at Nagpur and Aurangabad in Maharashtra and Panaji, Goa.
The court is one of the most distinguished high courts in the country. The first Chief Justice, the Attorney General and Solicitor General of Independent India were from this court.
Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (CST), formerly Victoria Terminus (VT:
Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus
Is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and an historic railway station in Mumbai which serves as the headquarters of the Central Railways. Designed by with influences from Victorian Italianate Gothic Revival architecture and traditional Mughal buildings, the station was built in 1887 in the Bori Bunder area of Bombay to commemorate the Golden Jubilee of Queen Victoria. The gothic architecture is reminiscent of the King’s Cross station featured in the Harry Potter movies. This is the busiest railway station in India and the hordes of commuters trekking from all over Mumbai to make it to the station is a sight.
The Bandra-Worli sea-link
India Image 3
The Bandra-Worli sea-link
This is a cable-stayed bridge with pre-stressed concrete-steel viaducts on either side that links Bandra in the Western Suburbs of Mumbai with Worli in South Mumbai. This 6km concrete steel marvel was opened in 2009. Please see this at night, the lights at the bottom of the pillars light it up in a way that is amazing to behold. The sea-link reduces travel time between Bandra and Worli during peak hours from 60–90 minutes to 20–30 minutes.
Take a walk  on Colaba street  and take in the Indian Ocean.
Indulge in a horse carriage ride.
Ride in a rickshaw.
Eat authentic Indian food; Biryani, Tandoori chicken, Naan, Aloo ghoobi.  A visit to India is not complete without partaking of the succulent kebabs sold on the street. The best thing about India is the cheap food. Indulge!
Go to the malls and marvel at the large number of foreign brands. Inorbit Mall is a lovely place to start. Indian have an interesting mall culture. They love their malls with their ubiquitous gaming zones, food courts and multiplexes also in residence. Going to the mall is not simply a shopping activity but is done for leisure. Do not be surprised by the families taking pictures in many of the corners.
If you do not speak any of the local dialects, it is not in your best interests to travel without the company of a native. English may be the official language of this great nation but most people barely understand let alone speak it.
Indian’s are mainly vegetarian but there’s a lot of places that serve chicken and mutton. Forget beef, you will have to search high and low to find it. In the Hindu tradition, the cow is revered and forbidden in the Hindu diet. It is honored, garlanded and given special feedings at festivals all over India.
India is not just a country you visit, it’s an experience you are bound to carry with you for a life time. My biggest lesson from this great country; be steeped in culture but do not be confined by it.

This post originally appeared on the African woman website

Friday, August 1, 2014


Three passions, simple but overwhelmingly strong, have governed my life: the longing for love, the search for knowledge, and unbearable pity for the suffering of mankind. These passions, like great winds, have blown me hither and thither, in a wayward course, over a great ocean of anguish, reaching to the very verge of despair.
I have sought love, first, because it brings ecstasy - ecstasy so great that I would often have sacrificed all the rest of life for a few hours of this joy. I have sought it, next, because it relieves loneliness--that terrible loneliness in which one shivering consciousness looks over the rim of the world into the cold unfathomable lifeless abyss. I have sought it finally, because in the union of love I have seen, in a mystic miniature, the prefiguring vision of the heaven that saints and poets have imagined. This is what I sought, and though it might seem too good for human life, this is what--at last--I have found.
With equal passion I have sought knowledge. I have wished to understand the hearts of men. I have wished to know why the stars shine. And I have tried to apprehend the Pythagorean power by which number holds sway above the flux. A little of this, but not much, I have achieved.
Love and knowledge, so far as they were possible, led upward toward the heavens. But always pity brought me back to earth. Echoes of cries of pain reverberate in my heart. Children in famine, victims tortured by oppressors, helpless old people a burden to their sons, and the whole world of loneliness, poverty, and pain make a mockery of what human life should be. I long to alleviate this evil, but I cannot, and I too suffer.
This has been my life. I have found it worth living, and would gladly live it again if the chance were offered me.

Powerful stuff. 

Cheers dolls.