If people really knew what a hustle can be. A real-life hustle on the streets; no job, no ‘connected relatives’, no cents for a meal but just you against the odds then they wouldn’t be laughing at this picture. Waking up to go out and hope lady luck shines on you that day. Living each day as it comes. Survival!
This photo was posted on Facebook where people found a lot of amusement in it & cracked all sorts of jokes about it. I don’t know whether it’s his fault to end up like this (hopefully not) but I think the people who laughed at this boy wherever they are, are living too lit a life, they don’t know what the hustle part of life really feels like. The dude doesn’t look like he was living a life on the beach, does he?
When you can’t even afford to find a building to get into to hide from the rain, can’t afford a car to board so that by the time it reaches your destination, it’s stopped raining nor do you have a relative or even a friend with an office where you can casually stroll in to shelter from the rain. You can’t just enter a Kampala restaurant & sit without ordering a soda because then, your transport money will be gone. Imagine walking home on mud-filled roads, cold bitten. That kind of situation where your last resort is to drop all your swag & prop yourself up a phone booth to shelter from the rain.
That is a real hustle life and people who found amusement in this picture, may God give them all they desire because I am not sure what they would do to their lives if tables turned.
The hustle is real out here in case y’all ain’t opened your eyes wide enough to see it you privileged homo sapiens. Such situations are things we don’t laugh about it. Periodt.
Finally closing off this year’s Afrobloggers winterabc2021 with a fictitious story inspired by true events. It’s been a wonderful but challenging ride discovering wonderful writers, learning from so many people, and enjoying my time all the while. As I bow out today, I am leaving you a story of how I felt when I had my heartbroken.
Like a defeated lion, like a stalking shadow, he walked on the dimly lit streets. His head hunched into the upturned collar of the coat that donned him. He was not like its owner. It is like it wore him. Dr. Strange. He bent forward and forged his way into the wind that was blowing hard on him. Hurricane. It was all chills around him. But strangely, the cold came from the center of his heart. The organ that led to the pain that he was in right now. People around him though lived in a different world. They seemed at ease. Like they were enjoying the weather. Lovers walked by hand in hand. He occasionally stopped to look. To look at the bodies of lovers that were happily walking by. Hand in hand, dancing, leaning against walls, embracing in dark corners or walking so close to each other they nearly dissolved into one body. He was swelled with envy, anger, pain. Hate. He was saddened. His heart had turned black and blue. Unpleasant. His eyes welled and reddened & occasionally sniffled back a tear. The shades he wore across them hid all that he did not want people to see. They swelled with tears. It was evident that he was troubled. Anyone could see it. He was like a beaten-up silhouette of a man who once loved. He looked like a man who had been there before. But just like the wind, it seemed to all have blown away. Vapor.
This was a man who in a few years past was in the best relationship that had ever happened to him. It was all he lived for. He breathed for. This relationship was…was his life. And like the end of life, it was dead now.
There were numerous questions in his mind right now. It had turned into a buffet cooking pot of thoughts. It was a war zone in there. He could not believe in reality. But unfortunately, this was it. The lonely reality.
He could not believe all the things that his mind kept playing back from his memory. Like a reel, the scenes occasionally came playing again & again. Stuck on replay. The questions that he kept asking himself were harder than any test paper he had ever sat. But when did love questions ever been any easier anyway? Across the street, he saw a guy kissing his girl goodbye & as he was walking past a building step, a young couple sat on the higher steps talking animatedly judging from the gestures the guy’s hands were making in the air. She was laughing hysterically. It was then that he asked himself;
What exactly had gone wrong? Where did he really go wrong? He thought he had it all but then what? How haven’t they been through it all? And a clean sheet he kept. Always coming straight to her every day without tripping anywhere else. How haven’t they been there for each other? It was like a real marriage minus the rings or vows to it. But it all seemed it was not enough to make everlasting memories?
She had elevated him. Made him float up there. Walking on clouds. Flying on the wings of love. But then condemned him, all of a sudden. Just like that. Pontius Pilate.
Was it the price he was paying for loving her with the whole of his life? For making her the fore center of his being, hopes & dreams?
Oh how he loved her. Oh how he breathed & lived her. How he wanted & needed her.
Why? That was the question. Why would she have to punish him like this? Why?
Up to this point, he still got breakdown moments. He, like Jesus, wept. Cried. Like a baby, he soaked his bed in tears. He hated himself. He hated so many things. It was the most inhumane thing he had ever experienced. But that’s the decision the lady had made & he had to count his losses.
He now understood why we meet people that are so broken they can hardly love. It’s because of moments like this. The burden that was put on an innocent soul that we meet after. How could she fall back on all the things she has always warned him about? Don’t fall back to your ex, don’t fall out of love with me quickly, you seem like you’ll wake up one day & leave me, you don’t love me enough. Why?
But now he was sorry. Sorry for not loving her enough to make her stay. For being jealous for something that he wanted. Her. The thought of another guy doing things to her that he used to. The pain that came with just thinking of that made him shiver. He thought he could be around for a time hoping that she may change her mind. That’s true love right there. For he loved her with the whole of his life & heart & cried a very long time for her absence for she had given him two years of the best his life has ever had & it was this year that he was even to love her more. Now he had to live with the loss every second of every minute of every hour of every day of every week of every month of this year.
She said that she had gone where she was happier. He remembered when they danced on the city streets. When they sat on building steps and jazzed. Held hands as they were walking & kissed under the street lights or when they broke public rules & got caught up in a city mall mess. He remembered her birthday when the deejay screamed out her name over the music, when they sneaked up an incomplete building & made love low key. The times they made 50 shades level of love. With music in the background & how they moved their bodies to the beat. Oh the sweat & the heat. The PDA at rolex stalls. Beating their own eggs & cutting up their own cabbages. The fried eggs. Sausages. The movie nights? Do they now enjoy them like we did? Cuddling while the film rolled? Laughing at the actor’s jokes (Oh no, they’re beating him with sausages) & play rewind? Trying to hide tears when the sad parts come on. How he hated The Thundermans. The little unannounced gifts for being the great girlfriend that he knew there was. Maybe the cuddling is sweet. No lights but just the two of them. At peace in the dark. Talking about anything. Talking about their ex’s. Oh shit! Ex’s? He wondered whether he was now a part of their conversations. He wondered what she was telling the new guy about him. That he used to make her happy? Made her dance & dub him too? That he used to calm her thoughts when she was troubled? Or she is telling him of his weaknesses? That he had ugly night shirts? Whether she now had a fav new music genre. Away from EDM. Whether he complimented her of how nice & hot she looked in or out of them clothes? Cuddling from behind in front of the mirror? Embracing tightly & dancing in the living space when they were getting back from a fight?
Does he spank her ass too? Like he used to like it or maybe she’s also started spanking his too & he tries to jump away from it & tell her “They don’t spank guys’ butts” Nope. They don’t honey.” While wriggling the ka finger. Whether they also make aside jokes at people? Quoting them & acting them out in their free time like, “hmm, I love cake.” The love letters. Oh my. Does he love writing too? So now she has another little box where she keeps them with love & reads them once in a while or she’s already tossed away his from the little box & replaced them? Door mail? Do they have initials now? Has he met her family already? Do they find him charming?
Losing her, he lost the most valuable thing/ person in his life. When they broke up, he wanted to do all the crazy things people in that situation usually do. Things he’s always warned others about. He sprinkled water over his face when entering the house to not notice the tears in his eyes. He started walking with shades everywhere for that same reason. He cried so much his eyes shrunk in & hurt. At one point through all this blinding pain, he thought that maybe life should end & as he stepped into the road to cross to the other side, he did not see the car that was turning the corner & reaching mid-way into the street, he felt a heavy force goring into his ribs & felt his body hoisted into the air. By the time he woke up, he was staring at a bleeding, lifeless shell of a man on the tarmac. People were gathering around it and in a few moments, a bright light showed up from above. Surprisingly, he was the only one that could see it. Bodies in white came to him & together, started on a journey to heaven. He was finally free of earthly pain.
The harsh reality of life that is affecting African countries is despicable. We have a very large youthful generation that is uncertain of their future. Job scarcity, poor service delivery & resource distribution all mainly escalated by our poor African leaders. This has forced many youths to look to the vibrant Middle East as their only savior. Without putting much emphasis on what one studied or is skilled at, the youths are willing to do any job available to make ends meet & secure their future. Jobs like security, cleaners, supermarket attendants, maids amongst others.
However, there is a common factor amongst these people; many of them who return from the Middle East tend to face it rough as time goes by. Here is what I think are the reasons why;
Poor financial management knowledge and skills. – Many of them do make the money, yes, but there’s the aspect of doing what with it. A scenario; One can make say; 60 million. Maybe buys a house or starts a shop when they return. For the one with a house, they may lack knowledge to start a business with the remaining money so they pimp their house & sit back like as if in retirement. They eat the money either through acquisition of anything their mind desires or by hitting one luxury spot to the other till it all burns out & they have no option but to go back to make more. The one with a shop; some people think that when they make the money, running a business comes easy. Damn. So they’ll pimp the shop & sit in it. Poor financial management skills will see the shop selling stock but not restocking because they don’t know how to juggle the thing. Then they’ll say, ‘bandoga’ (they’re bewitching me). Poor Africans.
Poor skills and academic qualifications – Because they’re doing odd jobs, they can’t fit back into the corporate job sector because first; their jobs abroad can’t equate to something substantial in a corporate office setting. It’s hard to have been doing security the other side to come back & be hired for a PR job. Two; The house maid document can’t get one into the head of corporate banking sector this side mainly because, with being out of touch with the current dynamics of the corporate sector, one lacks current accompanying academic documents for whatever job one wants to be hired for.
Others are detached from friends and family. – Bakukutta nga bagenda (They’re usually hideous when going abroad) so when they come back, they hardly have anyone who can help them navigate around probably because they think everyone will want a piece of their money (which is largely true anyway). Because they ‘sneaked out’ without telling nobody, when they come back, some people who would help them settle & manage a life would care less. If you didn’t tell me when you was flying out, why do you need me when you’re back? In Africa, once people know you have money, then they’ll make manifest their financial problems. So, upon your return, that’s when they’ll tell you of how the village home is leaking, needs painting, people will expect you to contribute millions for their events, that’s when your buddies will point you to the latest hangouts etc. They can’t settle till they’re sure you’ve burned out.
Faced with any of the above issues, the person will usually remain with one option; to fly back to kyeyo (odd job) so that they can sustain whatever they started otherwise many of them end up depressed as they watch their fortunes decline.
Gender-Based Violence. We have created a hopeless situation by mistreating people majorly according to their sex/ gender, socially, emotionally, physically, and psychologically.
The 2016 Uganda Demographic and Health Survey revealed that up to 22% of women aged 15 to 49 in the country had experienced some form of sexual violence. The report also revealed that 13% of women aged 15 to 49 report experiencing sexual violence annually. This translates to more than 1 million women exposed to sexual violence every year in Uganda. Combating gender-based violence is not something that one person could only do but as a pool of different entities because of its hydra-like embedment in society. you deal with one then the other keeps rearing its head. However, below, simplistically put are some of the ways we could combat GBV.
1. Teach humanity values in schools. Right from the onset, children should be taught the values of humanity. The importance of one another regardless of skin, sex, tribe, or gender. It could easily be taught in schools because some of the homes from where these children come are run by people who never got the chance to be made aware of these issues and still practice them as normal but if we invest in the younger generation, we are sure they will pass this knowledge and awareness to generations and generations.
2. Strengthen education/ social awareness. Relatedly, Education systems should be woven around eliminating gender norms and practices through plays, classroom sitting arrangements, activity allocations, education material genderisations like stories & colors among others. Through this, children would develop without attaching gender stereotypes on the different objects, stories like associating colour pink to girls, toy cars to boys etc.
3. Strengthen gender ministries and how they could foster the eradication of gender stereotypes in the public. This could be done through partnering with the different gender departments within the ministries to organize conferences, seminars, and other activities where they could reach out to the public and tell them of the different gender biases in society and how to fight them. They could also be used to reach out to the different government departments and teach them about gender and how it is a disease in society and ways of eradicating it so that these departments could be aware and try as hard in eliminating it when designing their projects.
4. Strengthen social inclusion projects especially for the women or groups facing gender inequalities in the respective spaces where they are participating especially in activities that further support their freedom of expression and social wellbeing.
5. Enforce the use of law and the justice systems so that when people bring these cases to light, they are strongly and immediately responded to and the corresponding punishments are felt worthy. So many vices stay around due to the justice system’s failure to remit the right punishments thus not offering grave convictions that perpetrators would fear facing as according to their crimes.
In conclusion, therefore, gender-based violence is a vice that we could uproot if we all come as one because of the way it is woven into the different tiers and systems of society. We need the efforts of individuals, families, institutions, communities, states & transnational blocks to triumph over this demeaning behavior.
Day 6 here and I about the body-shaming character of our society.
She was a young, small, beautiful girl. Very happy in her petit form. Everyone called her a model. She flaunted and celebrated life in her slimness. To the nursery school, she went, fat people were bullied. All sorts of names were thrown at them. Pigs, gluttons, fatso et al. the clothes were even cheap and easy to find by her mother. She was the flower girl and maid to so many events. She played an angel in her school plays.
But then she joined a mixed high school and the scale tilted. The boys in her school had differing tastes. Some fancied those abundantly endowed at certain parts of their bodies and those that are her size. Slim. What they called figure one. The former, figure eight, hour glass and so forth. It was so many a guy’s dream, to have the flyiest girl in school. The one with the biggest assets or the most curling curves. A many African guy’s definition of a sexy woman and many a time associated with being gashing or squirty. If you know what I mean. Competition to be noticed was always stiff. Your beauty, attitude and skills had to stand for you. Your body, that one automatically spoke for itself.
From high school, she went to higher institutions of learning which is just as well the entrance to adulthood and it just got worse. From girls in her class to adverts and social media, the girls with curves were always celebrated. They got the most whistlers from men in the club, on the streets, even lecturers themselves. Girls in so many music videos were those with the body, the lyrics glorified them. It felt like abandonment. Everywhere, they were given the first choices. And because they were the target of most men, they were the ones with the coolest clothes, latest phones and trends.
The body shape field had tilted immensely now. Her skinniness was now being questioned. It was at worst moments attributed to strange diseases. Stereotypes always came up. That small girls had HIV/AIDS, were sicklers and many others while the big girls were always thought to be healthy. That, “how one could be having a disease yet still maintain that look? Shaa. Impossible” and the guys went in. It was devastating.
And then came the money makers. The business men who had seen this trend and brought on to the market creams, body pads, operations and pills for women to enhance their bodies did not help the matter in any way. In fact, they made it worse. The field turned desperate. Many more and more females went for these and soon, the smallest of the girls were getting bigger and were reaping the ‘benefits’. More men and sexual advances with the offers they brought with the demands. The bonuses that came with having booty changed a lot of a girl’s life.
The small ones felt left out. Those who could not afford these felt the world had turned against them. The big booty girls were running the show. With the way they flaunted their curves, the way they dressed, the way they slayed it on social media and the media offers they got to feature in so many media ads. The men adored them, they worshiped the booty. Those who held influence in offices had places offered to the juicy ones. It was that bad. The field could no longer accommodate the small ones. It was a social annihilation. And then the white man has made Samantha the sex doll and it is the same noticeable thing about it. The booty is voluptuous.
But I only wish they knew that not all men are after the booty but the beauty. Maybe the inner beauty and that actually everyone has someone who loves them the way they are. I hope our society corrects that. Everyone deserves to be loved the way they appear. Men should also know this.