The seven hills

a view of nairobi form community hill. net image

The beautiful picture above is of Nairobi city. The angle it was taken from is atop community hill and the photographer is none other than the inimitable Mutua Matheka. I know community hill because i lived in Nairobi for a while(i grew up there) and there is the Kenya National Library which i frequently went to. Very well-stocked library. I am writing this in fiery reaction to a story i have just read online about the “top intelligent cities” awards. It is essentially about cities that have continually adopted to changing technological, social-economic and business environments and innovated in this new era, using different strategies to cope and adopt- i mean actually thrive. Well, now i am back home and living in my capital city; Kampala which at this time of year is very hot and everyone is perspiring and the smart ones hydrate themselves often.

What i miss about Nairobi is the road network. The connectivity and ease of movement from point to point. It is very convenient to move about in Nairobi. You can go from east to west, north to south without passing through the CBD. Over the years, there have been intensive capital investments in the Kenya’s real estate industry and to see what i am talking about, just visit the suburbs such as West lands. The Kenyan governments from past eras have encouraged this development of roads infrastructure to see to it that it helps improve transportation to and from hotels to airports. This emphasis was meant to ease the movement of Kenya’s formely numerous tourists. Thanks to Al-Shabbab, that, sadly; is no more.

Nairobi was very well-laid out from the very beginning. Contrasted with Kampala, whatever they ever laid out has survived through periodic maintenance and upkeep. We in Kampala suffered the travails of war and political instability and the tanks rolled in the country and through Kampala, guns blowing holes in the buildings.

President Museveni came to power in 1986 and found a war-torn, emptied Kampala. Soldiers and rebels had been living in the hotels which were mostly shattered.  During the 90s, i went for school holidays and was dismayed at what i saw. Gaping holes in the sides of buildings and a warren of paths through a local second-hand cloth and agricultural produce market where most of those who sold decent bedsheets/bed covers were Makerere graduates. I could not understand this. Well, it was because there was very little office space then. There was a miniscule bureaucracy and so there were no jobs for all who streamed out of universities. The culture of ‘magendo’ or dealing in buying and selling of industrial products, cloths, small hardware, things like bar soaps, sugar sacks, confectionary, cloth, etc took root during this time. People did it this way to survive. There was almost no existing industries in Uganda then, all our industrial needs were met by Kenyan imports. Especially medical and household supplies.

I did not set out to compare two cities but the fact i want to point out that Nairobi won the spot for “most intelligent city” in Africa not by default. Kenyans have always embraced change positively, both political change and social and economic change. They are supportive of government programs that promote local investment. They are not all supportive but the supportive ones are those who matter. We in Kampala, with our natural resources-green countryside, abundant water resources and plenty of a wide variety of foods, exotic wildlife and beautiful hills, the good topography as well, Kampala could look very good if only we had enough capital to build a modern grid of roads and clear away the garbage. Perhaps if we streamlined the rate of graduates spilling out of our institutions of higher learning with meaningful job creation(someone actually working the job they trained for rather than merely rotting away selling chinese-made phones) we could grow our intellectual capital-people development whereby they contribute to social change. The business of development cannot be left to the few who hold real jobs. They are so very few.

Nairobi sped away while we were busy opposing different regimes in the name of the tribe and ethnicity- in the bush and elsewhere. After the war, government worked very hard disarming militants and clearing the country of weaponry. As a result of years of turbulence and lots of youths that had terminated their studies, a ‘kibanda’ or get-out-of-my-way-let-me-do-my-thing culture and way of thinking took root after the war. Those who survived the AIDS scourge and managed to prosper through the succeeding years are now self-made business men swaggering  around or schmoozing with moneyed people, always talking about riches and wealth. To them, nothing else matters.

We therefore let in through our doors this element of small local business way of personal progress where everyone is on their own, ‘making their own money’, numerous small personal projects many of which fail or crush shortly after take off. Our eyes are not elevated toward the national horizons where they should be. To put it mildly, i think we lack a common struggle but many of us have not realized that yet. Happy new year to everybody!

In Praise of Decay (and Against Plastic)

bkatende:

this is a pivotal issue as regards the resources in our seas and that needs to be addressed critically.

Originally posted on Malcolm Guite:

In pale gold leaf-fall losing shape and edge In pale gold leaf-fall losing shape and edge

I walk each morning in some woodland near my home and especially savour in this late autumn, early winter season, the damp carpet of fallen leaves, now decaying and forming  rich mulch that will feed the soil for future growth. Even in their decay, losing edge and shape, melding and blending together there is in this carpet of leaves, a kind of grace and beauty. The other morning though, these meditations were interrupted by a sudden intrusion. There amongst the gold and mottled leaf mould, like some harsh alien excrescence, was a discarded plastic bag. It was totally out of place and told its own tale of indifference and carelessness; not just the carelessness of the person that dropped it, but the carelessness of the culture that produced it. The trees shed their leaves, and in that fall and letting go  achieve…

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Digitalis

my love

there are no tears to express the pain

i feel.. great

committed to the one and no other

you are

ELIXIR.

being with you makes me feel i’ve been to other worlds

you are soooo cool i wish they’d made a miniature of you i swear!

do gods have a plan?

Digitalis

i dislike pretensions-

-if i meet you at a party we’ll brawl for the mike

i will sing for you RAINBOW-gene chandler

nice

old gold

smoky.

electricbluE

old copies of modelling magazines

a full page shot of mademoiselle

twirling with her glass of champagne

in hand

huh.

you ask how i feel, huh?

BulletProof soul

Angel

that’s how

that other song the impossible dream

Tevin campbell.

digitalis

you are welcome

“i never dreamed you’d leave in summer”-stevie W.

lets here jerome chandler’s version

soul sister. 2004. Sacramento, ca. Bilal

neo-soul

rAphael saddiq-instant vintage

a true jewel

come back…toni braxton!

we’ll build a palace

in memory of you

“guess without you, my little life was nothing…”

truth  Mrs J.

 

 

Imago

 

It feels good to be back. It’s been days, weeks months into this. I haven’t had the greatest of times in between but i am happy to be back to wordpress.  I had plenty of meaningful  exchanges with different people whereby i got away with precious nuggets of information to which i have augmented what i already knew. Being products of our environments,  i am happy to say i feel  enhanced by this experience so what you see on here is partly the result of being thus inspired. It is often the case the good is to be more desired than the rot. But being at once also human, i have  had prolonged, fruitless arguments with people and learnt to avoid impending disaster by abridging conversation. By saying what needs to be heard. I have tugged at my mustache and sighed inaudibly and it ended there.

It is right to acknowledge the difficulty of ending some conversations when there are many divergent views.  One may have wanted to put in one last word to highlight their point.  Should the same person always prevail in a discussion? How much does it matter to them? If i initiated the conversation, i ought to steer it in the right direction and have the good grace; as well, to bring it to a discernible point of conclusion. They say communication is many things so if you feel so bad about shutting up, get yourself a pack of cards, find a playmate. Win a few games and everyone keeps breathing. Wanna be the only pet in the house? I don’t think so. I am a cat and i like to be stroked even though i have a lot of independence and i can find amusing things to do with myself. Cats know that well. If you lock a cat in the house, it won’t back.

There is something oppressively stifling about any four walls so get out more and look for fun in other ways, take in some air. I have thundered and blundered into things, ignoring the proffered door. I lived to regret it. Now i just want to slow things down a little. I suppose there is nothing wrong with that. There  is the rest of life to live and a  lot to see. Take charge. Be the one, just don’t cringe at the thought of giving way. God bless you.

The Blip

bike

It’s an empty

scratched bottle of pop

idling by the back street

waiting for life’s unscrupulous hand

to scoop it up,

whisk it off to the recyclers

like moldy spider web

clutching disused newspapers

it will patiently stay put,

like a page

carrying on it’s romance with the dust

rather than fuel a callous fire

or worse still,

flee from some frantic sailor looking for love

get torn to bits by the irked waves

ending up on a beach

frail beneath the shingle

lying in limbo

deaf to the roaring sea

the swooping gulls

the majesty of it all

 

 

The next flight

apple1

Apple motif. Net image

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

while they waited

they did little things

like bit into their sandwiches

coming home,

they’d thought not of war or famine

they’d remembered mosquitoes and gnats

so they’d bought insect repellant

they’d heard about bwindi impenetrable forest

and the great apes that live high up in the mountains

coming home

they’d remembered oddities

such as the intimacy shared by perfect strangers

having a drink

under low-roofed

dimly-lit

tight little spaces

in the midst of a steady tropical storm

A little bio and 10 facts about me.

Image

I am Ugandan, mid-thirties, single and self-employed. I love books and everything about reading. I have started developing interest in how the media works and have consequently began to understand how to tell the difference between fact and fiction.

The facts:

1. I don’t like bullshit and those who lie.

2. When i need help, i ask for it in the most basic way.

3. I am the type that must get it right or it won’t work.

4. I am living in a time warp right now and i don’t give a ….

5. I have started hating the taste of alcohol and the smell of cigarettes.

6. I am learning to let go of the past by embracing the present.

7. I am my brother’s keeper.

8. Life is a little more promising for those who consider possibilities.

9. The best experience is a personal journey.

10. Warring dinosaurs hid themselves behind mountains.