Around this time every year, Ugandans are treated to what many like to call a public holiday. It is a public holiday because most people do not go to work and those who go to work have the luxury of working half day or wearing shorts to the office. They can even gossip all day at the office because the boss will probably be somewhere attending a Government occasion. Also, on this day, one can be sure that bars and hang out joints will be packed – not because people really have much to celebrate but because we are Ugandans – we are not going to let a public holiday pass us by un-celebrated.
A Public holiday in Uganda means one thing …
According to the Ugandan Calendar, 9th June is a day that marks Heroes Day – a day whose purpose seems to be an issue of discussion and contention. Some people feel like on this day we ought to remember our fallen soldiers and comrades from the various fields of life including health, education, civil service, governance, finance and so on and so forth. Others feel like this is when the president must remind us about the sacrifices he made along with his twenty-something associates. Some others feel like this is the day when the opposition can become relevant by ridiculing every name the president forwards as a chosen hero. Let’s just say that this is a day that garners quite a lot of debate.
Whatever reason one has to celebrate (or utterly ignore) this day, it is safe to say that the calendar does not mark it in red ink for nothing. I therefore took some time to look around me and come up with a formidable list of people I think deserve the title of hero. They may not have wings, status, recognition or money but they sure deserve to be on my list of heroes. And yes – the list is actually endless but I decided to pick 3 special individuals to give a round of applause.
For reasons that should be obvious but somehow seem unclear, teachers make it to this list without question. When I look back at my days in school, it is with fondness that I recall Auntie Jolding in my Kindergatten School at Makerere, Mr. Sengendo at Bat Valley Primary School, Mr. Kateregga at Jinja College as well as Mr. Onyango at Gombe S.S. I have been molded by these and other former teachers into the sane and thoughtful person that I am. If I display any kind of madness, confusion or craziness, it is only because of my own personal failures and stubbornness. These people may have thrashed me more times than I can remember, they may have made me want to spill hot boiling water on their chests because of setting abnormally hard exams but I am thankful that they made me who I am today. Any good attributes that I have, I owe to my teachers. There is no doubt that they will forever be heroes in my life.
Musisi – Not the one of KCCA
When I mention the name Musisi, it is likely a number of eyebrows will be raised. Many will raise their eyebrows because they think I am starting up some Lukwago vs Musisi bout – far from it. The Musisi I am referring to here is my boda boda guy. This guy makes it to this list despite the fact that it is likely he will not even read this blog. I add him to this list because he has been my savior more times than I can remember. On a number of occasions Musisi has picked me from strange places and dropped me off at strange places without even batting an eyelid. This guy never asks me for money when he drops me because he knows that if I have it, he does not need to ask for it. I pay him what I think he deserves which is hard because most times I end up giving him more than I would give anyone else. When I am lazing around at my muzigo and I have a few errands to run, Musisi is the guy I call upon. I don’t care that he knows close to nothing about policy making or governance. He was certainly not among the NRM liberators, neither is he on any list of national heroes – this guy is still my hero.
Mr. and Mrs. Olupot
As cliché as this may sound, my parents are the most awesome people in the world and for this, they are on this list. Being the awesome person that I am (everyone deserves a moment of vanity), it is quite easy for me to recognize awesomeness. If my parents were total strangers to me, I’d probably still want to associate with them somehow. You see, my dad is one of the most resolute and strict individuals I have ever met. He is a no-nonsense dad who will stop at nothing to make sure his children get what they need. He has on numerous occasions sacrificed several personal pleasures just so his family can have a better life. My mother on the other hands is the calmest, most level headed and most compassionate person I know – after Jesus Christ, who I have never met but somehow I believe exists. This woman has been and still is the pillar and glue of the entire family. How she does this with a bunch of stubborn, no-good, noisy and unstable kids tagging at her all the time, I have no idea. I have been far from a model son and I have disappointed them a number of times but how they always receive me with open arms still baffles me. I fear one day they might run out of patience and probably sell me off to travelers from the East. So far though, they boldly claim me as theirs and I do the same – I gladly claim them as mine. They are my heroes.
L-R – The Awesome one, the Mother, the father, the Brother
Usually when writing down a list of heroes, it almost comes naturally that the list is endless and yes – mine is endless too. I’ve got my siblings on it because, well, they seem to know how to make me smile. My team mates at 40 Days Over 40 Smiles Foundation are heroes because, well, according to Fred Rogers, anyone who does anything to help a child in his life is a hero. I’ve got 1 or 2 colleagues because they are not just colleagues but really good friends and of course I have a bunch of friends. If I started mentioning names, I would probably receive hate mail, death threats and nasty text messages because I just cannot name all my friends. However, all the friends I have met over the years (even those who owe me and who I owe), I treasure and value as real heroes. They have taught me lessons about how to avoid going behind bars, how to survive on the littlest amount of money, how to get over heartbreak, how to survive this harsh economy and basically how to stay alive. It goes without saying that anyone who reads this blog is a hero. Sparing your data and time to read over 1000 words is no simple task. You are all heroes!
You are my Hero!
Happy Heroes Day everyone!
“My own heroes are the dreamers, those men and women who tried to make the world a better place than when they found it, whether in small ways or great ones. Some succeeded, some failed, most had mixed results… but it is the effort that’s heroic, as I see it. Win or lose, I admire those who fight the good fight.” ― George R.R. Martin
The Talkative Rocker
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