Heroism

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.

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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.

heros-day-2010ff

*cough cough*

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.

Teachers

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.

my_teacher_my_heroTrue Story!

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.

Parents

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!

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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

Bernard
a.k.a Beewol
The Talkative Rocker
Follow @beewol on Twitter

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Yes to Boarding School!

The boarding school system in Uganda can be likened to a prison system; not so much that children are criminals who need to be locked up but that children are sent away to these institutions and only allowed periodical visits from their loved ones – just like in prisons. This weekend was VD weekend in many boarding schools around the country. In this case, VD does not stand for Venereal Disease, Vaginal Discharge, Virtual DJ, Vampire Diaries or Valentines Days. VD is simply short for visitation day; a day when parents go to see their children in boarding schools. This weekend I went on one such VD and I was met with a wave of nostalgia that swept through me like a virus through an unwilling yet weak host; with ferociousness and bitterness – I really missed boarding school.

I know a number of parents who swear that it will be a cold day in hell before they can take their children to boarding schools. I understand that you may have very good intentions for your child but believe me; you will only see the benefits of boarding school much later in life. However, even before you wait for much later, I shall attempt to offer you some arguments for why you might need to consider shipping off your only child to a far away boarding school where you are only permitted to see them once a month, and only for a few hours. I therefore come before you my friends, urging parents to say Yes to boarding schools.

Freedom at last!

One may wonder why and how freedom is being presented as an advantage in this boarding school debate. What I am referring to here is not freedom for the child; heck, the only freedom a child needs is freedom to choose whether you will use the belt, the slipper or the good old whip on them in case they err. The kind of freedom I am referring to here is freedom for the parent from the child. You see, when children have been shipped off to boarding school, you do not have to worry about little devils running around the house getting hurt, demanding things and generally giving you unexpected heart attacks from the swear words you didn’t think they knew. You have all the freedom in the world to come back home at 2am in the night and not be called an irresponsible parent. You also have the freedom to watch cartoons, be a couch potato and even have a wicked house party because, well, there are no kids to ruin the fun for you.

stock-footage-young-couple-on-couch-with-popcorn-watching-tvYou can have some real quality time with someone the kids may or may not know

Discipline Phobia

Research has shown that over the years, parents have become softer and softer on their children. (Ok I didn’t really do any research but who cares? The assumption is kind of true if you really think about it.) In the past, an ass whooping from your parents was not unexpected; it was almost mandatory. When I was in school, I was quite a model child because I rarely got into trouble and even if I did, I somehow had the perfect excuse. One would therefore imagine that I rarely got an ass whooping. Oh how so wrong! Matter of fact, I feasted so much on ass whoopings from my parents that at some point I thought they had been created by God just to whoop me to shreds! I therefore accepted my fate and set out to be a good boy. Nowadays, a parent lifting a finger let alone handing an ass whooping to their child will have child activists, religious leaders, animal activists, plant activists and whoever else loves children demanding the parent’s blood. To save yourself this burden, ship off the little bastards to boarding school and let the teachers deal with them! Of course the risk you stand here is that you might end up raising a child you barely even know. You might also assume that the teachers are straightening your child yet indeed your child is getting worse, with the peer pressure and all. However, if you are too scared to hand your child an ass whooping, you may as well ship them off to boarding school so they can be knocked into shape by the tough life away from the safe comfort of home.

FRENCH-LEATHER-BELT-copyThe weapon of choice for many parents from the good old days

Expenditure… What Expenditure?

Naturally when your children are around, your expenses will go through the roof. The phone bill will sky rocket, the water bill will explode, the electricity bill will weigh you down and the food bill will just suffocate you. Take the children out of the equation and you can live on bread and water, fast a few days, sleep hungry on some days and even crush at a friend’s place every once in a while. With your children safely locked away in boarding school, you are under no obligation to stock the fridge or the kitchen cabinet. As long as you have fully paid up their tuition, you need not worry about the little devils creeping up on you every day with fresh demands. You see, children never run out of things they want. And with the law nowadays encouraging children to demand for their rights, one can only wonder if there is a limit to the things they will ask for. Give your wallet a much needed break and bundle the little fellas off to boarding school.

fridgeWith the children gone, an empty fridge is not so life threatening

Life’s Lessons & Experiences

There are lessons and experiences that children can only learn and go through while in boarding school. The drama that comes with the days leading up to visitation day can only be found in a boarding school. The excitement and euphoria that sweeps through the entire school on the last day of the school term is second to none. The pleasure of receiving a letter from a person of the opposite sex in another school is just immeasurable. The team work that is put into hurling insults and profanities from one end of the dorm to another is just legendary. And above all, the planning that goes into trying to escape from school to go and have a little fun can only be pulled off by CIA operatives. Let’s just say that if your child has not been to boarding school they are probably going to miss out on so many lessons in life. True, they will be up-to-date in terms of all the Agataliko Nfuufu stories and the latest soaps on TV but overall, they will miss out on several otherwise precious lessons that life has to offer.

All you parents who are not so keen on boarding school, I shall leave you with this week’s quote …

“Don’t handicap your children by making their lives easy.” ― Robert A. Heinlein

Bernard

a.k.a Beewol

The Talkative Rocker

Follow @beewol on Twitter