Thursday, 23 March 2017

The Diaries of OJ: The Queen of Hearts:

The Diaries of OJ: The Queen of Hearts:: “Nobody can misunderstand a boy like his mother” - Norman Douglas  I could hear her call out my name. From the tone of her voice, I...

The Queen of Hearts:

“Nobody can misunderstand a boy like his mother” - Norman Douglas 

I could hear her call out my name. From the tone of her voice, I knew what that meant. I was in trouble.

Every school day I had to have a compulsory afternoon siesta, on returning home. Only this time, after failing to resist the urge to play, had sneaked passed her bedroom, ran down the stairs and out to the compound. As misfortune would have it that day, she had woken up earlier.

Or was it me who misunderstood her?

Such would lead to only one of the so many cherished skirmishes I had with her as a kid. That was so many years ago. 

Today as fate would have it, she has been bed ridden for more than a year. She is slowly recovering from a stroke majorly caused by diabetes. What doesn’t alter about her is the eye and voice.

Every single day I pray for her recovery. We, like childhood partners, have shared quite a lot. We have been bond by the rich memories that span an entire life time, dotted with stints of both happiness and tears.

For her personalities were defined by the divine predestined path which none of us could influence.

She is as tender as she is strong.

I have seen her rise up after a fall.

A tough rock which has cushioned my tumbles.

And at times when I was up with myself, as a kid, one good stare from her would sort me out.

This time being the strong woman she is, I am sure she will recuperate.

I have thanked the Lord for giving me the best mother there could be.

I remember the first time I saw her black and white photo.

She was still a student.

I held my breath. There she was with no makeup. With a hot combed puff of black hair.

She looked so beautiful.

Haaa …. I don’t think many people would have passed her by without noticing. 

Just like any kid, going to school was a love-hate affair. However the day I loved most in school was a Friday. On Friday, the lower school would close at lunch time.

After the mid-day parade, we would foot through the golf course, then Kitante and finally reach Kamwokya.

It was child’s delight.

We cherished it because on our way home, we collected empty ink bottles and used them to collect tadpoles from the flowing stream.  We played the whole afternoon and reached home well after 5 pm.

I knew that she was aware of our tours but she never mentioned a word. Didn’t she care? I always asked myself

Or was it I who misunderstood her?

The Transient Ischematic Attack (TIA) hit her in January 2015. This had been caused by the fatal combination of stress and diabetes. At the time we did not know what it was. Then the major stroke hit her in August 2015. Her doctor then told us the recovery could last one year. True to his word it is now one year and seven months. She is on her slow path to recovery.

Precisely 27 years ago she became a widow.

The opulent lifestyle she had vanished in a heartbeat.

For a while she was lost. I could see.

Then slowly but surely she recovered.

She sacrificed a lot to feed her children and get us through school.

I saw her transform from a domestic house wife to a smart working woman

and then …. a fighter.

I saw her buy her first bungalow and mark her territory.

The rest is history. Shew! ….. what can I say?

At times I pondered at what probably went wrong.

What is it that should have been done differently or better?

What should have never been done in the first place?

With all this withstanding, my mother surely remains my “Queen of Hearts” 

Not the brusque queen in Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland but the woman I first fell in love with.
Because of her experience, I have resolved to watch my lifestyle.

Last January I tried to reduce my sugar intake but only relapsed after six months.

A miserable fail.

Being a blood group O, I should watch what I eat even more closely.

Avoid caffeine, alcohol, tobacco, dairy products

Reduce or even do away with the intake of sugar and eat more fruits.

I can go on and on.

This is what I really like each person reading this to reflect on.

There is an affection words cannot express.

It is boundless and limitless.

It is so pure and full.

It vanquishes all the trials that have been overcome.

And yet it binds us together.

At times I see it when her eyes light up when she sees me.

An affection I only hear in her voice when she speaks.

It is the loud silence we share during her evening walks. Physiotherapy sessions.

During which walks we almost never talk.
And she will always be my “Queen of Hearts”  

Wednesday, 8 March 2017

A quest for fitness

After what seemed like an eternity, an invitation to take part in the walk finally came through. True, I had taken some time without working out. This was an opportunity I would not miss. I had miserably failed to schedule an appropriate slot for this.  Up to now I can neither pin it on my attitude nor hectic schedule. But I get more convinced that it could have been a combination of both.
A group of friends, out of a need to socialize, came up with an idea of meeting up once in a while. For old times’ sake to reminisce about our school days and link up with one another. The idea came in mid-week and a few of us at least intended to participate.
We planned to walk the first section, from Busega  to Kajjansi along the Kampala - Entebbe Expressway. Actually one of us had developed a habit of riding this route alone. The Kampala – Entebbe Expressway, is a new four - lane dual carriage express way under construction by China Communication Construction Company (CCCC). It starts from Busega through to Akright City Kajjansi and Abayita Ababiri. Construction was commissioned in 2012 and is still work in progress.

Kampala-Entebbe Expressway highlited in blue 

So I prepared for the walk earlier on in the week. I opted for the lighter shorts other than the slacks because I wanted my body to sweat and breath. My daughter got wind of the walk and had expressed kin interest. I later decided against taking her along because I was not sure if she could cope with the brisk walk of the team.
On that day, as my family enjoyed the morning sleep, I left home at 6 am to rendevour with the team at Shell Busega. This is where the six of us parked our vehicles and set off at precisely 7 am. The actual distance to the Kajjansi interchange, we later came to learn, was precisely 13 km.
The Expressway, being still under construction, did not have a lot of traffic apart from a few construction pickups that passed us once in a while.
I for one wanted to jog bits of the stretch but a doctor among us advised that walks had far better health benefits than jogging. In addition to the ligament damage usually caused by jogging.
During that walk we did away with the urban noise pollution, relaxed and enjoyed the fresh air of the swamps. We also delighted in the beautiful scenery of the country side. We met a few pedestrians, some of whom were actually going to their gardens. That day, by a mere stroke of luck, the sun had a covering cloud that blocked its fierce scorching rays for the most part of the morning.
One really good site, was this rock which the express way passes by. It is as huge as it looks and should I mention that it looks awesome. We later learnt it is called Mugalasi Rock. Looked so awesome. It had some heavy earth moving caterpillars working the site. 

The machines .....

The sweat ....
 The rocks ...

CCCC at work along the Kampala - Entebbe Highway

Unlike jogging, walking does not stress the muscles much. Actually the pleasant steps didn’t strain as much as a light jog would. We sweated hard most likely due to lack of exercise. By the time we reached our destination I was more aware of most of my joints, knees, pelvis, shoulder blades and abdominal muscles. We reached the Kajjansi interchange, I should say, after 2 and a half hours. We had a break and used Uber to get back to Busega.
The following week I felt rejuvenated and relaxed. I learnt a very valuable lesson. Good health does not just happen. Everyone has to work towards it. This is what I really want to share with you. I resolved to watch what I eat and to exercise more often. Actually I had to change my lifestyle. As I write this piece, I should say, am still struggling with some of my resolutions. Whereas I have been successful in some areas, I have miserably failed in others. That will be a story for another day.
There is this saying in my language that says “ Oyoza olugweye, atte nolwanika mutaka! ” literally meaning “ You wash your cloth, and then spread it out in the dirt to dry”. Just as that saying goes, please after the your workout do not go to your hangout, and  in a bid to celebrate your achievement order 2kgs of roast goat meat and a pint of your favorite drink or like wise keep away from exercise for a long time because you will  have “spread out our cloth in the dirt”