And then I fell ill…Terribly ill…

Falling ill anywhere is fraught with many ifs (if only I did this), buts (but I should have done this to avoid) and why (why do I have to get ill at this moment).

In my neck of the neighbourhood, the tropics, getting ill happens pretty fast and if you are not careful you end up dead in the process.

I got ill from malaria. And as I have been abroad from Uganda for a very long time I didn’t have any malaria anti-bodies left in my system. The malaria happened quick and I found myself admitted in hospital with Blackwater fever.

According to encyclopedia Britannica:

Blackwater fever, also called malarial hemoglobinuria , one of the less common yet most dangerous complications of malaria. It occurs almost exclusively with infection from the parasite Plasmodium falciparum. Blackwater fever has a high mortality. Its symptoms include a rapid pulse, high fever and chills, extreme prostration, a rapidly developing anemia, and the passage of urine that is black or dark red in colour (hence the disease’s name). The distinctive colour of the urine is due to the presence of large amounts of hemoglobin, released during the extensive destruction of the patient’s red blood cells by malarial parasites. Patients frequently develop anemia because of the low numbers of red blood cells.

Blackwater

Micrograph of blood cells showing ring-forms (circular organisms within the cells) and gametocytes …
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) (Image Numer: 5856)

 

source:https://www.britannica.com/science/blackwater-fever

The speed at which malaria turned into Blackwater fever took 5 days. End result was that my kidneys stopped functioning as normal hence being admitted to hospital. My doctor tells me that by the time I was admitted my kidney was functioning at 5%. His aim was to make sure that it goes back to 100%.

From May 15th 2017, I started a regimen of going for dialysis twice a week. I achieved the 100% kidney function after 12 sessions of dialysis. The 9 sessions I took as an outpatient. All in all I spent 9 days at the hospital as an in-patient. Most of the time was spent on bed rest. Part of the regimen of getting well meant following a strict dietary regime. Taking foods without potassium, like bananas(plantation, Matooke, in the local language is a staple food here), all fruits, greens with the exception of cabbages and eating boiled food without any spices most especially the White meats and fish.

Dialysis Machine

Dialysis Machine

The healthcare system in Uganda is expensive. Most especially if you are like me who has no medical insurance. I had to use each coin that I came with to get better. As they say, it is at such times, that you really like the aspect of the disparity in foreign exchange from the foreign currency vis a vie the Ugandan shilling.

When I first arrived in the country I bought the anti-malaria drug Mephaquin. I took anti-malaria tablets for a month because this is what I normally take when I visit home. I have been reliably informed that I should have taken it for 3 months as my stay in Uganda was for a year and longer.

This being the rainy season and the mosquitoes that spread the malaria, thrive in such wet conditions, are plenty. I now have to take the mephaquin (anti-malaria tablets) for three months so that I can build up my anti-bodies. Yes I do sleep under a mosquito net, but the mosquitos bite a non suspecting person in places like the sitting room or dinning room were we can’t have mosquito nets.

I have great admiration for the doctors, nurses, the non-medical hospital staff. They do their utmost to make sure that our stay is as comfortable as can be because chances are that one will never make it out alive.

ON WHEELCHAIR TO DIALYSIS WARD

As an inpatient being wheeled from my Ward to the Dialysis Ward at the hospital

As a person that has suffered kidney disease a number of things happened to me.

  1. Fatigue. The aspect of getting tired easily happens because of lack of oxygen. As the malaria attacks the red blood cells, this effects the haemoglobin.
  2. Muscle fatigue. This happens in the form of cramps; it tends to occur as you stretch your muscles.
  3.  In my case my bones got weak. After my dialysis treatment I resorted to taking Osteocare to help me with my born structure https://www.vitabiotics.com/osteocare
  4.  I need to drink a lot of water to help wash out the excess impurities that the kidney couldn’t work on when I was ill.
  5. Walking became a problem. I had to have support either by wheel chair or another person helping me as I walked.
  6. Huge body. As the kidney was working at 5% the excess liquids and urea,I gained 20 kilos because of the fluids in my body had to be retained somewhere. Thanks to dialysis this brought my normal weight and body back to my normal self.
  7.  Bed rest. As the red blood cells are attacked by the malaria. This is what leads to the aspect of malaria making people anaemic. Malaria anaemia happens and this leads to making a person constantly sleepy. This happened to me a lot.
  8. I didn’t take any medicines when I was on the dialysis treatment. What I was advised to do was to take a lot of liquids and stick to a diet regimen set for me. This worked a lot.

Now that I am off the dialysis treatment I am getting back to everything gradually this is from the food I eat right upto the exercising I do.

What did I learn in this process?

  1. Family is extremely important to me because I had to lean on them for support. This is from my cousins to my siblings and mother.
  2. The power of prayer. I had loads of friends from all over the world, cousins, brothers, mother, mother’s church, all praying for me. It was touch and go at one time and the Doctor did say it must have been prayer that brought you back to us. Thats profound right there.
  3. Gratitude. Being grateful. Saying thank you and please went a long way for me at the hospital, from the nurses right to the security guards.

Isn’t life amazing? Falling ill anywhere is fraught with many ifs (if only I did this), buts (but I should have done this to avoid) and why (why do I have to get ill at this moment).

Food!

I enjoy a bountiful meal. Coming home has proved to be a testing time for my taste buds as well as my stomach.

I have realized that my stomach is extremely sensitive. Having said that watching chicken being smoked on charcoal is not new to me at all. What I found out of this world is seeing chicken smoked on top of banana peels which in turn sit on top of charcoal.

chicken-smoked-on-banana-peels
Chicken pieces being smoked on top of banana peels

The end result taste wise was ono (Hawaiian meaning finger licking good). The chicken had that smoke smell to it. The meat was firm because the chicken was the local kind that was allowed to forage for food on its own.

 

smoked-chicken-being-boiled
Smoked chicken in soup

In the City we have two loads of poultry farmers.

1. Local farmers that let their chicken roam freely
2. Chicken farmers that build poultry houses. They are not allowed to roam freely at will. These chicken are taken care of and tended to 24/7 as they are feed, given medicines etc.

The plate had the local green banana (Matooke), rice, coriander, greens with slice of onions, chicken mix called Royco, salt, gizzard, tomatoes and rice.

 

greens-with-slice-of-onions
Greens with a slice of onion

Very filling lunch if you ask me.

Welcome to the motherland.

 

Sights and Sounds of Uganda

tourism-police

Didn’t understand this sign post about Tourism Police. It is a sign by the Uganda Police Force on the road to Masaka past the equator.

 

eucalyptus-forest

Eucalyptus Forest in the background

tea-plantation-lugazi

Tea plantation in Lugazi town on the road to Jinja City

fire-1

iphone-868

Fire burning around a story telling circle

driving-in-mabira-forest

Driving past a forest

dscf0101

After the rains on a road to the village

dscf0102

Driving through a swamp field

iphone-838

Festive Season at Malls in the suburbs of Kampala City

iphone-850

iphone-858

 

 

iphone-908

Mango fruits

iphone-870

Down pour of rain and the greenery of the suburbs of Kampala City

iphone-824

Kampala City at night

Only in Africa

president-obama-president-jammeh

U.S. President Barack Obama and Gambian President Yahya Jammeh at the White House in Washington in August 2014. On Dec. 4, the White House issued a statement expressing dismay over rampant human rights violations and the persecution of LGBT people in Gambia. Amanda Lucidon / White House

Source: http://america.aljazeera.com/opinions/2014/12/yahya-jammeh-thegambiahumanrightsdemocracy.html

 

It is election season in Africa and some remarkable results have emerged.

For Instance recently:

Two incumbent Presidents lost the elections.

Two Presidents conceded genuinely and then one of them said, there is need to recount the votes again.

That one President is from The Gambia.

To many African watchers his concession to Mr Adama Barrow the President elect took many of us by surprise. The question was how could President Yahya Jammeh really accept the electoral results. Most African leaders tend to ‘manoeuvre’ such results to their benefit. When President Jammeh said that he has accepted the results and called the opposition leader to wish him well, it was a first for many of us to witness. A strong man of Africa relinquishing power peacefully.

Then the shenanigans started. President Jammeh of The Gambia asked for and sought for a recount of the results. Much as we were surprised with his accepting the results now with the recount, we see the old man African style leadership back in full force. He has ruled The Gambia for 22 years. From what we gather his party is not happy and have lodged an appeal to The Gambia’s High Court.

Profile: The Gambia’s Yahya Jammeh

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-24383225

 

The Two Africa’s

africatable-of-africa-elections-2016source: http://mgafrica.com/article/2016-01-13-peace-and-security-council

This side of Africa is akin to what we call the norm. Africa’s strong men clinging to power regardless of what their citizens feel and say.

The other side of Africa, gregarious, magnanimous, enigmatic, exuberant, youthful and exquisiteness belies the strength and depth of what Africa is about. Change that we see. Change that represents the aspirations of this youthful exuberance. Change that exudes the hopes and fears of a young generation ready to handle their own affairs of business. Change that epitomizes the we shall overcome feel.

We only hope and pray that this new Africa does come to pass, happens and make the two Africa’s one and whole.

Only in Africa

God Bless Africa

 

Déjà vu all over again

Sometimes in life there comes a point when one asks, don’t the leaders who are entrusted to lead us really study the history of the country they rule. It always, always leaves me perturbed.

This week in Uganda, right, we saw events that reminded me about an attack of a palace of the Kabaka(King) of Buganda in May 1966.

kabaka-mutesa-palace-attack
The Kabaka’s Palace is attacked by Uganda government forces

source: WhatsApp

Fast forward 50 years and yet another King(Omusinga’s) palace is attacked leaving scores of people dead. What I find amazing is the lack of proper information as to why the palace had to be attacked in the first place. Omusinga is the King of the Bakonzo people who hail from the Mountains of the Moon – Rwenzori. They are sometimes referred to as Rwenzururu people.

omusingas-palace-attack
Omusinga wa Rwenzururu (King) palace under attack in November 2016

Source: WhatsApp

Government acknowledges the King(Omusinga) was inciting terrorism. But coming from the fact about what happened 50 years ago, such information from government should be taken with a pinch of salt.

We may never really know the real story about that palace attack, we shall leave that to the historians. Having said that, bear with me, let me take you on a journey a brief history of Uganda.

A brief History

Before Uganda became the motherland Uganda on independence day in 1962, all the constituent tribes had their own leaders from Kings, to Queens to Chiefs. With the creation of the country Uganda a republic was formed. It had a ceremonial President, a Prime Minister together with a parliament and political parties to lead the country. The Kings, Queens and Chiefs remained very instrumental in the cohesiveness of their people and this made the tribes stronger. The cultural norms and heritage intact. That high office espoused the pride of belonging, rich in history and instrumental in the future of the people by the people. Naturally frictions occurred as the new norm being the new form of  government, a republic vis a vie the tribal kingdoms was put on a test from time to time.

History most definitely is repeating itself in 2016.

What is so deafening, in this case, is the that there is little discourse about what happened in and around the mountains of the Moon, in the capital city of Kampala the seat of all power in Uganda. When there is such silence then all kinds of voices appear to fill the void. Social media is awash with all kinds of stories and photos. Hard to get any facts, clear picture about what really transpired and why. Maybe the authorities feel that this is a far away Kingdom and not too much fuss will be made about it. Personally I do not know.

This much we know.

The King(Omusinga) is in remand charged with treason and trial starts December 13th 2016.

The deposing of any King anywhere by use of force is a very traumatising experience for any group of people. In 1966 when it happened to the Baganda it led to consequences far foreseen by the leaders of that day. For one hatred brewed to anyone from the north of the country from the Baganda tribe. Why? The prime minister, Dr Obote, a northerner (of the Langi tribe) and the commander of the operation of the day was another northerner (Kakwa tribe), he went by the names of Idi Amin. Five years later he too led his own coup and overthrew Dr Obote.

The trauma of the Kabaka being attacked by the military was huge. So, huge. What many Baganda found perplexing was that the Kabaka, was a member of the British military and they refused to come to his aid. It is things like this that make one wonder 50 years hence, don’t our leaders learn anything from history.

Why, Why?

You can marginalize a people for so long, but deposing their King(Omusinga) opens up a can of worms that in 2016 we cannot foresee.

Oh Uganda

May God uphold thee

We lay our future in thy hand

These are the first stanzas of our national anthem.

 

The Omusinga (King) bespectacled gentleman in the middle at Kasese Police Station

omusinga-police-station-in-kasese
Omusinga wa Rwenzururu being led away from Kasese Police Station

Source: http://www.theinsider.ug/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/index.jpeg

Clearly, we need prayers for the people of Rwenzururu. Seeing their King (Omusinga) in such circumstances under police custody is not a pretty sight at all.

It breaks are people down

It demoralizes are people

It traumatizes are people

They look around for answers but get nothing satisfactory

It is a sad day indeed for the people

To salt or not to salt is the question

couple-discussion

source: http://paternitytestinglabs.com/how-to-discuss-a-paternity-test-with-your-partner/

The question has come about from a little chat I had about salt to be added into cooking food.

Unfortunately, I have no money to buy salt, so I say. The lady looks forlorn and says nothing.

Cooks the food without salt. She doesn’t eat because she’ll not eat food without salt.

Then a discussion ensues. ‘You are a man you should have money at all times’ she says. I say ‘this is the one time I have no money’. She says ‘I don’t believe you.’

Then I ask, ‘why didn’t you buy the salt? I know you have the money.’  She responds ‘Mine is female money. You the man are supposed to bring and pay for everything at home.’

I am gobsmacked. The lady has money to buy salt but will not buy it because I have no money to buy salt.

Herein is the quandary. I am not at home neither am I obliged to buy the salt because this is not my residence. I am a visitor okay.

I wonder are such matters which seem minor in the scheme of things bring discordant in a home. Can the aspect of the man not having money to buy salt really make or break a home? Whatever happened to partnerships. Is it only give, give society that it has come down too?

It is heart wrenching if the foundation of any form of relationship is reduced to money and lack thereof.

Totally flabbergasted. Now I know what to do next time. Have my own salt in the drawer and she can cook saltless food. I’ll add into my food at my leisure. I will be visiting this place a lot more often therefore I will do the cub scout motto of be prepared.

Not very happy person at this point in time.

The dynamics of gender are not lost on me but I am finding them ever the more complex. How one wants to make a point in regards to gender roles about unspoken rules baffles me immensely. How then can the women be emancipated if they still think in a dependency format rather than the independent format? Do the women play the gender roles because society dictates or because family dictates?

For once I am lost. So, lost.

source: http://www.saltopiasalts.com/health-benefits.html

November

rain
Raining cats & dogs

It is the rainy season in Uganda and what that entails is a change of many things.

It rains like cats & dogs. There are a number of things that happen and eventually show the presence of the rain.

From transport, to crops, to people, to agriculture virtually everything changes

The landscape gets the feel of lushness. It turns into a gorgeous green.

The roads, the marram roads that is, get slippery but at least the end result is that dust settles down and there is less dust pollution.

For some reason people get happier. I am yet to find the reason why. Maybe because Christmas is around the corner and everyone can be joyful and merry as the year ends.

There are some areas when it rains, it gets flooded because this in the previous life time used to be a wet land.

In November, the other thing is that it is the green grasshopper season.

 

green-grasshopper-images-cool-wallpaper-animalplanethd-com_

It is a delicacy of sorts and to be honest it tastes just like prawns. After the grasshopper, has been caught and fried. It has a very rich source of protein.

prawn-11979566

Source: https://thumbs.dreamstime.com/z/prawn-11979566.jpg

This is how the delicacy looks like ready to be eaten.

nsenene-grasshoppers

source: http://kabiza.com/kabiza-wilderness-safaris/nsenene-grasshoppers-are-a-ugandan-delicacy/

Happy November to you too with love from Uganda

 

 

Only in America

A historic win and it will be the first time ever that a white billionaire will move into a public housing vacated by an African-American family!

Only in America!!!

I posted the above statement on my Facebook wall.

My cohorts and peers from Hawaii got it immediately as something funny. I lived in Hawaii for 7 years so to some extent I do get their sense of humour.

The mainlanders (the US of A is called mainland in Hawaii). Some took offence to the statement.

The election of Mr Donald J Trump has sent tremors in many parts of the world including the US of A.

The perception he created during the campaign too many of us is real.

The ideal of building that wall to keep the Mexicans out of America is real.

The ideal of chasing away all non-documented immigrants is real.

The question I have, is can the Native Americans, decide that all immigrants should leave the United States of America.

Yes, I am not an American citizen and why should I care.

The Americans have chosen a leader that will impact me as a world citizen whether they like it or not.

America, the country is important to the rest of the world

America, the idea, freedom, human rights, economy (when America sneezes the rest of the world gets a cold) is important to the rest of the world.

Therefore, the election of President Elect Trump does affect me as well.

The bullhorn America uses in the world to get things done does impact many a country.

From the charity causes, to the human right causes, to the economy(neo-liberalism), https://www.theguardian.com/books/2016/apr/15/neoliberalism-ideology-problem-george-monbiot, to the wars of justice, the election results leave many of us wondering whether this is a new era of political incorrectness that is here to stay.

All countries in the world have enormous issues, however, the place that the US of A holds, in the world as the only super power warrants that what happens in America does affect the rest of the world. Hence the adage when America sneezes the rest of the world gets a cold.

Let us hope that the perception that Mr Trump’s campaign has caused will be eased by the reality of governing the country and by default the world.

To the new administration wishing you all the best in healing the polarized world that is watching your every step.

God Bless

hawaii-usa

The USA flag and the State of Hawaii flag

source: http://onvacation.online/hawaiian-flag-with-islands/

Kool and the Gang are coming to Tawo

Kool and the Gang!

Yes that musical brotherhood that encapsulates my childhood and wonderful memories are coming to Tawo.

So, Kool and the Gang are coming to Africa, specifically on November 12th 2016, they will be in Kampala, Uganda.

Under normal circumstances I would have gone to see them.

I made some errors of judgement vis a vie money. I lent several people money with a promise that I will get paid on 31st October 2016. It didn’t happen and they are not returning my calls. I feel very deflated and having been warned not to do it. I went on and did it. I went on and lent money.

So, I will miss Kool and the Gang.

I will not be around breathing the same air they are breathing.

I will not see and hear the sounds of my youth like

‘Get Down on It’

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qchPLaiKocI

‘Ladies Night’

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bLnUJQut-kc

I guess that is what life is about. If you are given lemons make lemonade out of the situation.

This is Uganda and welcome to Africa. Try and fit in so says Mother.

kool-and-the-gang

Source: https://signedevents.com/uganda/kampala/kool-the-gang-live-in-ug/

 

 

Money: What I discovered?

What I discovered with my return, the concept of money vis a vie the host citizens is different. It is this difference that comes with a lot of responsibility. This is because we have not yet understood the money back home. In our minds, we are spending as though we are still overseas. This disparity stands out markedly when we do not bargain for products we are buying. The sellers notice this cue and when they see you charge you exorbitantly. The same happens with services life car mechanics. They charge you an arm and a leg for the very basics. If you are not around they either put in older parts or don’t remove the parts but still charge you for new parts and labour.

It is a buyers beware place. As most of the economy is basically a cash economy it behoves of returnees to be extra vigilant because the money one has come with can go so fast. Being in the host country and broke is such an unpleasant place to be such that many do return to the countries they resided in prior to the journey back to the motherland. Their comfort creatures are many and they understand the system in order to survive.

The survival rate in a cash economy is enormous. This is because everyone demands of you of money in one way or another. The ability to stretch your shilling to give some of it away and still be able to live is an art in and of itself.

I have been advised that if I am to lend any money then make sure you are willing to lose it. Peeps in the host country will not pay you back because they too feel that they need to enjoy the fruits of your labour from overseas.

The orderly and organized way in which many from overseas (outside countries) get their pay can be a very daunting task when that orderly fashion ceases to be the order of the day. In the cash economies, like the one I find myself in, the local denominations are misleading and very dangerous because of the loads of wads we end up having in our wallets and pockets.

The need for budgeting is crucial without which, finding one self in a financial nightmare is a sure thing. Living in a cash economy is stressful enough one should try by all means possible to avoid the financial nightmares.

With the distress in the economy coupled with the long sunny period hence no rainy season to help with agriculture growing, money is scarce and word about the R word – recession is becoming the new normal.

In other words we are headed for some turbulent times as money goes walkies and doesn’t stay long in our wallets.

money-703x422

source:http://www.newvision.co.ug/new_vision/news/1438732/uganda-improves-business-ranking