Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Bring back the reading culture in #Uganda

Last week Daily Monitor published what I consider a fantabulous story onreading. The writer said that old news papers can serve rural schools if not only for reading but to also know things.

Our own Denis Wabuyi followed up with a story of reading none existent material in a village school.  Many of you know our resident writer Wabuyi who brought to us the X - Files from the village and he writes a lot about business for he is also our resident accountant.

Not too soon after, I started featuring Owomugisha Regina who writes about her daily commute to work in USA.

Some of you might also be familiar with Zanton, a Ugandan living in South Africa and how Bongani brought Sandy home.

We also have Mutunzi who writes about soccer and ends all his stories with Manchester United Diehard.

So finally Edgar tells me that our people love to read and will read if we write for them stories thwy can relate to.  Wanji!

All writing is useless to starving Ugandans if we do not make our stories relate to their daily lives so we are evolving in our writing.  Time is all we ask for and please remember that anyone can write about anything and someone will catch your groove.

When we set up our news groups on WhatsApp, we insisted that all members write correct English and do not abbreviate.  It is paying off less than a year later.

We also have Nkonge who never stops lamenting about the politics of Uganda.  Then the odd Deafman who only writes about the plight of education (he is a teacher) and 2 medical doctors (Achilla and Lillian) who try to make us eat our vegetables and fruits claiming that prevention is better than cure.

But this guy called Sammy with his premier league scores and transfers for soccer and that Chinese in Bugisu who is a food scientist keeps going on about food and GMO.  Nebilala nabalala.

So imagine the shock today when the editor for Monitor said the ailing economy of Uganda can be saved by sustained consumption by the massively impoverished people.

When Ugandans praise the peace and progress that dictator Museveni brought to Ugandans after stealing chicken and cassava and looting the treasury dry and mortgaging off our country, one wonders if our people read the news.  Museveni is the worst thing that ever happened in Uganda.

But until the people elect to take back their country back, they will praise this thug and murderer until they need to raise funds to fly back their child who just got murdered in Istanbul, India or Dubai.

When our people find out that their beloved flew to China for a job and got executed for drug trafficking.  When the people realise that their mothers die in hospitals in labour while some fly to Hamburg Germany to have a baby because they do not trust Mulago. Until then, we shall just write and buy holly rice and holly water and give the fake pastors all our hard earned money.

WAKE UP UGANDA!  Below are some of the things we write about.
Martha Leah Nangalama

"Kabale porridge is sweet"

I grew up from KIGEZI region, located in south western Uganda bordering Rwanda, DRC and Burundi. My love for KIGEZI will never die. No wonder I am a mukiga 99% but most importantly am Ugandan.

Our famous drink is called "bushera"
Usually sipped from enkyeeka (a small gourd) or a half litre mug (usually called gamma), obushera has for long been the Bakiga's favorite thirst quencher.

I implore readers to let us in on their local beverages. In High school when our English teacher gave us an assignment about writing on our local foods, the so called Kampala born looked down on us writing about cassava, sweet potato, yam and they could take none of it. Instead they wrote about pizzas, muchomo, Sandwiches etc. to the amusement of everyone. This was especially the girls and boys in showbiz.

Terraces that run round the steep hills in KIGEZI reveal a scenery that is irresistibly charming, with small but dependable fields of sorghum, millet and Irish potatoes. Gentle breezes always comfort the farmers as they wait patiently for the next harvest. The winding roads from one hill to the next make a trip to Kigezi a spectacular one. I urge you to spend a weekend in kabale, you will love it, it's mwaaaa....

One cannot help but wonder why its inhabitants, the Bakiga are so keen on refilling their gourds with bushera (a drink made out of millet or sorghum flour).  A new visitor in this area might leave with the impression that it is mandatory here for every shop keeper to stock the drink.

Bushera has proved so magical in the past that most rural Bakiga thought of it as medicine. This is indeed true to some extent - some information obtained from Kisiizi Hospital where my auntie is a nurse, reveals that the population of Kigezi has a low level of constipation complaints compared to the rest of Uganda thanks to regular sips of bushera.

The Bakiga will need no specific time, agenda, environment or weather to drink the stuff. Any time is Bushera time.

The ability to drink bushera at any time of the day makes the Bakiga's working hours very flexible and easily stretched into an entire day. A sip of bushera while munching on some Irish potatoes prepared the night before (amahoro g'emondi) can keep one going for a while longer. Bakiga are arguably the hardest working tribe in Uganda courtesy of bushera.


There are two ways of making obushera butooko. In one, millet flour is used and the in the other, sorghum flour is used but for both, water is boiled first. A mixture of flour and cold water that was boiled and cooled earlier is thoroughly mixed to form a thick slurry in a bowl. Boiling water is then added, stirring rapidly to produce a smooth enkoomba (porridge). Any solid/non-jelly pieces of millet/sorghum meal that form in the porridge are removed.

After the porridge cools, ekyimeera (yeast) is added and the bowl covered for a night. After about twelve hours, bushera can then be stirred and is ready to drink. This is one healthy drink that the cook prepares with a special attachment, counting on it to take him/her into the next day.

As you can all witness, There is no mention of artificial sweeteners, or sugar in the entire procedure.

However, the non-Bakiga who drink bushera are often quick to bet that sugar is one of the ingredients. To tell the truth, it is very difficult to believe that no sugar was added and for that reason most diabetic and high blood pressure patients tend to avoid this wonderful beverage.


Bushera has grown in popularity even among other tribes besides the Bakiga in Uganda, Martha, is a Canadian born in Bududa but she always has millet flour in her house for that purpose.

Baganda ladies have lately also joined the band wagon of bushera drinking. They highly link Bushera to having sexual prowess through unusually high level of lubrication during intercourse.

So ladies come on, join the league of bushera drinkers to make happy and fulfilling marriages and sexual life.

However unscrupulous traders who aim at profit maximisation have been found to use unboiled water, exposing unsuspecting customers to illnesses like typhoid. Therefore you may have to buy from trusted sellers or home preparation is paramount.

Bushera is still a vital part of my way of life even though I am in a foreign country, thousands of nautical miles away from KIGEZI -

It is so integral that Bakiga staying as far as London, Toronto, Paris, Brussels and other capitals of the world will always be excited to receive packages from the relatives in their motherland of some more millet/sorghum on a regular basis because they just can't do without it.

On economy and health point of view "Rather than sip an expensive bottled drink, laced with chemicals I am not even sure about, I am easily satisfied with the all familiar glass of bushera."

I wish you all the best in preparing a gamma or enkyeeka of bushera. Enjoy while it lasts.  Visit us in kabale for 1st hand experience.

MARK is a Mukiga King where every man is a King!
Obushera bwa Kabale bunuzire - #Uganda

By Denis Wabuyi
In Uganda today and many days back, there has always been that element of neglect to risk cover, the feeling that something happened there but can't happen here. Even amongst former victims the denial of a repeat of what happened. It partly explains our continued dismissal of insurance coverage as money minting machineries to enrich the few. In fact, don't be startled if you tried selling insurance to someone to cover an accident and he asks you what will happen if I don't get an accident as if he wishes for one.
Unfortunately, this will take time to uproot because the habit seems to be deeply rooted in us that you can't say it will work with the educated. Educated or not, rich or poor there is that characteristic and the belief that "we shall cross the bridge when we get there". In doing so we are never short of unplanned pregnancies (actually there is an unconfirmed study that majority first-borns in Uganda are conceived by mistake), accidental marriages, loss of valuables never to be recovered, unceremonious collapse of businesses and the suicides due to insurable uncertainties that befall many among us.
I know that before you finish reading this article, a person will have lost data from a stolen, broken or lost phone, computer or book in-spite all the assurance of cloud storage. Before you finish reading there will be a business that has lost money due to a robbery, theft by staff despite the various insurance covers! Call it carelessness but Ugandans have been callously going down the drain mostly by choice of current gratification over future protection. And this is not a case of illiteracy but stubbornness, carelessness and I could have said poverty but no, after an accident instead of having paid 10,000 per month for health insurance we solicit and afford 7 million for a complicated surgery or at least we afford money for a coffin and feeding the mourners.
But to a growing nation you realize that time is up for error, a global village with its advantages has also drawn us to common perils, risks and dangers that we cannot merely push under the rag or neglect. The increasing sophistication of theft, robberies and the effects of global warming calls all of us to take cover against risks. We cannot afford to watch as businesses that we have spent years building are razed to the ground by fires without any chance for recovery, as young and old commit suicide just because they took loans and invested in agriculture off-season that failed to yield. Perhaps the expected rains did not come.
This is the time to "beat ourselves in the chest" and secure our future, cover our risks, plan our marriages. Let us move knowing that if I got a fatal accident today, it won't necessitate selling all my inheritance to cover the medical bills, that if I got 100 million and invested in a general merchandise shop, I will not operate in with fear that a fire may raze down the building and I lose all Bank money to spend a year in jail over uncleared debts.
*Personal experience*
I am close someone who is passionate about progress. She has been telling Ugandans about Cloud storage from the time I got to know her way back in 2013. This is because the soft copies we store on our computers can easily be lost in ways that we all know.
Being so close meant that falling victim to data loss would be the last thing to happen to me but lo, on 30th December I either lost or misplaced a bag containing my digital camera, flash disk, external hard drive plus the laptop. To a typical Ugandan, almost all my information about my organisations, past, current and prospective projects were there on those hardwares and thus lost. Being an optimist, I never reported the loss to Police hoping that I will recover my bag and knowing that Police in Uganda does very little in recovering lost electronics. Until now am waiting but I know that very few people in Uganda would land on such a loot and return it. Maybe they could return the bag.
And of course am angry that a person can make off with a bag that doesn't belong to them but seem to be angrier with myself that I have never had a backup for my data and that painfully, I would not love to expose my ignorance but to fellow Ugandans with whom we share the idea that all lies in the hands of fate.
But lesson learnt is that now every data that I think I don't want to lose will go to cloud only that up to now I have not started doing so. I actually kept this article on my office PC until today when I felt like sharing it!

DENIS WABUYI is an accountant living in Uganda. He writes the X-Files from the village as well as other business articles.

Cloud Resources

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Cover yourself - #Insurance is for your own good #Uganda

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