Translation by the author
(Rukiga original follows the English, below)
You are coming from your friend’s. It is Sunday. The date is the 9th of August. You have spoken about the far and near, you have indeed nattered. Y’know it is unusual to converse with an age mate in Rukiga. Nowadays when you meet in Kampala, you speak your English through the nose till the end. The English man did it! People who know Rukiga meet and they nasalize their English? Mscheew.
This friend of yours is one of those who does not suffer their English. It is not that he does not know the language. He actually knows a lot of it. A man who teaches literature, drama, etc. at Makerere and doesn’t know English? But when he is talking with someone from his home, he wishes for them not only to hear each other, but to listen to and see each other.
Of course he is Kitaburaaza’s son! Their people always have had big heads. Sometimes people say that the brilliance has become too much for them. There is a younger brother who decided to unfeather a cock, leaving the part on the head with all its feathered glory. Then he tied the remaining feathers in what he said was a ponytail! And the cock was set free to join the rest. Just imagine! But Kasa’s (how the Kasaburaara name is shortened to fit in the mouth) madness has come to him in adulthood. The years are thirty-six but when you talk with him, sometimes you ask yourself, Really, is this what a firm adult man should be thinking? You talked about the seven in one—this Museveni man who has ruled Uganda for almost three decades! Kasa thinks that someone should find some strong portion and relocate Museveni’s private parts to his forehead! Imagine! Kasa is not just tired: there is an added tiredness to his tiredom.
When you reach the Gayaza stage, he leaves you there to find a fourteen-seater commuter taxi. The taxis of Kampala seat fourteen people. They are mini-buses really. And your bladder has been warning. You should have asked where the urinals were while still at Kasa’s—whatever made you forget! Now you are going to suffer with pee. At least you find a taxi that has space. There is one at the stage that is full and is setting off. No more space. The one that has stayed is almost empty. When will it fill up?
You have your bottle of mineral water, as usual. Miiru. You are gulping. Stupid you, don’t you know that pee has been on your case? You think that drinking more water helps alleviate the pee problem? See suffering. This pee will make you dance the undanceable.
Kampala Wandegeya Kalerwe. The conductor is calling for passengers. Kampala nkumi bbiri. The driver is also calling from his side. But he is saying a different price. 1500/=. The conductor is saying 2000/=. But do you think that you are hearing them properly? Your mind is on the bladder. It is almost bursting. Maybe you can get out of the taxi, find somewhere to relieve yourself and return? This taxi will be gone, but you will find another. Not so? The heart says hold on. The taxi is about to fill up anyway. And you sit.
Wampewo, Kasangati, Mpererwe, Kalerwe, Wandegeya, Kampala rukumi bitano. That is the driver’s voice trumpeting the stages we pass through till Kampala and the rate. The job of a taxi-man is not easy. Singiiiiiiiing the whole day, and you go home with a hoarse voice. Most times the taxi is not even yours, driving someone else’s taxi; sometimes the traffic police find you and a fine is planted onto you. The cross of a taxi-man is not easy. Meanwhile at home, if you have children and a stay-at-home wife, you find hands outstretched: because you have been making money, you should come home with bread. The children want books.
But some people, including yourself, talk and think nonsense. Really, who has ever lived like a driver to know the life they lead? You hear the politicians talking of kaveera to take home daily. You hear the researchers saying the same thing. Sometimes even journalists feed us the same gospel. But aren’t they telling lies? Are there any drivers they have ever followed to see how they live? Aren’t these the things that Tamale Mirundi, the now-fired Presidential barking dog, called kuriche? The English call it cliché. Really, is that how every driver lives? There is something that does not add up properly.
Susu wants a way. You left Gayaza a while back. The taxi has a number of years on this road. If Anne Kansiime travels in it only once, she will give us something to rupture our ribs. By the way, isn’t she the woman who gave us the ways of handling susu when it insists? She was at a nursery school graduation ceremony and in the middle of her speech started calling her mother, that she wanted to go and do susu! She was dance-dancing meanwhile. And crying. If you were young, you would be screaming susu susu. Susu has become susu.
You have really moved fast. You are in Kasangati! Looking at how old this piece of paper called a vehicle is, reaching Kasangati in how many minutes, from Gayaza is a great achievement. But susu does not want to know. At Kasangati, some passengers disembark. Like four of them. That means you are going to wait for more to occupy the places of those who have left. That is the major problem with commuter taxis. They should decide to take people where they are going and only stop to off-load. Like now, you may spend a good number of minutes waiting for more passengers. Meanwhile, your bladder is not waiting.
Mpererwe, Kalerwe, Wandegeya, Kampala. Rukumi bitano. Kasangati has never failed to have some posters of Besigye. The people of this area are the ones who watch all the battles. Tear gas is their staple. But they, too—don’t they ever tire? They keep supporting Besigye. Their small town is now known. Even those of Nyanja, when you mention Kasangati, can tell you where it is. Besigye has really tried. They should give him a tourism award, especially those of Kasangati. You did not know about Kasangati until Besigye started staying there. Their Besigye. Bambi. The man has really suffered. They have imprisoned him. They have accused him of raping a girl he was paying school fees for. They spread rumors that he is suffering from slim. They have beaten him. They have jailed him. His arm was once shot. The eyes pepper-sprayed. What haven’t they done to Besigye?
You do not understand the people who decide to ignore the pain Besigye suffers, and they start saying that he is angry. That he hates Museveni. That he has no issues. Of course suffering does not mean having good ideas for leadership—but still, people need to have a humanness. A person’s suffering should have an end. Should one suffer forever? But he can also choose to ignore politics. Some people really won’t care about his suffering when he becomes President. “Did we send him to suffer?” they will ask. People can ask if they ever sent him to oppose Museveni. Why didn’t he keep silent like the rest? You think that people never get pleased? You shouldn’t. That is what Museveni has done to Uganda! That he also went to fight to liberate the country. People now know that liberators are not exactly selfless. Even Besigye is now looked at with side eyes. That he can do what Museveni has done if he gets to power. You wonder if Kasangati will become his Luweero. Things of politics do not have a head, nor do they have a tail.
You are in Mpererwe now. You have passed through Wampewo. Actually Wampewo is not as known. Kanyanya at least is known a bit. You know it, but Wampewo? At the taxi stages, the conductors and touts rarely call Wampewo. You are in Kanyanya now. Susu is still susu. Now you are thinking of getting out of the taxi—to go and relieve yourself, even if the taxi leaves you behind. You can go with your bag. But where will you pee? You may do it on the roadside, but you could get nabbed. Sometimes there are fines, and when they realize that you are not from the area, they might go beyond even that. The issue of susu needs to be discussed.
Those of Kanyanya get out; the conductor is barking like a dog. Who has insulted him? Hm. The matter of susu. This Jennifer Musisi should do something about it. She only knows how to chase hawkers and vendors from the city. The issue of susu in public transport is also important. Now, if you were in a coach in England, or France or Germany or even other places, you would have gone to the rear of the thing and relieved yourself. Their coaches are even big. But you have told some lies somewhere. Those coaches go to far-off places. Long distances. They don’t go from Gayaza to Wandegeya, just about twenty kilometers only. The way those who have travelled a bit think is sometimes not very wise really. Everything they see, they want to copy. Imitate. Now, see how you want to bring coaches in which passengers can ease themselves in the city. You are like those who want to bring trains.
But when will you reach Kalerwe? Up till now you do not believe that the name Kalerwe comes from railway; the Baganda call it lerwe. What type of word is that? But that is what it is. You laughed so hard at the first person who told you! Not knowing that the problem was your ignorance. What does she think of you now? You should write her confessing that she was right. The name is Kalerwe—from the railway. So, when Jennifer brings her train, will it pass through Kalerwe? Will people use the train instead of the taxis like this one?
You are trying. Keeping yourself busy. Thinking about unconnected things such that the susu can disappear. So that the susu can settle. But it is insisting. You are about to pee in your pants. And there are so many people in Kalerwe. There is a way that crowds make it unbearable to hold susu. It is as if there is a way the body seeks to be at ease when in crowds. Self-preservation instincts? Such that if anyone disturbs you, you are ready to defend yourself? Of course if you are about to pee on yourself, you may not be able to defend yourself swiftly.
Fighting things, also. Does the coward of your village actually still live? An old man. Eating-wise, he can demolish a basin of food alone. Passing time in the village doing small jobs but getting drunk, he starts to speak fwaa. Pumping up self. Or chest thumping. As if, on meeting Golola Moses, he can knock him out immediately. One day, Tibashaasha’s son had his own problems and the coward brought his drunkenness to him. And the man gave him a good slap, which threw the coward to the ground. And the crowd did not delay with cheers. And Tibashaasha’s son left them taunting the drunk and beaten coward.
When the alcohol stopped possessing the coward, he blamed susu for his woes. Imagine! People had even moved on and forgotten about the slap. And he started walking about swearing that if it were not for susu, he would have shown the young man that even his family can feel pain. Cowards know how to speak. And the thing is, he did not know that the susu he meant is a different type of susu from the normal susu. It is that susu from which babies are made! Not the useless urea-filled susu. But when a person is stupid, they can’t even understand the nuances of language! The coward may even never have seen a woman in private. So he may know that susu can only be one susu. Just useless.
You are in Kalerwe now. You are about to reach Wandegeya. The bladder is about to get relieved of its load. The driver drives as if towards Mulago. Where is he taking you? No. He is going to the petrol station. The conductor: has this been turned into a park? The driver is nauseated. He does not respond. He is calling passengers. Kampala Rukumi. The driver’s wire loosens. It is five hundred. What happened to you? Why do you want to cheat people? Ha! This driver has a humanness. He does not see why the conductor has to charge one thousand. But many charge one thousand from Ku Birri to the old park; but it seems this driver went to the eklezia to worship today. Isn’t it Sunday?
The conductor is not happy, but he continues calling for passengers. People come at once and throw themselves into the taxi. Some do not find seats. The conductor wants to put in more than is allowed. You have never seen a driver who has eaten hot pepper. He barks at the conductor as if he is a real dog hunting a wild animal in a bush.
Wandegeya is near. You start moving. But Kampala’s a traffic jam. Whoever jumps out of the taxi and runs there will reach faster faster. But you will pee in your pants if you try. And you are wearing jeans: if you pee in them, you won’t survive the stench till you reach home. Hold on. You are about to reach. Slowly. You have reached the ATM at the Bank of Africa branch. You are even broke. You need some money. But it is susu that is stressing you right now. You can’t wait to relieve yourself. There is nothing that can disturb a human being in the way susu does. You know that if you let loose a bit, the bladder will leak. You can’t. Because you are an adult, you know that susu has its particular destinations. You suffer. You hold. Hold. You clench everything clenchable. Tighten every muscle you can.
You have reached. Those of Wandegeya, disembark. See now, you haven’t paid. It is helpful that you have money in small denominations. A one thousand shillings note and a five hundred shillings coin. And you run. Not run running because if you set off running, you will lose grip of the susu brakes unknowingly. You walk-run. Not run running. Not walk walking. The strides are too long for someone who is walking. But then you are not running. Running requires small but very fast strides. Your strides are long and fast. Walk-running.
At the Wandegeya branch of Stanbic bank, there is a rubbish bin. You throw your water bottle in. You walk past Ecobank, the Wandegeya branch. The public toilet at Wandegeya is not the cleanest but at this time, you do not mind. You have to relieve yourself. To pee. You enter. You will pay when done. The zipper wants to bring problems. Mscheew. Things that do not understand. You have brought the pee all the way from Gayaza and the zipper wants to slow you down now? No. Even if it tears. And you start peeing. Finally. And the pee flows. Susu is an enemy. A real enemy but now you have managed it. There is no peace, there is no relaxation, relief, freedom and wellness better than what engulfs you on peeing after a long period of holding the thing. It should be put in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. When a person is holding susu, they have no single peace. Dance dancing does not help. Trying to think about everything else but the pee is an attempt at managing the situation but not really. Susu is a really bad problem.
You finish. You go to the sink to wash your hands. You use your handkerchief to wipe yourself. This Wandegeya urinal stinks! Eh. Why don’t they wash it? Some Vim, or is it Harpic? But isn’t Harpic for stains? Let them do something. Even if they increase the rates to five hundred shillings for number one, and one thousand for number two. But let the place look and stink decently. Y’know sometimes when a person has time, they have to look for a restaurant that has urinals so as to help themselves. Not to eat or drink, but to pee. And how many Wandegeya eateries actually have urinals for customers? College Inn? Seriously, on the matter of sanitation something should be done. Someone should not have to carry pee from Gayaza until Wandegeya.
They usually say that we should not ask what the government is doing, that we should ask what we are doing. But on this matter, of having public toilets, can one build them privately in a place like Wandegeya? Where? Will they grant an individual a license? Surely, this is government’s job. If a government can afford to chase vendors from the streets, why not spend on providing public toilets? You will pay. As long as they keep it clean. There should be a public toilet each kilometer on a road in the city. These are not thoughts of a been-to, they are natural. The English would say common sense. But since you have been relieved, what is your problem?
You go to the Ecobank ATM. Brokeness. Now you remember. You insert the card. The PIN. The machine is counting. Counting. And gives you a chit, telling you that you have insufficient funds on your account. They are playing. There is money in your account. If the machine does not have money, let it say so instead of claiming that you are broke. Has Ecobank also started cheating? No. They have good women and men among their staff. They are even beautiful. And handsome. Why are you scared of saying it? The branch where you have an account at least. If it were not poverty, you would go to the bank daily to say hi just for the sake of it. Even Bank of Africa is the same. But for that one, you only know one person. But she is a good person in all ways. But you are broke at this moment. You do not even have a cent on your account? Hm. You won’t go to Bank of Africa. It is far. You will go to a mobile money service point.
As you go to find a mobile money point, the phone battery is on zero. And your USB cables disappear daily. Someone is harvesting them. People! They do not just like free things, they survive on them. What do you do now? You have twenty thousand shillings in the pocket. Buy one USB cable. You have a laptop. It has some battery left. Charge the phone. Then you can go get money from mobile money. This world. A person has suffered. This trick works. It should work, really. And a ten thousand is pulled from you for the USB cable. People can steal! Hm. They say that everyone is a thief. They do not know that your money comes from sweat, real sweat.
You hold the USB cable, and find where to sit and fail. And you decide to go straight to the nearby mobile money point, remove the laptop from its bag, switch it on, insert the cable, connect to the phone and the thing starts charging. In about three minutes, there is some little battery to enable you make a mobile money transaction. You tell the phone number to the woman operating the point. But the people who work at these mobile money points are not as beautiful as those who work in banks. But you should not be thinking about that now. You want only two hundred thousand shillings. You do not want to hear that they do not have float. You want the bu moneys. You do not even have money for supper. The woman has float. But she is in conversation with other people; she is not really bothered about you.
If she had a desktop computer in front of her, a monitor, you could say that she is busy. But her guitar on the tongue is the one keeping her busy. At least if she were beautiful, you would not be complaining. If her smile, eyes, thinking, mind, what else were like that of A…whose name we shall not complete…you would not really mind. But then the world is like that. That one you love, the one who turns everything into gold, the one who makes you not quarrel—everything she touches emerges spotless, you do not see her daily. That is how God intended the world to be. The English call it balance. Thinking about her alone puts you in a different world altogether. Where you feel peace, calm, and forget that the mobile money woman is being slow. You forget that, about thirty minutes ago, you were dying, with susu on your neck. You people are forgetters. Like the one who soiled another’s garden only for the other one to remember after stepping on the shit. Your twenty thousand shillings given to you, you do not express gratitude. They do not thank you either.
The boda boda is climbed. Kasubi market is where you are headed. You have to buy what to cook. You have become useful. You want to tell yourself that it is someone that has turned you into a useful person but you do not want to think so much now. Every person has their time. Your time to be useful has come. Eating at the restaurant, in the morning, during day, and at evening has become stale. Finding restaurants with your favorite foods is itself a problem. Even when you find them, you soon tire of restaurant food. Ugandans love buffets like nothing else. Every time, buffet! And sometimes you just want to eat fruits. And finding them! Ha!
Today you do not want cooked food. You want fresh things. Raw. Fruits. Vegetables. Anne Kansiime says that she is not a goat to eat grass. That woman also. You want to be a goat tonight. There is no suffering in the name of cooking. But you need to buy a fridge soon. Because measuring the stomach size every time you go to buy food will break you. You bargain. The pawpaw. Watermelon. Jackfruit. Pineapple. Mangoes. Oranges. Eggplants. Yellow bananas. Cucumber. You did not know that eating eggplants raw was possible. Laziness caused it. It is easier eating raw things than cooked ones, obviously. And indeed sometimes when you cook things, the nutrients are lost and all that. And sometimes you tire.
You are conversing with the market women, as if you have forgotten that you have to get home. This is how susu became an enemy. It is not I who has disappeared but the story.
Orikuruga ow’a munywani waawe. Ni sande. Ebiro n’imwenda by’okwamunaana. Mwagaanira, ebya kunu, ebya kuri, mwacooboora mbwenu. Manya tikya buriijo okutayaayira ow’orwingano reero mukagaanira omu rurimi rw’owanyu. Erigyenda kumurikubuganira omuri Kampala, mufwofwooza mpaka. Eishi omungyereza akakikora. Abantu barikumanya orukiga mazima kubonana bakaza kufwof- wooza? Mscheew.
Kwonka munywani waawe ogu n’omwe omuri abo abatakafwofwooza. Tikugyira ngu orungyereza tarikurumanya. Nangwa n’arumanyira kimwe. Hoonashi omushaija n’ashomesa eby’emigane, ebitebyo, ebyevuugo, emizaano n’ebindi Makerere reero ngu tiyamanya rungyereza? Kwonka bambe yaaba nagamba n’owowaabo, naaba nayenda ngu bahurikizane gye.
Haza shi mwene Kitaburaaza yaaba yaba ki? Manya owaabo bagira emitwe mihango. Nangwa obumwe tugira ngu obwengye bukabarenga. Hariho muto weeye owashaziremu kufuura enkoko, reero akagisigira amooya aha shunju. Reero akasiba ago mooya ari nkori kusiba eishokye ngu ni za ponytail! Reero nyankoko akagirekura ngu eshange ezindi ngyenzi nzaayo. Tekyereeza mazima!
Kwonka Kasa (manya okwe nikwe eizina rya Kasaburaara turifunza) we kandi obushazi obweeye bumukwatiire bukuru. Emyaka n’ashatu na mukaaga hati kwonka wagaanira naawe n’oyebuuza riyalle, ngu hoona ebi nibyo bitekyerezo by’omushaija enkwata maata? Manya mwagaaniira ahari Mushanju, ogu Museveni otegyekyire Uganda emyaka erikuhika ashatu! Reero Kasa we arikutekyereza ngu hagire owaboona oburogo b’uhamire akwate ebicweka by’ekihama by’omushaija abibambatike ahabuso! Tekyereza! Kasa we mbwenu atamirwe nakari karimu.
Kumwahika omu ka siteegi ka Gayaza, akureekaho, okwata taxi. Taxi ezaKampala ezishitamisa abantu eikumi n’abaana. Haaza nangwa enkari esiibire ekwiine kubi. Waaba oshemereire kubuuza ekisheshero mukiri omuka, oba waaba ki. Hati nooza kubonabona nayo mpaka. Obweshi nangwa t’obona taxi yayijweire? Eriho aha siteegi erikusimbura. Emyanya yahwamu. Eyasigara eri nk’erimu busha. Eryijuura?
Oyine orucuupa rw’amaizi nk’aburiijo. Miru. Oriyo n’ogotomera. Otari mushema, t’orikumanya ngu osiibire onigirwe enkari? N’ootekyereza ngu okunywa agandi maizi n’okukyendeeza aha kunirwa kwaawe? Kyoreeba enaku. Egyi nkari n’ebaasa kukuziniza endangama.
Kampala Wandegeya Kalerwe. Kondakita arikweeta abashabaze. Kampala nkumi bbiri. Omuvugi naawe abayo nayeeta orubaju rwe. Kwonka we kandi, Kampala ahagamba rukumi n’abitaano. Ogyizire ngu beitu obahuriire gye? Omutima gweena guri aha ruhago. Kakye rwatike. Shana orugemu, oronde ah’okweyambira, reero ogaruke? N’oshanga egi takisi y’agyenzire kwonka n’oronda endiijo. Tikwe? Akatima ngu gumisiriza. Takisi eriheihi kwijura nabwe. Manya obwe oshutama otuuza.
Wampewo, Kasangati, Mpererwe, Kalerwe, Wandegeya, Kampala rukumi bitano. Ogwe ni dureeva eiraka nirijumeera. Emirimo ya takisi t’eyanguhi. Okusiiba n’oyeshongoraaaaa, okaza kuhiinguka eiraka nirishaakaara. Obwingyi manya na takisi eba etari yaawe, orikuvuga ey’abandi, obumwe abaporiisi b’ebyiruka b’akubona ngyigyo fayini b’agikubyaara. Mbwenu omusharaba gwa takisi tigwanguhi. Obwe omuka, waaba oyine abaana, na nyinabo, haza atarikukora, nikwe omushanga engaro ategyire, manya obwe waruga kupakaza, oyine kureeta omugaati. Abaana nibenda ebitabo.
Kwonka n’angwa abantu abamwe, oyebariiremu, n’ibagamba, kandi b’atekateeka busha. Riyalle, nooha oratwiireho nk’adureeva kumanya ngu ebi nibyo b’arabamu? N’ohurira abeby’obutegyekyi bagamba aha kaveera k’okutwara omuka buriizooba. Ohurira manya ngu n’abacondoozi naabo bagamba niby’obimwe. Nangwa obumwe n’abashaki b’amahurire baturiisa engiri niyo emwe. Kwonka t’ibabaga n’ibebiiha? Hariho ba dureeva abubaarakurasire ngu bareebe emituriire yaabo? Ebi tibyo Tamale Mirundi yayesire bya kuriche? Abangyereza ngu cliché. Riyalle, buri dureeva nikwo abaho? Hariho ekitarikwiija gye.
Susu n’ayenda omuhanda. Manya obwe mwasimbwiire kare. Aka takisi bambe ezaako zirikuhwayo. Omwaka keine ogurikumara. Anne Kansiime nka’aka y’akagyendamu, n’atuhayo eky’okutushandaza embaju. Beitu nangwa, ogu mukazi Kansiime tiwe y’atuheire amagezi g’okukwata susu yaaba eyangire? Ngu ari aha kujwara eby’okumara nasare, reero aha’agati ya sipiiki ati Maama, nyowe ninyenda kuza kukora susu! Azinazina manya. Arira. Kuri ori muto, kuri orikwamuuza oti susu, susu. Manya susu yaaba susu.
Mwayiruka haza. Muri Kasangati! Kurugiriira ekyi kipapura ngu n’emotoka okukikuzire, okuhika Kasangati omu dakika zingahe, kuruga Gayaza mwagyezaho. Kwonka susu ebyo t’erikubimanya. Ahari Kasangati, abashabaze abamwe b’arugamu. Nk’abana. Ekyo nikimanyisa ngu nimuza kurinda abandi ab’okuza omu myanya yaabo. Eki nikyo kizibu kya takisi. Z’ishemereire kusharamu kutwaara abantu, z’emereere kwihamu kwoonka z’itarinda. Hati nk’aaha nimubaasa kumaraho edakika ziriireyo murinzire abashabaze. Obwe omushaija oruhago rwe tirurinzire.
Mpererwe, Kalerwe, Wandegeya, Kampala. Rukumi bitano. Kasangati t’ekabura ebishushani bya Besigye. Manya ab’omu nibo bareeba entaro zoona. Omwika ogubalagala, kwonku abaganda beeta tiya gaasi abahanu b’akagumanyiira. Kwonka nabo tibaruha. Baguma barikuhagira Besigye mpaka. Akabuga kaabo hati nikamanywa. N’aboweitu abaNyanja ningira ngu w’agamba Kasangati nibakugambira ahu eri. Besigye bambe agyerizeho. Bamuhe ekirabo ky’oburambuzi na munonga aba Kasangati. Iwe Kasangati okaba otagimanya mpaka ahu Besigye y’atandikire kutuurayo. Besigye waabo. Bambe. Omushaija abonabweine nangwa. Tibamukoma. Tibamuhayiriza ngu akahamba akahara ku yabeire naheera fiizi. Tibamugambuura ngu ayine Siriimu. Tibamuteera. Tibamukoma. Omukono baguteera eisaasi. Amaisho bagatamu esheenda. Mbwenu n’enkyi ekibatakozire Besigye?
Tokakyenga abantu abarikusharaho kwehuza enaku eyi Besigye areebire reero bakatandika kugira ngu manya ayine ekiniga. Ngu nayanga Museveni. Ngu tayine biteiso. Nangwa okubonabona tikwe kugira ebitekyerezo by’okutegyeka, kwonka kandi nabwe abantu beine kugira ak’obuntu. Omuntu abonabone hazeho embugiro. Aryabonabona mpaka? Kwonka nawe y’ayenda eby’okutegyeka nabireka. Kurugirira oku abantu batarikwenda kumanya, n’obu yakuba Purezidenti wa Uganda, obwiire nibuhika bamubuuze ngu nooha owamwoheriize kubonabona? Nooha owamugyizire ngu ahakanise Museveni? Ngu noooha owamutumire? Kuri yahunamire nk’abandi? Ogyizire ngu okwe n’okuba ba tibasiima? Haza ingaha. Museveni ekyi akozire Uganda! Ngu naawe akaza kurwana kuzaahura eihanga! Abantu hati nibamanya ngu abazaahuuzi boona tib’omutima gumwe. Na Besigye abamwe batandikire kumureebesa abiri. Ngu omushaija abaasa kukora ebi Museveni akozire, ku yakuza aha ngoma. Reero obwe shi Kasangati niyo eraabe Luweero yeeye? Ebya siyasa tibyeine mutwe n’ekibunu.
Muri Mpererwe hati. Haza mwaraba Wampewo. Nangwa Wampewo temanyirwe munonga. Kanyanya yo hakiri abantu nibagimanya. Iwe, n’ogimanya. Kwonka Wampewo? Aha za siteegi, za takisi, ba kondakita baazo n’ababurooka tibeetaga Wampewo. Muri Kanyanya hati. Susu akikurikubi manya. Hati orikutekateeka ngu orugemu omu takisi, ogyende osheeshe, bayenda bakusige. Orugemu n’akashahu kaawe. Kwonka shi kandi osheesha hi? Noobasa kusheesha aha muhanda bakujakure. Manya obumwe haba hariho za fayini, kandi bareeba otari w’omukicweka, naabo b’eshuunga. Kwonka eshonga ya susu neyo kugambaho.
h. Kondakita ku ari kubogora nk’embwa. Heine owa mujuma? Hm. Eshonga ya susu. Ogu Jennifer Musisi aronde eky’okugikoraho. We ogu arikumanya n’ogwokubinga abashubuuzi b’amuhanda omu tawuni kusha? N’eshonga ya susu omu tambura ya bwaatu n’inkuru munonga. Hati reeeba kuri ori omu baasi za Bungyereza, neinga Bufaransa, neinga Bugirimaani, n’ahandi nangwa, kuri waaza ekanyima ya baasi reero w’ayeyamba. Ezaabo n’impango n’okuba mpango. Kwonka wabiihamu akantu. Ezo baasi niziba niziza hare. Egyendo ndeingwa. Tizirikuba niziruga Gayaza kuza Wandegeya, bwa kilomita nga makumi abiri kusha. Manya emitekyerereze y’abatambweireho obumwe eba etarimu magezi riyalle. Buri kimwe eki bareeba benda ngu bakikope. Batooreze. Hati reeba okuwayenda kureeta baasi z’okunyamu omu kibuga mazima. Ori nk’abarikwenda kureeta egari y’omwiika.
Beitu nimuhika Kalerwe ryaari? N’ahati t’okakikiriza ga ngu eizina Kalerwe rikaruga omuri rail-way, abaganda barikugyeeta lerwe. Mbwenu ekyo nikigambo ki? Kwonka nikwe mazima. Owabandiize kukikugambira okamushekyerera manya! Obwe otarikumanya ngu ekizibu n’obutamanya bwaawe. Mbwenu hati n’akutekyerezaho kyi? Nikyenda ngu omuhandikyire oyikirize ku neiwe y’abeire ahikyire. Eizina ni Kalerwe, kuruga omu railway. Mbwenu shi Jennifer ku arareete egaari yeeye y’omwika, neeza kuraba Kalerwe? Abantu nibaza kuba nibakoresa egari y’omwika hatakiriho kutemba za takisi nkeezi?
Orikugyezaho kwebuzabuza, kutekyereza ebitakwatereine kugira ngu susu ebure. Susu akyureere. Kwonka akwiine kubi n’obeiha. Oriheihi kwesheshera mazima. Haza omuri Kalerwe abantu nibingyi. Hariho oku abantu kuba beingyi kurikutuma susu yareeterakimwe amaani mabi. N’oshusha ngu heine oku omubiri gurikuba nigwenda ngu gube guri omu buteeka burungyi omu bantu bingyi. Okwegwaanaho? Kugira ngu hagira owagamba ati nwe, omubature oruhi. Kandi waaba oriheihi kwesheshera, obaasa kurwana?
Eby’okurwana nabyo. Oba kya kitiini ky’omukyaaro kikibayo? Ekishaija kikuru. Nangwa okurya kirikurya nk’ekaraayi y’ebyokurya kikagimaraho. Kirekwebuzabuza omukyaaro, kirikukora oturimo tukye tukye kwonka kikiheza kusinda, kitandika kugambisibwa. Kwehaga. Oshusha ngu kyabona Golola Moses, nikimuteera nooka awutu emwe agwe kuriya! Eizoba rimwe mwene Tibashaasha aba ayeyiniire ebizibu byeeye reero kimureetaho esindo. Manya onu akakiha oruhi, kyasibantuka kyagwa kuri. Abantu orwaari tibarusibyaayo. Omusigazi ayegyendera.
Ku amarwa gakihwaho, kiti n’enkari eyaaba endi kubi kusha. Tekyereza! Abantu bakaba bari n’omubyaabo, baakyeebirwe kare. Kitandika kuzenga zenga, kutaaga taaga kiti, k’oogyire ngu naaba ntarikwenda kunyara, naaba nimwereka ngu abowaabo nibabasa kushaasha. Mbwenu ebitiini n’ibigambisibwa! Obwe tikimanya ngu okunyaara n’okusheesha tibirikushwana. Okunyara n’oku bakora omukitanda omu bikorwa by’ekihama. Okusheesha nikwe kw’enkari. Kwonka mbwenu omuntu yaaba ari busha, n’orurimi naaba atarikurukyenga. Mbweshi, kya kishema ky’arareebineho n’omuhara omuby’ekihama? Agantu gafeire busha kusha.
Muri Kalerwe eyaheihi hati. Muriheihi kuhika Wandegeya. Oruhago ruriheihi kutuura omugugu gwaagwe. Dureeva avuga nk’orikunyegyera Mulago. Hoonashi kandi y’abatwarahi? Ingaha. Arikuza aha majuta. Kya Kondakita, wano baffuddewo paaka. Dureeva asheshemukirwe. Tamugarukamu. Manya atandika kweeta abashabaze. Kampala Rukumi. Dureeva akawaaya kacweka. Ni Bitano. Beitu iwe okabaki. Ahabwenkyi orikwenda kwiiba abantu? Ha! Dureeva ogu ayine ak’obuntu. Tarikureeba ekirikutuma kondakita yayeeta rukumi. Nangwa abeingyi nibashaba rukumi kuruga Ku Birri kuza omu kibuga, paaka nkadde, kwonka bambe ogu dureeva ashemereire kuba yaaza aha keleziya kweshengyereza erizooba. Ti sande?
Kondakita tibimushemeza kwonka agumizamu nayeeta. Abantu biija omurundi gumwe. Beshuka omu ka takisi, hashagaho abamwe. Kondakita nayenda kutamu abarengyire. Tokarebaaga dureeva ariire eshenda. Manya Kondakita bamumokyeera oshwa ngu dureeva n’embwa, dureeva n’ekikooko ky’omukishaka kibahiiga.
Wandegeya eriheihi. Obwe mutandika kunyimbuka. Manya jaamu ya Kampala yo. Owajuuka omu takisi akeiruka nahikayo juba juba. Kusha noy’esheshera wangyezaho. Kandi mbwenu ojweire za jiini, wazisheshamu, torahoone ekinuuko mpaka ohikyire omuka. Gumisiriza. Oriheihi kuhikayo. Mpora. Mpora. Muhika aha itagi na ATM bya Bank of Africa. Haaza nangwa ori n’omwooro. N’oyetenga obupiiha. Kwonka susu niyo ekwine aha munigo. Torikuroota waruhuukwa. Tihariho ekintu kirikubonabonesa omuntu ka susu. Nomanya ngu warekuraho kakye oruhago nirutoonyeza. Kwonka t’okabaasa. Ahabw’okuba tori mwaana w’okutamanya ngu enkari eyine ah’eeza. Reero obonabona. Omiga. Ogumya. Oyebumbabumba.
Mwahikaho. Ab’eWandegeya muveeyo. Kyoreeba kandi, waaba otakashashweire. Ekyakuyamba esente oyine eziheingaine. Otayo rukumi, n’abitano by’esimooni. Reero oyiruka. Kutari kwiruka kwiruka, ahabwokuba waseetura nooza kurekura bureekyi otakigyendereire. Otambura-yiruka. T’orikwiruka bwiruka. T’orikutambura butambura. Etambwe nindeirwa tiy’omutambuzi. Kusha kandi t’orikwiruka. Okwiruka n’okuteera obutambwe bukye aha bwiira bwingyi. Orikuteera etambwe ndeingwa ahabwiira. Okutamburakwiruka.
Aha itagi rya Stanbic erya Wandegeya, hariho kasasiro. Ekyi baketi ky’okunagamu kasasiro. Onagamu ecupa y’amaizi. Ogumizamu orikutambura-kwiruka. Sitaani biika naayo eba enshuma. Kwiiha Museveni aguza Uganda Commercial Bank, n’ahati bakibayo nibiiba eza banyayuganda. Omuri Uganda ya Museveni bury’omwe arikugyezaho kwiiba. Abatarikwiiba boona tiheine orikubafaho. Abantu nibamanya ngu nibabaho baaba bari omumuhanda gw’obushuma. Reero aho, naaba atarikubafaho bufaho, n’okubanaga nk’akuri kugyira ngu omushuma agumizemu. Ti baanka, ti bashubuzi ba majuta, ti bakozi bamarwariiro, tibashomesa. Abashuma bari buri hamwe. N’oshanga omushomesa omu yunivaasite atarikuhandika, arikweija omukiraasi ashomesa, agyenda, nangwa ayakiira obusiimu, bamuha ebitugo, za maakisi azigaba. Abamwe bamuha ebibero. Mbwenu omurembe gwa Museveni. Kandi byoona niwe birikutandikiraho. Niwe abantu begyeireho. Wareeba ab’omunju eyeeye abashomeire ekintu kimwe kusha, okuba abanyabuzaare beeye, reero bagamba kabukunukye, ahabwokuba akakwate akubamwineeho karimu za diguri makumi ana ezabandi bataribona. Naawe aryaruga ahabukama tureebe.
Oraba aha Ecobank, itagi ry’a Wandegeya na ATM yaaho. Ekisheshero kya Wandegeya tikyo kiyonjo okusingayo, kwonka aharyegi shaaha riyalle, t’okafaayo. Oyine kweyamba. Kusheesha. Otaahamu, n’oshashura orikushohora. Ziipu nayo erikwenda kureeta obuzibu? Mscheew. Ebintu bitarikukyenga. Enkari wagiiha Gayaza yoona, reero ka ziipu ko ngu cureera? Ingaha, kayenda kacweke. Keigura! Reero otandika osheesha. Manya ehiritinka. Susu n’omuzigu. Kandi hati wamubaasa. Tihariho busingye, tihariho kuruhuukwa, tihariho obugwagye oburikukira okusheesha enkari yaaba ekunigire. Bakite omu Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Omuntu yaaba anigirwe enkari naaba ateine kasingye n’akamwe. Okuzinazina tikukayamba. Okugyezaho kutekyereza ahabindi bintu nikugyezaho kwonka nabwe ingaha. Enkari n’eniga kubi.
Omara kusheesha. Oza aha ka sink onaaba engaro. Okwata akatambara k’omungaro oyesiimuura. Manya ekikisheshero kya Wandegeya nikinuuka! Eh. Tibakyooza? Tibatamu ka Vim. Neinga, ni Harpic? Kwonka Harpic t’eyenziro? Bagire eki bakora. N’esente b’ayenda b’azongyeze zibe bitaano ez’okusheesha, rukumi ez’okunya, kwonka mazima hareebeke gye. Manya obumwe, omuntu yaaba ayine obweire, n’aronda ah’oburiiro bweine ebisheshero buri aba niyo yaaza. Kutari kurya, neinga kunwya kwonka kusheesha. Beitu bwe nihangahi omuri Wandegeya yeitu egyi? College Inn? Nangwa aha shonga y’obwecuumi hashemereire kugira ekyi bakora. Omuntu tashemereire kureeta enkari kuruga Gayaza mpaka Wandegeya.
Nibakyira kugira ngu tutabuuza eki Gavumenti ekozire, ngu twebuuze eki tukozire. Mbwenu omu shonga egi, okayombeka ekisheshero ky’aboona? Nkahi? Beine kukuha license. Mazima ogu n’omurimo gwa Gavumenti. Ku erikubaasa kubinga abashubuuzi b’amuhanda, ah’abwenki etarikubaasa kutuha ekisheshero? Nitukishashurira, kwonka bakiyonje. Bareebe ngu buri kilometer emwe ah’amuhanda hariho ekisheshero. Ebi tibetekyerezo by’arugyireho omumahanga, neby’obuhangwa. Abagyereza ngu common sense. Kusha iwe obuwaruhuukwa, ofaki?
Oza aha ATM y’a Ecobank. Manya obwooro bukuri kubi. Hati waijuka. Kaadi otamu. Enamba ya PIN nayo otamu. Ekyooma kibara, kibaaara, tikyikuha aka chiiti ngu insufficient funds? Nibazana. Hariho esente aha account yaawe. Ekyooma kyaaba kyiteine sente, kyibigambe, kyireke kubiiha ngu neiwe oteine sente. Hoona shi na Ecobank etandikire kwiiba? Ingaha. Beine abahara, n’abakazi, n’abashaija b’emicwe mirungi. Nangwa n’okubonera baboneire. Ahabwenkyi otiinire kukigamba? Itagi ryaawe eri oyine mu account, ha. Mazima, n’obworo kusha, okagyiire omu banka burizooba kubeyakuza kusha. Nangwa na Bank of Africa nikwe okwo. Kwonka yo, n’omanya yo omuntu omwe kusha. Kwonka n’omuntu murungyi omu ngyeri zoona. Kusha ori omworo ezi shaaha. Toyine wadde kikumi aha account? Hm. Toraaze owa Bank of Africa. Nihare. Nooza kuza aha mobile money.
Obu oza aha mobile money, esiimu omuriro peh. Obwe za USB cable zaawe buriizoba nizibura. Hariho orikuzisharuura. Mbwenu abantu. Tibaakunda ebyabusha, bagweisa akagwe. Hati wakora kyi? Oyine emitwaro ebiri omunshaho. Gura USB cable emwe. Oyine laptop. Eriho omuriro. Okyaagyinge esimu. Reero obone esente kuruga aha mobile money. Ensi egi. Omuntu ku y’abonabona? Akakodyo aka, nikakora. Kashemereire kukora riyalle. Obwe manya bakukuuramu omutwaro kubona ka USB. Abantu nibeiba! Hm. Nibagira ngu buryo’mwe n’omushuma. Tibarikumanya ngu obusente obwaawe niburuga omu ntuuyo, b’igambwa abaganda.
Okwata ka USB, oronda ah’okushitama nangwa habura. Reero osharamu kuza aha mobile money, oyiha laptop omu kashahu, ogyiigura, otamu cable, ogifunda omu simu, okukyaaginga kutandika. Omu dakika nk’eishatu oba oyineho omuriro g’urikugasha. Noobasa kukora transaction hati. Oh’omuhara enamba. Kwonka abarikukora ahari za mobile money bo tibaboneire nk’abarikukora omu mabanka. Kwonka ebyo tibikukwasireho hati. N’oyenda emitwaro abiri. Tokayenda kuhurira ngu tibeine float. N’oyenda obusente. Manya toyiine na za kyakyiro. Akahara nangwa float kagyiine. Kwonka kari omumboozi n’abandi, tikakufweireho.
Kuri ayine kompyuta omumeisho ge, hakiri okagyizire ngu ari busy. Kwonka enanga y’orurimi niyo emuhugyize. Nangwa kuri aboneire otarikutongana. Kuri akamwenyo kke, amaisho ge, emitekyerereze ye, obuhangwa bwe, n’ebindi biri nk’ebya A…, owu eizina tutarimareyo, kuri otafiireyo. Kusha mbwenu ensi nikweeri. Ogwe owu okunda, ogwe ohindura buri kimwe zaabu, ogwe otumwa atatongana, buri kimwe eki akwataho kirugayo kiri po, t’omureeba buri zooba. Nikwe Ruhanga ateebakanisa ensi. Abangyereza bakyeeta balance. Okumutekyerezaho kwenka kukuta omunsi endijo. Ohurira eihoreere manya oyebwa ngu akahara kaaha mobile money tikarikwanguha. Oyeebwa ngu edakika nk’amakumyashatu ezahwaho waaba orikubi, enkari eriheihi kukuhisyaho. Abantu muri ba Beebwa! Nko’waneire omuntabire y’a Tibeijuka, ogu nawe akeijuka y’agaribasire. Otutwaro twaawe makumi abiri batukuha. Toyebaza. Tibebaaza.
Ka boda boda okatemba. Akatare Kasubi niy’orikuza. Oyine kugura ebyokuteeka. Nangwa obeire ow’omugasho. N’oyenda kwegambira ngu ni A… otumire waaba ow’omugasho kwonka t’orikwenda kuteekyereza munonga. Buri muntu ayine obwiire bwe. Obwiire bwaawe bw’okutandika kukora ebi abeine omugasho bakora bukaba buhikire. Okuguma noriira omu hoteeri bwasyire busheshire bikaba bikutamire nabyo. Okubona ehoteeri zine ebi okunda kurya kyo kyonka kikaba kiri ekizibu. Kwonka ku wazibweine nangwa, n’omara n’oruha kurya eby’okurya bimwe buriizooba. Abanyayuganda bakunda za buffet nkeekyi! Buri kimwe buffet. Obumwe oyenda kurya ebijuma kusha. Reero kubibona!
Erizooba torikwenda by’okurya biteekyire. N’oyenda ebiri fresh. Ebibisi. Ebijuma. Emboga. Manya Anne Kansiime agira ngu we tari mbuzi y’okurisa ebinyasi. Mbwenu ogw’emukazi nawe. Iwe nooza kuba embuzi eki kiro. Tihariho kuhendeka ngu n’oteeka. Kwonka oyiine kugura fridge juba juba. Ah’obwokuba okuguma n’opimira enda buri kuza kugura eby’okurya nikiza kukuhenda. Oramuza. Ekipaapari. Water melon. Ffene. Enanasi. Emiyembe. Emicungwa. Endimu. Entonga. Biringanya. Eminekye. Cucumber. Manya okurya entonga n’abiriganya mbisi neiwe okaba otakamanya ngu nikibasika. Obugara nibyo bwabiresire. Kyanguhi kurya ebibisi kukira ebiteekyire. Nangwa, n’awariire ebiteekyire obumwe omuhoho niguhwamu kubarikubiteeka. Obumwe obiruha.
Waahugyira omurugambo haza, orikutebya ebya heihi n’ebyahare hamwe n’abakazi b’omukatare wayebwa ngu oyine kutaaha. Okwe nikwe susu aba omuzigu. Tiinye nahera hahera omugane.
Bwesigye Bwa Mwesigire’s short fiction has appeared in African Roar, The World to Come, and Saraba Magazine. His nonfiction has appeared in various journals and online platforms including This is Africa, Chimurenga Chronic, Africa is a Country, African Arguments, and Music and Literature. His recent awards and honors include the 2015 Harry Frank Guggenheim Young African Scholars Grant and the 2015-17 African Leadership Centre Fellowship for Peace and Security Scholars.2