Posted in Short stories

No Trespassing Allowed

On a sunny Ugandan afternoon. My family and I arrived at Para safari lodge. Para is a popular tourist destination known for its beautiful scenery, swimming pool and overpriced soda’s.

While my mum was at the reception getting our accommodation sorted, my dad and I decided to take a seat outside by the pool. The air was humid and the pool was surrounded by overly excited white Europeans and Americans.

We were seated waiting to be served. A gentleman approached us. He greeted us with a fake smile and proceeded to ask us whether we could move inside as the poolside was reserved for guests.

I looked around and noticed that not only were we the only Ugandans excluding the waiters around the pool. We were also the only black people around the pool.

Furious. My dad asked him why is it we were being asked to go inside.

The gentleman exaggerated his fake smile and said again that the pool area was for guests. Only this time he added that it was for guests sleeping at the hotel. He said guests who are only visiting for the day were welcome to sit inside.

This man had not offered us anything us anything to drink nor had he even bothered to ask us where we were from.

This man was Ugandan.

Trying to avoid a scene, I picked up my glasses and prepared to make my way inside. My dad continued staring at the man. He laughed and asked the man why he simply assumed we were not guests at the hotel. Not waiting for a response, my dad proceeded to educate the man on effects of colonialism.

Defeated. The man let us be.

Already irritated but still hungry my dad decided that we would have our lunch at Para and find accommodation elsewhere as it was clear that we were not considered “tourists.”

We made our way to the dining hall.

Outside. The tables were neatly arranged and decorated. The tables faced the lake were guests could watch the ferry float by while having lunch.

We got a table.

As we got comfortable. Another man approached.

This one was serious.

He greeted us and then asked to take a seat inside. He said the chairs outside were reserved for their guests.

There it was again.

“Guests”

This man was also Ugandan.

Exhausted from the previous incident, my dad picked his keys from the perfectly laid out table and walked out the door.

We drove back and had lunch in Masindi.

I have always known I was black. This has never been a problem for me. However, that day. In that hotel. In my country. I felt black. I felt different. I felt unwanted.

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Posted in travel

Nikwendeza Independence Nnugi

Happy Independence day to the 256. My home. My heart. My Uganda

With the crazy mess that has been happening back home over the past few weeks (age-limit debate). This day feels good. 9th of October is a constant reminder of how far we have come. And although as a nation we still have a long way to go. I am so grateful to be a part of this great pearl of Africa. We are not only rich in soil and fruit but as a people we are tremendously warm and loving.

So a toast to you Uganda may you continue to raise ad-mist all this darkness.

I thought i would use this opportunity to let you in on a few cool things to look out for ff your planning on paying a visit to Uganda this festive season.

Chapati aka Rolex

Now you might be rolling your eyes and thinking I can get a chapati anywhere. (I say you know nothing Jon Snow!). Uganda has the most tasteful chapati’s my guy. Just make your way to the side of the road, make sure to have a cup of tea or coffee in hand and ask one of the mama’s to fry for you at least two chapatis. If you would like to mix it up, simply ask for a rolex. That is an egg rolled inside a chapati. And NO! This does not taste the same if you make it at home. You have to try it out UG style.

Owino Market

Despite the half priced clothing, I would encourage anyone who visits Uganda to go to Owino market. The experience alone is worth it. Owino is one of the largest open markets in Uganda. You can find anything in Owino; Gucci, Clavin Klein you name it.All these are second hand of course but who cares. It is an incredible place to visit. I would highly recommend it for anyone planning on visiting Uganda.

Kembabazi Catering centre

If your visiting Uganda for the first time, you probably want to try some of our local dishes. Just in case you do not have a friend to take you around, Kembabazi is one of the many local restaurants in town that serves a variety of Ugandan dishes like posho. smoked fish in ground nut sauce and cassava.  Our local food is rich and fully nutritious. Give it a try.

These are a just a few things to look out for when you visit Uganda.

Happy traveling.

 

 

Posted in Short stories

Dear dance

Thank you for making me love me!

Thank you for making me shakey bum bum.

Thank you for getting me out of bed at midnight just to shoki.

Thank you for making me coupe decale to Awilo Logomba’s coupe bibamba when am working on an assignment due the next day.

Thank you for making me kutagurira when I miss home.

Dear dance thank you for making me feel free.

Check out the video below to learn a few moves we Africans love to use when we get down

 

Posted in Short stories

Confused as fuck!

INSECURE

Nathan: (Speaking)

I really like his beard It is clean not like those dirty ones covered with food…. their daughter is pretty too I remember what it is like to be that young she looks so free look at her his wife she is so beautiful okay focus…. Jess just walked in why is she so late… okay….. Marj  pay attention there is an award winning poet in the room look around you everyone is writing….. but I do not understand

Stop it look around you everyone is writing

Nathan: (Speaking)

Wait!

Jess is not writing but Guin is going hard okay focus listen….fuck I cannot understand anything he is saying why am I being rude stop it Marj how can you not understand everyone else is writing start writing ……okay….. I will write that he says fuck a lot he says fuck a lot I wonder what his wife thinks about that ……mind your own business

(Laughter)

Shit wait what did he say come on man focus what don’t you understand look everyone is writing but you…. focus…. just relax…. focus

Nathan: (Speaking)

Let me grab a copy of his work I like that he is changing the narrative I have not come across many comic books with black characters

I grab a copy of one of his many comic books. I am so excited to open and read the content.

Fuck it is in Afrikaans

Posted in travel

Beauty, mistakes and life lessons

Highlights from the Tsitsikamma Mountain trail

Great things

  1. Fell in love with nature’s valley.
  2. Night walks on the beach are a must after this uni life.
  3. The Tsitsikamma Mountains are so beautiful.
  4. Walked through breath taking forests.
  5. The countless rivers we came across while hiking saved our lives. Thanks for keeping me hydrated and icing my sore ankle.
  6. The view at the hut on day two was mind blowing. Africa is beautiful.
  7. The huts we slept in had toilets and bathrooms. MASSIVE RELIEF. IN ADDITION, I really appreciated that the huts had mattresses to rest my sore legs and feet on.
  8. Met some awesome people from University and made some unforgettable memories.
  9. Will not forget the massive support I received from the team after I twisted my ankle.
  10. I did not want the hike to end but finally getting to eat something other than two-minute noodles or cuscus was everything.
  11. I have to give one big thank you to my family. I would not have done this without their love and continuous support.

Photos by: Marjorie Rugunda

Shitty things

  1. Fucking twisted my ankle
  2. Fucking decided to wear new hiking boots which destroyed my toes nails. My big toes are grey now.
  3. Fucking packed my bag with unnecessary food and clothes, which fucked up my hiking flow.
  4.  Fucking forgot to take a torch so I hardly saw anything at night.
  5. Fucking could not enjoy the hiking experience as I hoped because I was thinking of my injury most of the time.
  6. Fucking forgot to brush my teeth twice because I had to walk ahead of others because of my injury.
  7. Fucking loved our last meal at Storms River on day six BUT something needs to be done about that cheesy 50’s themed restaurant we had our lunch at. Who puts a sign up on a car that says the only people allowed to sit on an old vintage car, are women and they must be naked! Fucking infuriating.

Photo credits: David Kinsler

    Lessons learnt

  1. Must learn to park less when embarking on a hike for six days.
  2. Must never wear new hiking boots whilst on hike.
  3. Must cut toenails before hike.
  4. Must remember to brush when in a hurry.

 There is a silver lining…..

There are a number of things that may go wrong however, the hurdles I had to jump   during this hike made me realise that mental strength can take us a long way. Believing you can pick yourself up after you stumble is not easy but it is possible.

Posted in travel

Ready, set, go?

I am finally getting a break from university for a week. It has been a tough and exhausting few months. However, I am so excited to be spending six days away from Grahamstown doing what I love best, HIKING!

I will be hiking the Tsitsikamma mountain trails with a group of about twelve people from the Rhodes University mountain club. We will be hiking for at least 13km for six hours every day.

This trail is apparently quite gruesome on some days but generally I have been told it is a manageable hike. We will be carrying our own bags and sleeping bags. Preparing our on food and even carrying our own toilet paper. Basically, it is a every man for him or herself situation.

 The Tsitsikamma mountain trail is my first official proper hike this year. I do not think am fit enough and quite frankly I have never been on a hike were I had to carry my food and prepare it myself. The thing that scares me the most is carrying unnecessary amounts of food and having it weigh me down during the hike. At the same time, I want to carry as much food as I can. Am not prepared to inconvenience others just because I was afraid of carrying excess weight. And the other is I have no idea if this trail requires proper hiking boots. Have any of you done this trail before? Can you help a sister out in terms of what take?

I will be leaving on Saturday 26th so I will not be blogging until I get back. However, before Saturday I will be sharing a few tips on how am getting ready and what I will be taking with me in terms of food, gear and clothing. L hope to hear some of your suggestions on what to pack and I also look forward to writing a piece about my experience and in addition sharing with you awesome photos from the Tsitsikamma Mountain trails.

Below I have attached some pictures from a 32km hike I did last year with the mountain club in the Groendal reserve.

 

Photo credits: David Kinsler

 

Posted in travel

De-stressing at Assegaai

University can be stressful sometimes. There a several ways to de-stress when things get too overwhelming however I recommend joining sports societies or any other societies that can allow you to engage in activities outside school work. For the past two years I have been a member of the Rhodes University Mountain Club. I initially joined because I love nature and hiking however, I have discovered that is also the best way to de-stress due to the hectic and overwhelming demands of university and social life.

This weekend despite the rain I joined the Mountain club on a two day trip to Assegaai trails a nature reserve in Grahamstown Eastern Cape South Africa. On our arrival we unfortunately had to change our plans because of the weather. The plan was spend the night at one of the camps inside the trails however we feared that the rain would not stop, making it too cold to enjoy our stay. We then decided to stay at the dorms which I can safely say was a far better idea.

Photo credit: Guinevere Shapiro

On arrival, we dropped our overly packed bags, had some breakfast and then stepped into the rain to begin our hike through the purple trail. Each tree was marked purple making it easier for slow walkers like myself to take it easy and catch up with everyone else without getting lost. We walked for about 5km to the camp we had initially planned to spend the night at. The trail was extremely slippery which made the hike incredibly difficult. I have a few scars to show for it. Despite the negative aspects of the hike, the scenery was incredibly breath taking and made every fall worth it.

Photo credit: Marjorie Rugunda

We had lunch at the camp, re-energized and after an hour or so we began or trail back to the dorms. We took the red trail this time to make the trip a bit more adventurous. Despite this trail being quite steep, we were greeted by several giraffes and a turtle as we got closer to our dorms. This was definitely my highlight of the trip because I had forgotten that Assegaai is not only famous for its trails but it also happens to be a game reserve. It begun to rain again so we didn’t really have time to take enough pictures of the beautiful animals however, we got back to the dorms in good time, had a good nap and later that night we spent time playing games, listening to music, eating and chatting away.

Photo credit: Marjorie Rugunda and Guinevere Shapiro

This weekend was definitely much needed. I would recommend anyone planning a trip to the Eastern Cape of South Africa to visit Assegaai trails.