Saturday, 25 December 2010

Blogging by Numbers

When I started blogging in 2008 to keep my writing active, my first post was unwittingly an obituary of sorts to great friend “Never be the Same Again (A Tribute to Andrew Kataryeba)” on 10 March that year. Though it was not my intention to start on such a sad note, it was an incident which coincided with my decision to start a blog. When I checked the statistics (covering the whole time I have operated Tales from Abyssinia), this has remained the most viewed with 117 pageviews (up from 108 just two days ago).

The second most viewed post is “Now that Obama-mania is burning out, I can blog” (6 November 2008) with 80 pageviews. But what is unique with this particular post is that it was initially and intentionally left blank. It is only two days that I filled it with links to different stories and opinions I have written about [US President] Barack Obama. Then it had 75 pageviews and was in third place—since the ‘uplift’, it gained 5 more pageviews to make it second now.

“Housing in Uganda: Growing Pains of a Boom Sector” (28 May 2009) is in third place with 79 pageviews. This was first published as an feature article in The Manager, a short-lived weekly newspaper in Uganda where I was retained by the editors/proprietors to contribute a section called People and Power.

“Bob’s Story: Started Out Cryin’” (4 November 2009) in fourth position with 52 pageviews and “Unforgettable Fire: The Story of U2” (6 August 2010) in ninth with 19 pageviews are book reviews. While the former was published in The Daily Monitor/Saturday Monitor, I’m not sure about the latter though I submitted it for publication. Another review “African Reading Challenge: Capitalist Nigger, My First Review” (15 August 2008) has 27 pageviews in seventh position. It was for the African Reading Challenge which required every entrant to read at least six books either written by African or about Africa within that year and write reviews [Note: I read more than six but wrote only four reviews…I think I should honour this debt and write the two reviews soon…better late than never).

In fifth position is “An Excuse for Fewer Posts Thus Far” (14 July 2009) with 45 pageviews and in eighth is “Am I Mis-Educated?” (10 July 2008) with 21 pageviews are links to articles I found interesting enough to post on my blog.

“African Sexual Practice That Guarantees Female Orgasm” (21 December 2010) with 31 pageviews is the sixth most read post. It was inspired by an argument/discussion on Facebook that was sparked off by someone informing us (his Facebook friends) about a World Orgasm Day. Through this, anyone can download a journal article by a Dr. Bizimana on a sexual practice known as kunyanza and its merits in ensuring sexual satisifaction to both parties in a heterosexual setting, especially the females.

At number 10 with 19 pageviews is “Should Terrorism Have Been on the Agenda? Or Been Part of A.O.B?” (6 August 2010) was written as a commentary on the AU Summit, held in Kampala, Uganda, that was originally intended to focus on maternal/child health but overshadowed by the subject of terrorism due to the 7-11 bombings a month earlier.

Friday, 24 December 2010

Don't Ask, Don't Tell: My Take

This post came about as I was responding to comments on a Facebook page. While the other was a spur of the moment thing, the one below is edited for spelling, grammar and correctness..and the relevant links included for further information.

What I gather is that DADT does not as such seclude gays and lesbians but requires them to be discreet about and not required to reveal their orientation (don't ask, don't tell). A kind of sweeping-it-under-the-rug (or is it rag?) thing. With the repealing of DADT, gays and lesbians can be open and free about their sexuality.

While I'm may not like homosexuality or lesbianism and consider it to be a bit deviant, I have to come to recognise that above all, human beings have inherent rights and the rest of us [who are anti-homo/lesbo] should not go ahead to persecute these people and make their lives uncomfortable. Because we also become guilty of something else, for instance, violation of someone's rights....remember that these people are our brothers and sisters in the perspective of universal humanity and at the level of interpersonal relations. However, I would recommend 'soft' approaches that have the effect of changing the orientation in cases where it can work, among others. Also, these homosexuals/lesbians should not act like pastors out to convert others into that way of life...after all, by design (biologically) we are heterosexual [take it or leave it].

But, in all, we have to agree that in Africa, it is going to be very hard to accept homosexuality or lesbianism as an alternative lifestyle or whatever label they may give it. It is important to note that even in the western world, gay rights is still an area where there is a lot of advocacy/activitism for acceptance...but what is working in their advantage (the gay rights activities/activists/advocates) is that they have grown in power and influence. Hence, the significant gains such as repealing DADT, ordination of gay clergy e.g. Robinson, gay marriages, and (closer to home) a stay on MP David Bahati's Anti-Homosexuality Bill.

Tuesday, 21 December 2010

African Sexual Practice That Guarantees Female Orgasm

Experts confirm that 70% of women do not achieve orgasm from vaginal penetration alone. But a sexual practice used in Burundi, Rwanda,the eastern D.R. Congo, western Uganda and western Tanzania is known for triggering female orgasms during heterosexual encounters. It is termed "kunyaza" in Rwanda and Burundi as referred to as "kachabali" in Uganda.“Kunyaza” is said to be so effective that most women do not only experience multiple orgasms but also ejaculation.

Dr. Nsekuye Bizimana presents this technique in a detailed and in depth manner to sexual health professionals (and in my opinion: all sexually active men and women) in two popular books Le Secret de l’amour à l’Africaine (Bizimana, 2008) and Une variante africaine de l’amour : Le kunyaza, technique sexuelle traditionnelle de déclenchement de l’orgasme féminin lors des rencontres hétérosexuelles (Bizimana, 2009). A journal article titled "Another way for lovemaking in Africa: Kunyaza, a traditional sexual technique for triggering female orgasm at heterosexual encounters" that expounds on this with illustrations can be downloaded from here

Monday, 20 December 2010

My Take on Ocampo's Kenya List

Below is my comment on a post by Jared Ombui, a Kenyan journalist, at his website about some of the reaction to ICC's Chief Prosecutor fingering six Kenyan politicians for their role in the post-election violence in 2007 and 2008.

Good observation. The debate is on because now the politicians realise that impunity is coming to an end….it is time African politicos realised that they can be held accountable for their actions even outside the borders of their countries. This is a good development for Kenya, especially in the light of the fact that the next elections are less than 2 years away. My country, Uganda, should also take note…as it was one of the first countries to refer cases to ICC (Joseph Kony and his lieutants)…the same long reach can be applied to those in power now who think they can’t be touched after 2011 elections. We’ll see

Sunday, 19 December 2010

How to Stop Procrastinating

by Susan Adams

Joseph R. Ferrari has spent his professional life studying procrastination. In 1985 as a student at Adelphi University in Garden City, N.Y., he took a class called "Self-defeating Behaviors." He asked his teacher if procrastination had ever been studied in depth, and she said she thought so, but wasn't sure. He investigated and discovered that no one had taken a serious, thorough look at the subject, so he decided to tackle it himself.

Twenty-five years later, a Ph.D. in experimental psychology and dozens of academic studies and articles behind him, Ferrari is a psychology professor at DePaul University in Chicago, and has published a book titled Still Procrastinating? The No-Regrets Guide to Getting It Done.

Ferrari says everybody procrastinates, but not everyone is a procrastinator. "A procrastinator is someone who habitually and consistently delays tasks," he explains. That's about 20% of the population, he says. His research has shown that the number holds around the world, in countries as far flung as Venezuela, Poland, Australia and Saudi Arabia. Hardcore procrastinators should read his book, he recommends, but they should also head straight to a therapist, preferably someone who practices cognitive behavioral therapy. "You can unlearn to do things," he explains.

For the rest of us, who engage in occasional delaying tactics, lateness or putting off until tomorrow what we know we should do today, Ferrari has lots of no-nonsense, research-tested suggestions. Though he thinks it's good to try to figure out why you postpone tasks--fear of failure, the myth that you work best under pressure--he believes in getting on with things.

For instance, keep a to-do list, and update it often. Set your priorities, and tackle the most urgent matters first. After the most pressing tasks, do the worst jobs next. Putting them off will just make your whole workload seem more impossible. Also, set realistic goals and deadlines.

Ferrari does not buy the notion that computers and cellphones make it harder for us to get work done. We just need to manage our technological distractions. Check your e-mail once an hour only, he advises. Don't follow up or answer an e-mail unless it's necessary. Don't open one when you don't have time to read it. Quickly delete messages to get them out of your inbox.

At work figure out who your most productive colleagues are, and team up with them. "Work in teams," he advises. "Surround yourself with non-procrastinators." Try modeling yourself after a colleague who gets a lot done. Ferrari points out that everyone loves flattery. Pull your highest-producing colleague aside and ask if you might shadow her for a time. She'll probably say yes.
Do stay on task. If you return from a meeting to an inbox full of requests, get done what you already needed to get done before dealing with all those new assignments.

Ferrari says that at work you need to pick your projects carefully. Many people feel compelled to get involved in all the big accounts or projects at their office, but if you stay focused and effectively manage the needs of a few select clients, the boss will be more impressed.

He is a stickler for punctuality. When I phoned him at 2:32 p.m. for an agreed-upon 2:30 interview, he sounded annoyed. "How are you?" I began. "I'm sitting here waiting for your call," he shot back. I quickly learned that he believes tolerating lateness encourages procrastinators. "I had an economics professor in college who would lock the door two minutes after class started," he told me with relish. "Students learned they had to get there on time."

"I'm a New Yorker," he explained. "I say, 'Get a life. Move it.'" When I asked him to elaborate, he continued: "My Italian grandmother had a saying: 'Some people, they won't get off the beach until their behind gets wet.'" He says that line is even better in Italian. But his final word is this: "Let procrastinators bottom out. Let them fail. Then they'll have the conversion experience."


Note from Tales from Abyssinia author: This is to help those who suffer from procrastination like me

Friday, 17 December 2010

Asamoah Gyan Deserved This Prize

London, 17 December 2010. Ghana and Sunderland striker, Asamoah Gyan, has been voted by football fans across the world as BBC African Footballer of the Year 2010. The results were announced live on BBC World Service’s flagship sports programme for Africa, Fast Track today.

The search for BBC African Footballer of the Year 2010 began on 15 November when fans were given a chance to choose their African football hero from a shortlist selected by experts from across the continent. The shortlist also included Gyan’s Ghana national team-mate, Andre 'Dede' Ayew (Marseille), Samuel Eto’o ( Cameroon and Inter Milan), and Ivorians, Yaya Toure ( Manchester City ) and Didier Drogba ( Chelsea ).

Votes were cast online at or via text messages. As public voting closed on 10 December 2010, Gyan emerged as the overwhelming choice of the fans, securing more than half the total number of online and text votes.

Check the website for details.


7 Deadly Sins of Small Meetings

by Mary Tomlinson and John Dreyer

All too often, board and committee meetings and leadership retreats feel more like a yearly visit to the dentist: No one really wants to go, the experience can be painful, and participants are frequently relieved when it's over. All of which undermine the retreat's original goals: time in a relaxing setting, the development of plans without constant distractions, and the strengthening of team relationships.

The culprits are the Seven Deadly Sins of small meetings. If you recognize and counter these demons with solutions for facilitating productive and energizing meetings, you can make your meeting valuable.

Lost in the ‘60s

Without a predetermined objective, participants come with their own agendas or none at all. Without a destination, the meeting goes nowhere.
Solution: Prioritize and determine the retreat's key objectives. During the months prior to the event, keep a list of what you want to accomplish, in order of most- to least-important, realizing that it may change. Set a date for announcing the objectives.

Eyes Are Bigger Than the Stomach

Too often, the plan is to try to do too much. Discussions wind up being short-circuited.
Solution: Reduce unrealistic expectations. Choose one to three objectives that can be thoroughly discussed in the time allotted. Allow ample time for determining the next steps and establishing an action timeline.

I Can't See Clearly Now

When your team isn't sure why it's showing up, some participants may shut down.
Solution: Communicate the topics, objectives, and goals of the retreat well in advance so that participants can come prepared for total involvement, with lively discussion and reasoned debate. Even if your retreat is for brainstorming, it will be more productive if your participants have brainstormed in advance.

Boss as Facilitator

With the boss as lead dog, participants tend to follow along and offer what they think is the “right” answer, rather than the best answer.
Solution: Bring in an experienced facilitator. Having someone with an outside perspective lead the group and ask hard questions makes it more likely that the team will delve deeper into discussions and come up with fresh ideas. But even with a facilitator, heed this caveat: The more the boss talks, the less everyone else will.

The Boss Assumes Too Much

Participants often carry their uncharted pecking orders and office-politics baggage to retreats.
Solution: Work with an objective third party to develop a pre-retreat survey that gives participants an equal voice, assures that all ideas are aired, and identifies what participants see as key issues and what they hope will come out of the meeting. With the survey results, the retreat can be customized to deal with real issues.

Peacekeeping Instead of Resolving

Fireworks typically fly among the more dynamic personalities who are firmly committed to their own ideas. The leader typically does not want to embarrass star performers, so he or she puts on the peacekeeping beret. Compromises seem to have been struck on key issues; everyone thinks decisions have been made, only to wonder later what they were.
Solution: Go into the meeting hoping for those fireworks. It's a sign of passion and creative energy. One method a facilitator might employ in this scenario is to discuss the topic with the leader and another top person prior to the retreat. The game plan: Each person takes an opposite position. At the retreat, each leader states his or her “rehearsed” position to begin the discussion, and then asks each of the others to weigh in.

Organizational Memory Loss

The deadliest sin of retreats is no follow-up. Bottom line: The organization missed out on growth opportunities and sent a deflationary message to participants.
Solution: The end of the retreat is really a beginning. A successful retreat serves as a medium that produces concepts, teambuilding, innovation, new programs, and growth. Before the retreat ends, state the next steps clearly, assign projects, and determine the follow-up timetable. Establish a communication plan for posting the progress of initiatives.

Monday, 22 November 2010

Hosting Africa’s TV King – Shaka Ssali

November 18, 2010 | by Jared Ombui

As the Voice of America was marking 10 years November since the inception of Straight Talk Africa – a television talk show famous in the continent, my mind is illuminated interviewing the host Dr Shaka Ssali early 2006.

After welcoming him to 107 Campus FM studio (a students’ radio), the tall, built and dark complexioned renowned international journalist hits back jokingly “I have no clinic…” He hates the ‘Dr’ title an indication of being humble – a quality a journalist must have.

Being one of the serious interviews to conduct as a journalism student, I was tensed to host the Africa’s TV King. His voice was clear and powerful. He looked straight into my eyes. I don’t remember him blinking. On the other side, the studio mobile phone tossed with heated questions.

Anyway, the interview went on in a tiny studio double the size of an African toilet. I left the door open after-all the air conditioner was down. I didn’t want my guest to boil inside his grey suit with tiny white vertical stripes.

Shaka holds a doctorate in cross cultural communication and history from UCLA in California, USA. He received several journalism honors and a former Ford Foundation fellow.

This interview was not only a “round-table” for Mass Communication students to air myriad questions, but Makerere University, Kampala at large.

His purposed-visit to Uganda was to highlight the role of the media in building a much desired democratic space to journalists and journalism students. He emphasized that democracy as a process needs time and participation of the society. “It is not an incident or an event.”

Before the interview, there were “allegations” that he (Shaka) was an agent for Uganda’s leading opposition party, Forum for Democratic Change (FDC). He later clarified that he was not engaged in any political activity or with a political party (FDC) whatsoever.

Congratulations Shaka Ssali and Straight Talk Africa for making 10 years of igniting democracy in the black continent.

Be “better and not bitter” as you listen to the interview with Dr Shaka Ssali on 107 Campus FM – Uganda, 18th January, 2006.

Listen to the audio at

Thursday, 28 October 2010

A Taste of Milégé: Repainting Uganda

Milégé Afro Jazz Band started out in January 2009 with a message of love and tolerance for all humankind through universal language of music—a fusion of classical jazz and traditional African sounds. It is a perfect blend of modern and traditional that signifies the place of contemporary Africa in a global village.
The name “milege” is derived from the Luo word for a rattle-like bell worn around the ankle during traditional dances that herald the arrival of the chief.

The Milégé sound reflects passion as the drums resonate a celebration of joy, love and happiness, soft, delicate and melodious is the harmony as the rhythm bounces along—fiery when fast, soothing when slow. This seven-member band promises to bring a new meaning to jazz by incorporating African culture and tunes while showcasing originality in its compositions.

It is in this spirit that Milégé Afro Jazz Band is headlining a concert Repainting Uganda to illustrate Uganda’s rich cultural diversity. The event scheduled for 29th October will serve as a platform to expose Ugandans to the rich talent that exists within their country. This is also the month that Uganda marks her independence. So, it is as good as it gets.

For more information about Milégé, go to but for a taste of their music, download this mix that I did for my listening pleasure and now sharing it with the world.

Wednesday, 20 October 2010

A Case for a Noble Profession

Dear Susan,

I became a teacher by the time the Ministry of Education had declared that there was need to train more teachers and I was among those who were forced to that profession. I spent two weeks at the Registry office begging him to change the course. The registry became very curious and asked why l desperately needed to change that noble profession. I told him while at school I was very stubborn, naughty, full of mischief and that I did not want to be treated in the same way. The gentleman laughed and told me I would remain in that profession and he predicted for those reasons I would be a good teacher and would be grateful to him many years to come and today I can never thank him enough why?

The teaching profession is not about methodology but its a perfect understanding between a teacher and a student, it is a spiritual/sacred feeling, a mission, an ideal that arises betwen a teacher and a student and this help us to construct a better world and future by opening minds and lowering walls.

Teaching means youth, you are young all the time, you meet young people and you feel young (ask Bitamazire) Ed-Uganda's Minister of Education

Its an art as you create different ways to impart knowledge, ability, skills and moral character for intellectual development. The teacher shares the parents' responsibility and directly involves promoting health, mental and moral life of children.

While the teaching profession promises no financial prizes equal to those obtained in law, engineering the material rewards that teaching brings are not the chief reasons for going into it. In my scenario Namasagali gave us the opportunity to enjoy, practice and excel coz teaching was not only confined to the classroom but it included extra curricular development, technical planning, policy making and instructional design. Father encouraged us to grow, experiment and learn different ways to promote the profession. He always reminded us that this is a noble profession and for it to remain so we had to develop its full potential otherwise society would suffer a permanent loss. So Susan some of those challenges you sent below are some of the things that made teaching very interesting and humorous ....

Good day, Lau

Wednesday, 15 September 2010

Is it Still in Our Common Interest?

The Commission for Africa [which was set up by Tony Blair, when he was British Prime Minister] has released a report, which follows up on the one published in 2005. It examines what has happened in Africa since then and conducts an assessment of the progress made against each of the recommendations made five years ago.

In a statement, the Commissioners said:

“There is much to celebrate. African governments have done more than ever before to promote business and investment. Donors have supported this by boosting their support to infrastructure and providing the aid and debt relief that has allowed African governments to increase their expenditure in key areas such as health, education and agriculture.

But there remains much to be done. Progress on reforming international trade rules has been dismal; donors are still providing less in aid than their commitments; and African governments are still not investing as much as they promised in key areas. That is why we believe this review is timely, and why we believe it is right to renew a number of the recommendations.....because they have yet to be fully implemented........"

They go on to say ".....Africa’s development requires a range of measures, with African governments in the lead supported by the international community...."

This is where it begs the question, can we Africans do it on our own instead always asking for help from donors, international community? It is indeed in our common interest as Africans muster all our energies and synergies as well as available resources to work out how we are going to do it. Since this report is going to form part of discussions at the upcoming UN MDG Summit on 20 September, can our leaders use this opportunity, get together and find a formula to do it without begging donors, international community for help to solve Africans' own problems.

The report can accessed here

Saturday, 4 September 2010

We Need More Than Vuvuzelas For Uganda Cranes

Today, Uganda Cranes hosts Angola's Palancas Negras (Black Antelopes) at Namboole Stadium in Kampala. It is one of the matches for qualification to 2012 Africa Cup of Nations. Despite expectation that we are expected to give our all in support to the national side, I am not keen on having my heart broken for the umpteenth time.

While we may need to support Cranes, Uganda's football needs more than vuvuzelas on such Saturdays to get things right. It is a process that has to start from the grassroots to the very top. We scream ourselves hoarse then towards the end of the campaign, there are those mathematical calculations we start to 'guesstimate' bse Cranes didn't score enough away goals or win emphatically.

In the final analysis, I don't have much hope in UG's chances in getting to the 2012 Cup of Nations.....the whole FUFA administration, search for upcoming talent, football league, finances, fans support, media, corporate sponsorship, government support/budget et cetera will have to be fine tuned and tweaked to work in sync. Only then can we be prepared to take on the world. It is only then that Uganda will win more awards than just the CECAFA 'thing' [which has become boring].

Food for thought: Why is it that there are more fans of English Premiership clubs in Uganda than for the national team? More media coverage of the lives of the Premiership players and their WAGs than just results of matches from our own football league?

Friday, 3 September 2010

Three Million Dollars

Michael Ezra's press conference at which he flashed what seemed a huge amount of money in US dollars has captured headlines and the buzz around the city. Even earning a top headline on Uganda's #1 independent daily!! (Were there no more important stories, Daily Monitor?) More than it being a case of Mr. Ezra debunking talk of being in the red, owing about $2m (or UShs 1 bn) in back taxes and an outstanding loan of UShs 400m, it was a verdict on the kind of journalism we have in Uganda!

Even without asking the necessary questions like "Are you broke?", a little sense of observation and reading between the lines would have shown the journalists that this is a non-story. First off, while 'tycoons' like Sudhir and Karim owns hotels et al, Mulwana is into plastics manufacturing among others, and Kirumira is in real estate among others, Mr. Ezra has no known source of such huge sums of money that he gladly shows off [with the media playing unquestioning praise singer....]. If the press is the watchdog of this society, then it is asleep on the job. Why journalists risk and put a lot at stake in unearthing shady deals like NSSF-Temangalo "procurement or investment" saga; then fail to probe where this guy gets this money from? Definitely, it goes without saying that in many Ugandans' minds...that is the three-million question?

Moreover, just putting two and two together....there are some obvious questions: Why would someone who can casually move around with three million dollars, borrow just UShs 400m (about US$ 200,000) from a bank at an interest rate of more than 20%? Were those genuine dollars anyway? Further still, keen observation and mental calculation (using the picture as a reference), the amount on the table is a little more than US$ 1m. By the way, who mentioned the figure US$ 3m!!! Even Mr. Ezra didn't, as per the Monitor story!! Besides this guy who purportedly ordered for a private plane, bid for Leeds United (why did the deal fall through?), bought a Lamborghini (for Kampala kind of roads?)...are journalists so gullible not to check this up [They don't need to move from their seats, just surf the net, send out a few inquiring e-mails].

Yes, Mr. Ezra may have money but showing cash in public is not the mark of the wealthy or of a successful business man....It is better suited for rappers in music videos (check Make It Rain and many others).

Lastly, this is a personal appeal, the word "tycoon" is an over-cliched in our newspapers; can we give it a break?

Tuesday, 31 August 2010

Land of Confusion

Across Uganda, the ruling political party, National Resistance Movement (NRM), is conducting primaries for its flagbearers for different elective positions in the run up to 2011 general elections. The exercise which was supposed to be conducted yesterday (30th August 2010) has been marred by vote rigging, stuffed ballots, missing voters' names, intimidation, vote buying, administrative incompetencies, among a cocktail of many other woes. In many places, there have been postponements. As the Daily Monitor put it, it is a vote of no confidence! Ugandans should definitely ask themselves, if this is a precursor to 2011?

Meanwhile, the opposition are not faring any better albeit in a different way. One of the parties, Uganda Peoples Congress has opted out of the Inter-Party Cooperation (IPC)-which was envisaged as a coalition of sorts to front a single opponent to President Yoweri Museveni. I think a two-horse race would have been a boon to Uganda's 'democracy' at this stage than "[many] dog[s] barking at an elephant" (Museveni in 2006, any one remember that?). As with many opposition parties in other countries in Africa, unity of purpose and aim, it seems, can not be agreed on like the IPC seemed geared towards. A squabbling divided opposition is a blessing for the incumbent. Museveni has one less headache, may be he should use the opportunity to concentrate on putting his NRM in order. Is it about time?

In other related developments, the display of voters' register winds up today. Though the Electoral Commission (EC) achieved its target of registering 3.5 million new voters, the display exercise has not attracted as much enthusiasm. However, the EC should be commended for the effort and even enabling online access to the register. Props....after the display, there does not appear a clear-charted way forward from question is what happens next?

Tuesday, 17 August 2010

As Wedding Anniversaries Roll By, Some Truths We Should Take With Us

Someone sent me this via e-mail and I decided to post on the blog as a number of my friends and my sister have beeb celebrating wedding anniversaries in the June-August period. This is also all those that come to the blog and could do with this advice or give it to others. Congratulations are in order and all due credit goes to the author/s.


That may sound grim. But here's a secret: Sometimes it's the least romantic parts of marriage that have the most to teach you about yourself, your partner, and the nature of love. Read on for some simple truths that will unlock the surprising treasures and pleasures in your imperfect, unstorybook, real-life love.

1. You will look at the person lying next to you and wonder, Is this it? Forever?

When you get married, you think that as long as you pick the right guy -- your soul mate -- you'll be happy together until death do you part. Then you wake up one day and realize that no matter how great he is, he doesn't make you happy every moment of every day. In fact, some days you might wonder why you were in such a hurry to get married in the first place. You think to yourself, "This is so not what I signed up for."

Actually, it is. You just didn't realize it the day you and your guy were cramming wedding cake into each other's faces, clinking champagne glasses, and dancing the Electric Slide. Back then you had no idea that "for better and for worse" doesn't kick in only when life hands you a tragedy. Your relationship mettle is, in fact, most tested on a daily basis, when the utter sameness of day-in/day-out togetherness can sometimes make you want to run for the hills. That's when the disappointment sneaks in, and maybe even a palpable sense of loneliness and grief. It's not him. It's just you, letting go of that sugarcoated fantasy of marriage that danced in your eyes the day you and your beloved posed in all those soft-focus wedding photos. You're learning that marriage isn't a destination; it's a journey filled with equal parts excitement and tedium.

Waking up from a good dream to face the harsh morning daylight may not seem like a reason to celebrate. But trust me, it is. Because once you let go of all the hokey stories of eternal bliss, you find that the reality of marriage is far richer and more rewarding than you ever could have guessed. Hard, yes. Frustrating, yes. But full of its own powerful, quiet enchantments just the same, and that's better than any fairy tale.

2. You'll work harder than you ever imagined

Early on, when people say, "Marriage takes work," you assume "work" means being patient when he forgets to put down the toilet seat. In your naivete, you think that you will struggle to accommodate some annoying habit, like persistent knuckle cracking or flatulence.

If only it were that easy. Human beings, you may have noticed, are not simple creatures. Your man has mysterious, unplumbed depths -- and from where he sits, you're pretty complicated, too. You have to learn each other the same way that you once learned earth science or world geography. And getting married doesn't mean you're done -- it just means you've advanced to graduate-level studies. That's because every time you think you've mastered the material, he'll change a bit. And so will you. As two people grow and evolve, the real work of marriage is finding a way to relate to and nurture each other in the process.

"It's like losing weight," says Andrea Harden, 45, of Buffalo , NY . "You want it to be a one-time deal. You lost it, now just live. But then you learn it's a lifestyle. That's marriage. The effort is a forever thing." So don't be too hard on yourself -- or him -- on those days when you feel like you're struggling through remedial math.

3. You will sometimes go to bed mad (and maybe even wake up madder)

Whoever decided to tell newlyweds "Never go to bed angry" doesn't know what it's like inside a bedroom where tears and accusations fly as one spouse talks the other into a woozy stupor until night meets the dawn. If this scenario sounds familiar, I've got three words for you: Sleep on it.

You need to calm down. You need to gain perspective. You need to just give it a rest. I've found that an argument of any quality, like a fine wine, needs to breathe. A break in the action will help you figure out whether you're angry, hurt, or both, and then pinpoint the exact source. Maybe the fight that seemed to erupt over the overflowing garbage can is really about feeling underappreciated. Could be you're both stressed out at work and just needed to unload on someone. Taking a break will help you see that, and let go. Or maybe you really do have a legitimate disagreement to work out. Without a time-out, sometimes a perfectly good argument can turn into an endless round of silly back-and-forth, rehashing old and irrelevant transgressions as you get more and more wound up.

Even when you do manage to stay focused and on topic, there are some fights that stubbornly refuse to die by bedtime. And if you stifle your real feelings just to meet some arbitrary deadline, your marriage will surely be the worse for it. "This was a huge lesson for me," says Andrea. "As women we've been trained to make nice. But the whole kiss-and-make-up thing just to keep the peace was eating me up inside. I'd let things build up inside me until I just exploded. Now I wait a while to get hold of myself -- let the emotions settle a bit -- and state my position. Even if that means reopening the fight the next day."

4. Getting your way is usually not as important as finding a way to work together

I can be a bit of a know-it-all. There, I said it. It's really not my intention to be hurtful or brash with people I love. It's just that a lifetime of experience has taught me that in most areas, at most times, I am right about most things. What shocked me several years into my marriage, though, was the realization that the more "right" I was, the more discontented my husband and I were as a couple. See, oddly enough, throughout his life Genoveso has been under the misguided impression that he's right most of the time (go figure!). So we'd lock horns -- often. That is, until I learned a few things.

Namely, that when it comes to certain disagreements, there is no right or wrong -- there is simply your way of looking at things and your husband's. "I used to be very black-and-white earlier in our marriage," says Lindy Vincent, 38, who lives in Minneapolis . "Now I see that I'm not all right and my husband is not all wrong. There's more gray in life than I thought, and that's taught me patience and the value of compromise."

5. A great marriage doesn't mean no conflict; it simply means a couple keeps trying to get it right

Maybe you think that because of my newfound wisdom, Genoveso and I never fight anymore. Ha! As important as it is to strike a balance, it's also important to have a big, fat fight every now and then. Because when you fight, you don't just raise your voices; you raise real -- sometimes buried -- issues that challenge you to come to a clearer understanding of you, your man, and your relationship. I wouldn't give up our fights for anything in the world, because I know in the end they won't break us; they'll only make us stronger.

6. You'll realize that you can only change yourself

Ever seen the '80s sci-fi cult classic "Making Mr. Right?" When the stylish heroine, played by Ann Magnuson, is hired to teach a robot how to act like a human, she seizes the chance to create a perfect guy. A hotshot commercial whiz, she uses her marketing prowess to shape John Malkovich's android character into her personal version of the ideal man -- sensitive, eager to please, and willing to listen.

There is a bit of that makeover fantasy in all of us -- something that makes us believe we can change the person we love, make him just a little bit closer to perfect. We may use support and empathy or shouts and ultimatums, but with dogged conviction we take on this huge responsibility, convinced we're doing the right thing.

Whatever our motives, the effort is exhausting. Transforming a full-grown man -- stripping him of decades-old habits, beliefs, and idiosyncrasies -- is truly an impossible task. And you will come to realize, sooner than later if you're lucky, that it is far easier to change the way you respond to him.

7. As you face your fears and insecurities, you will find out what you're really made of

There were clues when Genoveso and I were dating, especially with the trust thing. Early on, I was supersuspicious of him. He used to say things like, "I'll call you at 8." Then, just to try to trip me up, he'd call at 8. I knew he was up to something, I just couldn't figure out what. The same kinds of experiences followed after the wedding. Except occasionally he would actually mess up. And I had no sense of scale when it came to rating his offenses; everything was a major violation. Whether he teased me about a new haircut or came home late, I seethed for days and even let thoughts of divorce creep into my head. I figured, if he loved me -- really and truly -- this stuff wouldn't happen.

I'd like to be able to say that this irrational behavior lasted only a few months and I eventually worked it out. Kind of, sort of, is closer to the truth. After years of looking deeply into my soul and talking to good friends and the best sister a girl could ever have, I've come to recognize certain things about myself. Not to get all Dr. Phil about it, but I've had to examine my history with an emotionally distant dad and a strong-willed mom and face up to all the ways, both good and bad, that those relationships have affected how I approach my marriage.

That's the strange beauty of marriage: It's full of hard times and hard lessons that no one can ever prepare you for. But in the end, those are the things that give richness to your life together -- and make your love even deeper and stronger than when it began.

Saturday, 14 August 2010

7-11 M.E.M.O.R.I.A.L

A selection of rock tracks I made into a mix, which is inspired by the events of July 11 2010 (now known as 7-11). The following is the tracklist

Intro-Swift Blow to the Evil (prod. by DMG)

Strictly Sorrow (Pink Floyd/EPMD blend)

Runnin’-Lil Wayne (ripped from Prison Break mixtape)

My Last Breath (Evanescence)

Boulevard of Broken Dreams RMX/Sing for the Moment (Green Day/Oasis/Aerosmith/Eminem blend)

Haunted (Kelly Clarkson)

Outro (spoken by DMG)

The mixtape can be downloaded here

Sincerely yours,


Friday, 6 August 2010

Unforgettable Fire: The Story of U2

Book Review

Title: Unforgettable Fire: The Story of U2
Author: Eamon Dunphy
Pages: 392
Publisher: Penguin Books
Reviewer: Mwesigye Gumisiriza

U2 are considered one of the best rock bands and they are currently a top-earning touring act in the world—in 2009 alone, they grossed more than US$300 million. The lead singer, Bono, is perhaps more known to us in the Third World for his philanthropy and social activisim than his music. His band mates, Adam, Larry and Edge are also household names in their own right owing to the phenomenal success U2 has achieved over three decades.

However before the album The Joshua Tree which topped charts in 22 countries and put their names on the rock and roll music scene, they had spent several years playing concerts, touring and had made four albums to create an impact. From the debut album Boy to the follow up October through to War and Unforgettable Fire, the young men from Ireland were thriving for recognition and pushing boundaries with stereotype-defying personalities and spirituality-infused themes. But by tracing their roots, the author, Eamon Dunphy, throws light on the circumstances that formed each of the band members and how they complemented each other when they came together.

The book, at the start, is divided into four chapters which cover each character separately so that the readers are able to understand them first, individually. It also helps us why the subjects they focus on in their music were far from the norm in rock. In other words, exploring religion and addressing social issues such as unemployment, poverty, discrimination were “out of place” in a form of expression that is essentially rebellious and nihilist.

The Ireland that Bono, Adam, Larry and Edge grew up in was deeply divided. Politically, divisions between Republicans and Nationalists in addition to a historical legacy of British colonialism. Socially, a dominant Roman Catholic Church that wielded immense influence in various aspects of life which tended to sideline Protestants and other minorities.

This formed the backdrop as the four teenagers met in high school and a formed a band, initially known as The Hype. But again, these youth were also trying to understand themselves, the world around and discovering music as a way to express themselves. Rehearsing tirelessly to create their sound, playing gigs to get known, crossing borders and making the contacts—radio DJs, music promoters, journalists, other musicians—through which they would make their dream come true. Several years later, eventually their efforts paid off when Rolling Stone, a respected entertainment publication, tagged them “the band of the eighties” even without them having the kind of chart-topping hits that fitted the honour. This was prompted by their performance at Live Aid, a 1985 concert of big names in show business to raise funds for famine relief efforts in Ethiopia, “where they stole the show from the legends of rock music and established themselves as the driving musical force for worldwide political change”.

Though this book is definitely a page-turner for the average rock music or U2 fan, it is equally an interesting read for anyone down for an inspiring story of hard work, determination and success amidst self doubt, search for meaning and the restriction of stereotypes.

Should Terrorism Have Been on the Agenda? Or Been Part of A.O.B?

At the recently held African Union (AU) Summit in Kampala, Uganda, the issue of terrorism took centre stage completely wiping off the scene, maternal and child health, which was the focus for the event. Thanks entirely to the bombings that occurred at a rugby club killing up to 80 people who had gathered there to watch the World Cup final on 11 July. Shortly afterwards, the al Shabaab militia (or whatever it is) claimed responsibility and warned Ugandan troops stationed in Somalia to quit. Al Shabaab claimed to have brought the war home to Uganda, who together with Burundi, is part of an AU peace keeping mission—AMISOM.

Naturally, the AU Summit that started barely a fortnight later focused its attention on Somalia, terrorism and al Shabaab. The prickly issue of changing the mandate of AMISOM from peace keeping to peace enforcement, increasing numbers to 20,000 from the current 6,000 or thereabouts was hotly debated. This view was advanced by IGAD (Intergovernmental Authority on Development). Of course, geopolitics and other wider interests drove the goings on, pouring cold water on IGAD’s proposals. May be the winners here are the soldiers whose pay will be bumped upwards.

While the big men discussed, debated and disagreed, in one of the ill-equipped hospitals in the host country, yet another woman was dying while giving birth or from complications as a result of inadequate care or the lack of access. Statistics from the Ministry of Health indicate that there are 435 deaths per 100,000 live births. Other figures show only 41% of births are attended by skilled personnel while 13.7% of children die before they make five years and 7.6% of infants die before their first birthday. Against this backdrop, in general, Uganda has made some progress towards the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), but it is unlikely to achieve them by the 2015 deadline. By the way, the MDG 4 is “Reduce child mortality” and MDG 5 is “Improve maternal health”.

Compare the above with this! Data compiled by NationMaster show that between 2000 and 2006, there were 29 incidences of terrorism in Uganda with 450 fatalities and 299 injuries. In the same period, using the MOH stats, about 30,000 mothers died while giving birth and thousands of babies passed on before marking a year of life. So, I wonder whether terrorism should be the issue #1 on the 2010 AU Summit agenda and not part of A.O.B—Any Other Business?

PS: Shouldn’t we be thinking of how to improve our emergency response or disaster preparedness? Does anyone like the way the dead and injured were carried on police pick-ups? Or how the two hospitals were overwhelmed by the sheer number of people suddenly flooding their casualty wards and operation theatres.

Friday, 11 June 2010

Back Like Krueger on Elm Street

After a three-month hiatus and a not so power-packed writing on this blog this year, I'm coming back to it in full swing. I'm feeling inspired by the deliberate coincidence with the first World Cup on African soil.

I'm getting to my work ethic of 2008 when this blog had just started. Within the rest of 2010, I have to equal the number of posts; 64 in number. Lately, I have been writing weekly horror-movie inspired briefs to my friends on a number of issues as a way of warming up for the new-look Tales from Abyssinia. Still keeping up with the movie-inspired sway, I like to think of alter-ego being like Freddy Krueger in Nightmare on Elm Street series. Undead, not dying, always coming back to strike.

I'm a versatile writer and readers of this blog will see it for themselves.

Have a great World Cup

Monday, 29 March 2010

So What?

Emmanuel Adebayor has been criticised for wearing a T-shirt spotting a gun to a 50 Cent/G Unit concert. Further, the critics bring up the Angola incident early this year when he and Togo team mates were attacked by gunmen in Cabinda on the way to the Africa Cup of Nations. My word to the critics is "So what? Get off his back!". If anyone has listened to G Unit lyrics, then don't be surprised by a fan came wearing such a T-Shirt to their concert. Surprisingly, one of the loudmouths took her children along to the same concert. Double standards or what? Read on...

City star Adebayor in gun t-shirt row

Mike Keegan

March 27, 2010

City star Emmanuel Adebayor has been condemned after he attended a rap concert wearing a t-shirt featuring a picture of a gun. The Blues ace was snapped wearing the shirt, which shows a white revolver on a black background, at gangster rapper 50 Cent's gig at the M.E.N. Arena. Adebayor, 26, went to the concert with team-mate Kolo Toure.

Leading anti-gun campaigner Ermina Bell, who took two of her children to the concert, hit out at Adebayor, saying he 'should know better'.

The striker was on the Togo team bus at the African Nations Cup in Angola just weeks ago when it was ambushed by gunmen. At the time he spoke emotionally about how he cradled the team's press officer in his arms as he lay dying. The team's driver and assistant coach also died.

Mrs Bell, who was awarded the MBE for her campaigning work, hit out at Adebayor's t-shirt. She said: "He more than most should be aware of this. Whether he thinks it or not he is a role model and kids do look up to him. If they see him dressed like this then they will think it is appropriate and copy it.

"Maybe he thought it was an appropriate thing to wear. But he should ask himself: What is this saying to people?"

Mrs Bell also hit out at 50 Cent. She said: "Lots of people were making gun stances and it wasn't nice. The lyrics he was using were clearly promoting being a gangster."

Patsy McKie, from Manchester-based Mothers Against Violence, said Adebayor should explain himself. She said: "It's a difficult one because nobody knows why he was wearing it. "I think he shold come forward and make a statement about what it meant, but it could have been for justifiable reasons."

Adebayor was unavailable for comment.

Monday, 15 February 2010

Lesson in Life: Mousetrap

What to start a new week full of hope and reaffirming my belief in the sense of community....if my brother or sister is in trouble, I have to help him or her out, carry the load and just be there to lend a listening ear...This forwarded e-mail from my sis just it perfect for me to place it on my blog. I don't know the original author. Nevertheless, all credit to you and thanks for this inspiring story.

A mouse looked through the crack in the wall to see the farmer and his wife open a package. What food might this contain? The mouse wondered-he was devastated to discover it was a mousetrap. Retreating to the farmyard, the mouse proclaimed the warning: There is a mousetrap in the house! There is a mousetrap in the house! The chicken clucked and scratched, raised her head and said, "Mr.Mouse, I can tell this is a grave concern to you, but it is of no consequence to me." " I cannot be bothered by it."

The mouse turned to the pig and told him, "There is a mousetrap in the house! There is a mousetrap in the house!" The pig sympathized, but said, I am so very sorry, Mr. Mouse, but there is nothing I can do about it but pray. "Be assured you are in my prayers." The mouse turned to the cow and said "There is a mousetrap in the house! There is a mousetrap in the house!" The cow said, "Wow, Mr. Mouse. I'm sorry for you, but it's no skin off my nose." So, the mouse returned to the house, head down and dejected, to face the farmer's mousetrap alone.

That very night a sound was heard throughout the house -- like the sound of a mousetrap catching its prey. The farmer's wife rushed to see what was caught. In the darkness, she did not see it was a venomous snake whose tail the trap had caught. The snake bit the farmer's wife. The farmer rushed her to the hospital , and she
returned home with a fever. Everyone knows you treat a fever with fresh chicken soup, so the farmer took his hatchet to the farmyard for the soup's main ingredient. But his wife's sickness continued, so friends and neighbors came to sit with her around the clock. To feed them, the farmer butchered the pig. The farmer's wife did not get well; she died. So many people came for her funeral, the farmer had the cow slaughtered to provide enough meat for all of them.

The mouse looked upon it all from his crack in the wall with great sadness. So, the next time you hear someone is facing a problem and think it doesn't concern you, remember -- when one of us is threatened, we are all at risk. We are all involved in this journey called life. We must keep an eye out for one another and make an extra
effort to encourage one another.


One of the best things to hold onto in this world is a friend

Monday, 8 February 2010

From Third to First

Title: From Third World to First: The Singapore Story 1965-2000
Author: Lee Kuan Yew
Pages: xv+729
Publisher: Harper Collins
Reviewer: Mwesigye Gumisiriza

How much does having a foresighted and focused leadership determine the path of development that a country will take? Are some countries just lucky to have had such leaders or do we get the leaders we deserve? Or is it that the leaders we have are mere products of the environment from which they emerge?

Reading this book from a Third World perspective like Africa, one can’t help but feel short-changed. Singapore, which was colonised by the British like many African countries and attained independence during the same period, changed from a gloomy prospect to an industrialised and prosperous state. This is an account of the transformation by the man who was at helm for over three decades.

In the foreword, Henry Kissinger, former US Secretary of State, observes: “Located on a sandbar with nary a natural resource....Singapore seemed destined to become a client state of more powerful neighbours...Lee Kuan Yew thought otherwise...superior intelligence, discipline and ingenuity would substitute for resources”.
When Lee Kuan Yew came into office, his government was confronted by challenges. Economically, it was how to deal with the withdrawal of British naval bases that had provided employment and other economic opportunities. Politically, the Communist opposition and the trade unions were a constant thorn in the side. Externally, due to the Cold War, their foreign policy required walking a tight rope between competing forces and interests.

So Lee convinced Britain to conduct their withdrawal in a way that enabled Singapore adjust to the after effects to its security, sovereignty and economy. He then built an army not only for protection but provision of employment and boosting of national unity. On the latter, Lee also championed education, with English as medium of instruction, as a vehicle to minimise racial divisions and create a highly skilled citizenry for the foreign investment in industry that the government had attracted. To position the country favourably, the government searched for and made products for markets beyond the region and cultivated it as a global financial centre to complement New York, London and Tokyo.

Subsequently, against many odds, Singapore became an environmentally clean state, with decent modern accommodation for the people, an efficient workforce, a sound social security system and a corruption-free bureaucracy. With regard to corruption, he states “We were sickened by the greed, corruption and decadence of many Asian leaders...So, from the very beginning we gave special attention to the areas where discretionary powers had been exploited for personal gain and sharpened the instruments that could prevent, detect or deter such practices”.

The book is divided into three parts. Part I focuses on the beginning and the challenges. In Part II, Lee elaborates on his relations with different leaders and foreign policy with various countries. Though he visited many African states, he says little about them but acknowledges Kwame Nkrumah, Julius Nyerere and Apollo Milton Obote. Part III is where he describes retirement from public office: “The support of the old guard had made possible what we had achieved but it was our joint responsibility to ensure that Singapore continued to be governed by able, honest and dedicated men. The original team had peaked and was running out of steam”.
If I was to give this book to any African president, I would beg him or her to first read the parts about creating a clean government and about passing on the mantle to new leaders.

Friday, 22 January 2010

I Wanna Be Wolf

After starting off the year in depression mode, this is an article that has inspired me for its perpestive of looking at animals and making the comparison with the corporate world. I wanna be wolf...

An Excerpt from Wisdom of Wolves

by Twyman Towery

The attitude of the wolf can be summed up simply: it is a constant visualization of success. The collective wisdom of wolves has been progressively programmed into their genetic makeup throughout the centuries. Wolves have mastered the technique of focusing their energies toward the activities that will lead to the accomplishment of their goals.

Wolves do not aimlessly run around their intended victims, yipping and yapping. They have a strategic plan and execute it through constant communication. When the moment of truth arrives, each understands his role and understands exactly what the pack expects of him.

The wolf does not depend on luck. The cohesion, teamwork and training of the pack determines whether the pack lives or dies.

There is a silly maxim in some organizations that everyone, to be a valuable member, must aspire to be the leader. This is personified by the misguided CEO who says he only hires people who say they want to take his job. Evidently, this is supposed to ensure that the person has ambition, courage, spunk, honesty, drive - whatever. In reality, it is simply a contrived situation, with the interviewee jumping through the boss's hoops. It sends warnings of competition and one-upmanship throughout the organization rather than signals of cooperation, teamwork and loyalty.

Everyone does not strive to be the leader in the wolf pack. Some are consummate hunters or caregivers or jokesters, but each seems to gravitate to the role he does best. This is not to say there are not challenges to authority, position and status - there are. But each wolf's role begins emerging from playtime as a pup and refines itself through the rest of its years. The wolf's attitude is always based upon the question, "What is best for the pack?" This is in marked contrast to us humans, who will often sabotage our organizations, families or businesses, if we do not get what we want.

Wolves are seldom truly threatened by other animals. By constantly engaging their senses and skills, they are practically unassailable. They are masters of planning for the moment of opportunity to present itself, and when it does, they are ready to act.

Because of training, preparation, planning, communication and a preference for action, the wolf's expectation is always to be victorious. While in actuality this is true only 10 percent of the time or less, the wolf's attitude is always that success will come-and it does.