Wednesday, 30 December 2015


My mother is my real definition of a full woman.

She is the woman who left work every day at lunch time so she could breast feed each and every one of her children. She is also the one who held the fort down when my father was away for one scientific escapade or the other, in one country or another. She is the one who, when asked what he could bring her each time he was away, always answered with either a certain set of saucepans or a particular brand of cutlery. I personally would have asked for shoes or something... My mother is the woman who supported my father when he was running some crazy experiment in one of the bedrooms, she supported him even when she didn’t get it. My mother is the woman who still believes in true love.

My mother is the woman who smuggled a pack of sausages for us in her handbag during school visitation days when home-cooked food was not allowed. She is the same person who always called relatives to tell them of an abrupt plan that needed me to return to Kampala whenever I was upcountry visiting, felt home sick and needed an excuse to end the visit so abruptly. She is the one who made me throw away my first black nail polish. She is also the one who told me my name was from the first woman professor in the world just to inspire me (I googled it, big lie).

My mother contacted our long lost baby sitter over twenty years later just because the baby sitter had the right type of popcorn seeds she wanted to plant in our backyard, just so we could have home grown popcorn. My mother makes her own jam. She also forced us to learn how to cook everything, and I mean everything, whether you ate it or not. She bathed me when I was too weak. I mean being bathed by your mother as a child is one thing, but try it when you’re over twenty, conscious and sober!! She is the kind that shows up to watch me in my adult pantomimes, even if she has to stifle some yawns. My mother turned our house into a home.

My mother is the woman who oozes strength. I have never seen her beg, never seen her give up, and never seen her defeated. She is the one who still sees the world in black and white, a clear line between right and wrong. She is a hard worker, who can’t stay home for more than a day doing nothing; she would rather start digging or something. She is the woman who will give away her last coin. She is the one who has taught us to learn huge life lessons from things as small as a burnt cookie to those as big as death. She is the kind that will physically dodge the bullets while watching a 3D movie in the cinema. She will also drink a full glass of wine even though she knows all she needs is two sips to get her drunk. She is also the kind that made up new ways for us to cram the periodic table in chemistry and spell really long complicated words.

My mother is a believer. She gave us the privilege of growing up in a spiritual environment; gave me the greatest gift anyone could give; salvation. She is a philosopher; her psychological mind games are second to none. My mother loves us; you can see it in the way she smiles to herself when she imitates one of us. She is also the only one who can call me fat, or tell me I’ve put on more than enough kilos and still get away with it. I would say when I grow up I want to be like her, but I’m already grown. I don’t have any children yet so I can’t expertly talk about being a mother and all, but as my mother always says about my father, I have known true love.

My mother is my hero.

Happy birthday mum.

Monday, 14 December 2015

Can you see me?

That’s me at the back over there. No, not the one holding the large blue umbrella, further back… Yes, that one, the one with the knowing smile and a few drops of rain on my face from standing just slightly outside the umbrella. It’s okay if you don’t notice me at first, that’s how it usually is, and that’s how I’ve come to like it.

I walked about ten kilometers to be at school today, but that’s okay because other than that, I may have had to go without lunch again. I was happy to come today; it’s been five long days at home. Five days without lunch. Five days of no movement because it was that time of the month and I could not afford those fancy sanitary towels that I saw in the television commercial through the window of the brick house that’s just on my way as I walk home every evening. My friends have warned me about passing by that brick house. They say that if one of the older boys catches you there after dark, you have to become his wife. I’m among the lucky ones; I’m turning fourteen and my father has not yet spoken of marrying me off. Sister Mena was not so lucky; she had to go with the rich man from the town even if she did not want to.

My best friend advised me to get pregnant. She says if I do, I would not have to deal with the monthly mess for nine whole months. I won’t have to miss out on the lunch at school either, but I don’t know. I rather like the mathematics we are learning in class now. I like to sit on the floor next to Omiya, cross my legs and write numbers from 1 to 100. Usually, I have to squeeze in between Omiya and Abwoc, and the dust from the floor affects my breathing. Sometimes it’s so dark and there is no electricity to see what I’m scribbling but I want to become like Nurse Maureen. She says if I too want to own the white clean uniform one day, I have to write all the time. I’m smiling today because I have written three sets of multiplication tables today and not one of them was incorrect.

Can you see me?

That’s me seated on the brown wooden chair, in front of almost all the elders in my community. What do you see when you look at me? Can you tell that my back aches from carrying this seven months old pregnancy? Can you tell that I’m in pain, physically and emotionally? Do you see that when my father died, and my mother ran mad, I had to do what I thought best in order to survive?

Can you tell that I dropped out of school and found me a man that I thought would provide for me?
I bet you cannot see that this man has since disappeared from the village, leaving me to fend not only for myself now, but for my baby as well. I bet you would never tell by looking at me that I’m too ashamed to return to school even after the baby is born. I feel like it’s been way too long, and I feel I would be too old. I’ll bet too that you cannot tell that I’m only fifteen.

Can you see me?

You look, yes, but you don’t really see me. You don’t see the responsibility I carry on my shoulders. You don’t see that underneath my threadbare white shirt with red stripes, underneath that steady gaze, is the weight of the world. You don’t see that after my midday meal at school, I have a family to care for. You don’t see that all we have left is each other, my brothers and I. You don’t really see that if I don’t bring back some food tonight, if I don’t find some firewood that I can sell for money, we will not be eating. 
You do not see that I sleep with one eye open, looking at the door-less entrance of the grass thatched hut our parents built before they died, watching for snakes as well as people. You do not see that this very same white shirt with red stripes is what keeps me warm at night. You do not see that I am nine years old.

I see you.

I see the pity in your eyes. I see how you nod and shake your head with concern when you learn that 11% of us are orphans, and that all 300 or so of us share one latrine. I see you writing these things down with a fierce determination. I see you wondering how I can smile so genuinely when I have been through so much, when I have so little…

You should instead see that I’m beating the odds. You should see that I’m among the few 6% of children here in my village that have seen the inside of a classroom. You should see that I’m a role model; that if I can make it, then so can many others. You should see that my situation is not final at all; with the right effort and time, I could look very different. You should see the future in me. 

You should see hope.


Wednesday, 9 December 2015

I don't want to know

I'm in awe of this poetry... so the few custom made pieces I have, I intend to share sparingly. 
Enjoy :-)

I don't want to know about you,
About those boys you talk with, on your phone,
Or the girls,
The ones you flash your heart to, and they laugh and you laugh,
The ones you like to try and taste
The ones who come and leave
Empty tins, rolling Stones
While I sit here waiting for you
Gathering moss,
Those running waters pouring where everyone pours
As I quietly wait, running deep for your soul.

I don't want to know.

You're piercing my midnight thoughts
While you and your boys, and girls
Exchange morning thoughts each time you meet.
You're the sack I poured into
Which had holes,
The shoes I sought to fill
Which had no soles.

I loved you deliberately
Yours was whenever you felt like it
So perhaps I don't want to know how you are
And I'm okay with it.

But am I okay with it?
This bittersweet when you leave
And come back when you like
A revolving door in your life
Always walking in and out.

I despise the feelings I've grown since I met you.
They neither heal
Nor completely destroy
I'm a walking effigy

In love with you.

The writer of this article, Joel Benjamin Ntwatwa is a blogger. He loves literature, African literature, and is reading more of it lately even participating in the Africa Reading Challenge. He has experience in Social Media, Content Management, and graphics ….He writes about his experience with see(k)ing God, creative fictional prose and poetry,  and on numerous topical issues at