indiscriminate only because i do not want to say random

So this place my new work place, it has taught me this one thing. That nobody is safe from office gossip. You see, every time somebody goes out the door, we (yes, me inclusive) go ahead and tear them to shreds. So for a while I was enjoying the whole trashing people behind their backs, until I realized that I might (very likely) be a subject of it as well. Anyway, that has not stopped me gossiping though. There is a certain thrill you get from hearing all those mean things said about your workmates! Hopefully they enjoy my session as much as I enjoy theirs.

There’s this guy I know that does not like sports. Mary does not even watch soccer. So as a concerned supporter of the Uganda Cranes I asked him this all important question. “Why not?” So he says that as a child he had a traumatic experience with the football. You see, when he was in primary three (note: that is the age when every boy is asking their parents to get them a leather ball at Christmas), he attempted to join his friends in a game of soccer. When the ball came hurtling towards him, Mary shielded himself with his hands. Ball connects with the hands; boy comes off the pitch screaming black and blue. Apparently, “the football hurt my hands.” He probably also broke is fingernails in the process. That little girl is now a thirty something nerdy computer something something. Mary can be reached here.

Anyway, I leave you with this;
This guy buys sunglasses earlier in the day. Bed time draws close and just before he slips into the covers, slips the glasses on. So somebody asks, “But why are you wearing sunglasses to bed?” Guy answers, “Why, what if I dream that I am at the beach?”

Her uncle. he loved her. he used her. and never said sorry

Her uncle Kennedy was awesome. Like that time on New year’s day when he took her out to the beach and bought her beer; enough beer to knock her out cold even if she was only 15. Uncle Kennedy was super cool; he even used to tell her stories about his girlfriends, especially those that were good in bed. He even encouraged her to talk about her sex life, encouraged her to own up to the fact that she was not a virgin any more. Even if she was only 15. And she was still a virgin. Uncle made her feel bad every time she said she was a virgin. He said she was lying. No way could she still be a virgin. He had after all once been her age and knew what kind of mischief girls and boys that age got up to. She loved her uncle Kennedy. He was her best friend. They did not have secrets from each other.

She was never an obedient child Karen. Her mother knew this about her. So when Karen told her mother that school was breaking off a week later than was scheduled, her mother had gone ahead and called the dean to confirm. She was lying again to the dismay of her mother. What was getting into this child? No matter how much she had tried to discipline her, Karen had remained an unapologetic insolent. She was ordered to go back home on the day school broke off or she would have to answer to her mother. But you see, Karen had already made plans with her friends to go dancing the whole week long and she was not about to cancel. What would she tell her friends? That mummy had refused her to go? Never. Her friends were to never find out that she was anything but the hardcore girl who snuck cigarettes and waragi over the school fence and mixed it with her quencher.

The first day after school, Karen and her friends had shacked up in some seedy room her friend’s boyfriend had found them. That night, they’d gone to the disco really early where she had met and danced with a guy till morning. One week later, said guy broke her virginity. She was 16. A week after that at the bus stop, after swearing undying love to her, he waved her off to a fate unknown to her. She had had a good two weeks of fun, but now she could not go back home. With tears streaming down her eyes, some for the new boyfriend she would not see again in a long while and the other tears for the sense of foreboding that was fast engulfing her. She was not ready to face her mother.

Like an epiphany, it hit her half way through the odious bus ride. Uncle Kennedy. Surely he would take her in? He did. Into his one room apartment with the one bed they would inevitably have to share. They talked all night that first night and every night after that for a week. She did not question him when before they drifted off, he took her in his arms in an embrace. Uncle was just trying to keep her warm, is what she kept telling herself, even if deep down she knew better. Then he started to roam his hands over her body, and fondle her breasts and urging her to turn around and kiss him. Humiliated disgusted and disgraced, she had stormed out of the bed. “That is disgusting.” she had answered to her uncle’s query. Insulted and hurt, Uncle Kennedy has demanded to know why that was. After everything he had done for her, taking her in when she had no place to go, why was she treating him that way?

She did not understand why uncle was being this way. He was her uncle for golly’s sake. And not only that, everybody knew that he was HIV positive. He looked it too. He was awful skinny and his fast thinning hair had turned an ugly brown. Did he want to give it to her too? And now why was he angry with her? Could she not understand that what he was doing to her was wrong? She slept on the couch that night. Uncle Kennedy did not talk to her for about a week, but she was still too scared to go home. When he did eventually speak to her, it was to scold her and make her feel worthless. But anything was better than going back, so she endured it for as long as it lasted…

Karen eventually went back home

Her mother was so relieved to see her and all she wanted to do was hug her

Years later, Uncle Kennedy got born again, but he has never asked Karen for forgiveness. She is still close to her uncle regardless of everything, even though she still has questions about that night. will she ever get answers?

World Aids Day; Breaking my silence

My cousin Immaculate. She was in S.3. Her mother had sent her to live with us when she was in P.7 after catching her with a man in the toilet, hoping that my dad, quite the disciplinarian would turn her into a disciple. She was in S.3. That was when she died. I remember how terrified I was of her. I remember how pale and skinny she looked. She vomited a lot. My dad fed her on a lot of eggs. And juice. And drugs that looks like stained glass. She liked to bask in the sun. Then when she could not take in any more, she would beckon me to help her up, and back in the house. But I would run off scared and beckon the house help. What if I caught whatever it is that she had. What if my lips chapped as hers had? What if I contacted those sores that I saw on her arms, legs feet, and hands? I did not know what it is she was suffering from, but I knew I never wanted it. She died a few months later. In our house. I was 10. At her burial, I heard people whisper. It was Aids that had done it to her. I told myself then that I did not want to die from HIV. Even if then I did not know how one contacted it.

She was my favorite cousin in the village Naome. She was always full of life, always chatting, and eager to show me around the farm and help me pick guavas. But when I went to the village that particular Christmas, everything had changed. Naome was not there to greet us. I found her lying in her bed, stark naked, moaning and writhing in pain. I took one look at her skinny body and knew immediately what she was dying from. Her huge eyes turned and stared at me blankly when I walked in. i ran out of the room and never went back. Five days later, at day break, she passed on. Aids had claimed yet another one. I was 12.

I find I cannot compose myself on this one. I had grown into a teenager. My dad and I clashed a lot. He was not that happy with me and I understood why. Come visiting day, he sent my elder sister to visit me. Had I been that bad that my father could not even bear to come and visit me? My sister had told me that he was busy. I did not buy it. I set out to read hard at school, maybe then I would win my father back. I found out from my mum later that father had been sick. Later that holiday, I noticed my dad was not his usual vivacious self. I also noticed he had stopped wearing shorts, his favorite weekend do. Once when he was jumping into his car, I noticed the sores on his legs. Wait. I had seen those sores before on Immaculate. I was horrified and mortified. Surely my dad did not have Aids. He was my father. He was not supposed to have any such humiliating diseases. I approached my elder sister and asked her. She confirmed my worst fears. She also pointed to the woman that had given him it. I was disgusted, and terrified, and I knew it would be only a matter of time. Three months later, the teacher on duty came to fetch me out of class during night preps. My dad had passed. Aids had claimed him. I was 13.

And many more…

Today I remember the many lives that have been lost to the Aids blight. I celebrate especially those that were dear to me. To those that are living with it and those that fight every day. To my little adopted sister who by no fault of hers was born with HIV, and my mum who fasts and prays for a miracle every day, for my little sister to get better.

Imagine the possibility of an HIV free generation…
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