Photo of the day:The hand & The light

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The man with 15 children.

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Cechome.com

Did you know that there are Ugandans in this
century who have 15 children? I didn’t. Yes, you
read that right, 15 children! My Grandmother had
13 children with my Granddad so this is not
entirely new but that was a normal figure then; in
the 30’s, 40’s and 50’s, where I thought having
that many kids had been left. Clearly I was very
wrong! A father to one of these clusters of
children confessed this to me during the
concluded Kampala City Festival. It was one of
those random meets I’ve had this year; where a
stranger walks up to me and starts up a
conversation, something I have learnt to accept
and sometimes endure as an introvert. He met me
under a shade of a retail shop just by the street
hiding away from the scorching sun light.

I was sitted on the shop’s staircase enjoying the
view of the lovely and, mostly, curvy crowd when
he gladly joined me with a plastic bottle in his
hands; a Uganda Waragi plastic bottle which he
slid into his right leg sock after taking a few sips
( something I forgot to ask him about.) The sock
move left me quite puzzled honestly and asking
tonnes of questions like, who was he hiding the
Ug bottle from? Was he scared that one of his
kids will bump into him drinking on a staircase to
a retail shop? Was he worried that someone
would snatch the plastic bottle out of his hands
as he sipped? Lots and lots of questions.

After sipping, he immediately started ranting on
and on about almost each and every thing, from
how he felt the carnival this year looked like one
large funeral service to how the young girls are
dressing skimpily these days…yata yata yata. I
don’t know how we got to talking about his
children but it came up sometime during our 3
hour conversation (yes, I was counting each
minute). He told me he didn’t get the chance to
go to school but he has made sure all his 15
children are given that chance (impressive,
right?).
There was something in his voice as he told me
this; something that sounded like the pride of a
man who has achieved more than he thought he
would, a man who has managed to beat all the
odds to survive, live comfortably and make sure
his kids have a better shot at life than he did. He
enjoyed telling me about his children and I mostly
sat there offering my one word responses but
intently listening in slight shock at a man taking
care of 15 children who, I might add, didn’t look
like the kind of guy you would expect to have 15
children. I just made sure not to forget about the
plastic Uganda Waragi bottle he was sipping on.

Photo Credit: Cechome.com

The Meet: Robert Adekule

Robert Adekule
Robert Adekule

You are enjoying the view of the hilltop in Kisaasi and taking a few shots of the landscape as you have done many times before. You finish up taking in the breath taking view and start heading to some other location then, suddenly someone shouts out something at the back. There are not many people on the hill but your brain convinces you that the ‘shout’ is not for you. Plus, you don’t want to be that guy who just turns the exact second someone shouts out at anyone on the street, it’s not macho at all. So you continue looking straight ahead as you stroll along. You hear the shout again. You try making out the words this time and it sounds something like “hey man!”. Shit! It finally sinks in that the shout is most probably directed at you so you wait a little, still trying hard not to be that guy who turns immediately, then turn back curious to see where these shouts are coming from.

Robert Adekule
Robert Adekule

You see a dark-skinned guy heading towards you. He is dressed in a red t-shirt, dirty grey jean shorts and grey Nike trainers with a hint of light blue scattered around the Nike logo, the shoe sole and on the shoe collar (BTW, did you know a shoe had a collar? We’re learning people). He’s holding a black and red hedge shear in his hands which looks enormous and obviously scary but you’re not letting those shears get the better of you so you act calm and start walking his way…slowly. He mumbles something about the pictures you are taking. You are not sure if he is asking about the pictures you take in general or those particular pictures you have taken next to what might be his property so you ask him to clarify. He says he wants to know how much you charge for a picture. You let out a soft sigh of relief which you obviously hide from him and then you take your eyes off the enormous shears.

Robert Adekule
Robert Adekule

You tell him you don’t charge for pictures to which he responds with a confused look. You tell him you don’t print pictures but he still has that confused look on his face so you tell him you don’t put pictures on paper. He nods his head like it’s an ‘ah ha’ moment but he looks disappointed. You tell him you can still take his picture. He lights up and immediately gets into a low position; something you have seen for the first time; most people prefer you to tell them where and how pose for a picture. He looks straight at the camera as he hangs on to the shears. You start clicking and ask what his name is. He says he’s Robert; Robert Adekule. He looks after his brother’s home located on the hill. You ask him about the shears and he says he was trimming the outer hedge of the house before he saw you. You keep clicking and ask him if he has an email address where you can send the pictures. He wears that confused look again. You ask him if he has heard about the Internet. He looks like he is trying to remember something really distant so you stop that line of questioning. He looks serious in most of the pictures you have taken so far which you usually wouldn’t mind but his serious is too serious for a picture. You say something about how he looks like a soldier with his serious face and he smiles as you keep clicking. You show him the shots you have taken and he is excited. He gives you his number and he shows you where he stays. You promise to drop the final shots at his place someday. His face lights up again. You say your goodbyes and you move to your next location.

PS: Oh, I almost forgot, here is the first shot I took of Robert with the shears

Robert with shears
Robert with shears