Abong Brian: Isa Lie?

Isa Lie
Black skin is amazing. I used to think we were dark because well, we live around the tropics and it’s hot over here. Anything I had subjected to heat in my 10 or so years of existence by that time had turned darker, getting to my skin tone, then darker to purplish black. The whites therefore were light because it’s colder where they be. I reasoned. Physics later added to my opinion when I learnt that white reflects heat, but then why weren’t Africans white? All this heat being reflected back would have been an effective weapon against global warming. And what about the inhabitants of the Sahara and Arabian Deserts? Long story short, I used to think about quite a few things and I still do. However, I now also think black skin and cold weather don’t mix, at least mine doesn’t.
Ash to ash, dust to dust
Lotion and Vaseline fall under the same category as makeup in my book. Since I started dressing myself, I’ve applied little to none of that stuff. If I’m wearing closed shoes, why apply lotion to my feet? That was the norm, and it worked. Admittedly, my body would get ashy, in those ash friendly places like between the fingers, elbows and feet. But never has my entire body gotten ashy, until recently. It was like someone dusted a blackboard eraser all over my body. DaFaq was going on? Winter was turning me white, and not the privileged type. Anyway, as someone who cannot identify as metro sexual or whatever, I don’t believe men should wear makeup. If you’re an actor or staring in a music video to launch your career as a sex symbol, cool. But after that, wipe that shit off. Even ladies I believe shouldn’t wear makeup. Why? Because it’s probably the reason the special ladies in our lives take ages to get dressed. I say special because I won’t wait for any insert random female name here. Also, its fraud. Plain and simple. Makeup is obtaining food, compliments, sex, money, attention, affection etc. under false pretence. But the a shyness got to extremes, and I decided I may need to apply makeup.
Makeup, You? Howly?
Normally jokes are shared between two people, or a group that has its major defining feature as their proximity at that very moment. In my case however, the person I was with started laughing, then people around us also started laughing. And we were walking, so this was like a live feed of a joke. The problem was, I didn’t get the joke. A chuckle, choke and a few tears later, she asked me a question. Why are your legs so ashy? And burst out laughing again.
Now I got it, I was the joke. I looked down at my feet, and yep. It’s like I had a second skin, some places were grey, others black. Others glittered as the sun hit at weird angles. This wasn’t funny, I was scared. My legs and feet had never looked like this. I was wearing my most famous shorts, the things I’ve worn almost everywhere. Every trip around Uganda, my one trip to Europe, in the swimming pool and recently, to South Africa. And never had my bottom half looked so much like the walls of an abandoned smoke house.
This therefore called for drastic measures. See, I usually buy a bottle of lotion and use it for about a year or so. Between my fingers, on my fading tattoo and my feet when I’m in my trademark African crafts. Since the Ashy day however, that has changed. I apply that cold stuff whenever I’m not in a hurry; on my legs, the parts of my back I can reach, chest and my drumsticks. At times I just avoid exposing too much skin. But this is a lie.
Isa Lie?
My lotion is like it was designed in an experimental army base. The terms used range from intensive care, multi-layer to micro droplets, all of which should help “restore dry skin to reveal its natural glow” and “soothe extra dry skin”. Yep, that’s what I needed, unless ashy skin isn’t dry skin. But after over 3 months of applying almost daily and the bottle running out, if I miss a single day, the ash is present. What kind of scam is this? You promise one thing, but deliver only if used daily? Isn’t this slavery of some sort? Vaseline-did I think this would be possible.
| Abong Brian

Mountain Slayers Uganda: 7hills

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Suzan, Latim and Diana catching up as we walked through Kololo

Last weekend on Sunday, I , plus a group of 30 people, embarked on the longest walk I’ve ever made by far. We covered a distance of about 23KMS in approximately 6 hours. I was able to do this in the company of the Mountain Slayers Uganda who organized the walk.

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Some of the slayers making the last stretch to the Lubiri. Palace of the Kabaka (King) of Buganda.

I was introduced to this group by a Brian, a friend who is already part of the group. Mountain Slayers Uganda are a group of people who are passionate about traveling, mountain climbing and hiking. The group was started in 2015 after Paul Lumala, one of the founders, had an amazing experience climbing mountain Rwenzori. The group has been to a number of places in and out of Uganda some of which include mountain Mt. Muhavura, Sempeya Hotsprings, Mt.Rwenzori.

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The squad making the ascension to the Namirembe hill

I had always wanted to join them on one of the trips they had planned this year but my schedule and finances had never allowed until the 7 hills chapter which was happening in town, a one day event and practically free. I had to go! Plus, it had been long since I was out shooting so it was crucial for me to get out there and shoot.

 

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Liz nursing her leg which had just recovered from a muscle pull. It slowed her down but she did all 23KMS.

Arrival time at Lugogo was 6.30am and we began the walk at 7am. We covered these 7 hills; Nsambya, Kibuli, Rubaga, Mengo, Namirembe, Old Kampala and Kasubi hill. It was a tough one! The weather was great at first but we got roasted by the blazing heat in the afternoon. The dust, the dehydration, the salt sweating, and the traffic congestion made the walk less enjoyable but made the feeling of accomplishment all the more worthwhile at the end. We made it to the last stop of the walk which was at the Kasubi hill. After resting for a few minutes we jumped into matatus and returned to Lugogo for a scrumptious lunch at Torino.

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Solomon stretching it out at the Namirembe hill before we set off again
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Sangoma making a call to the lead team to find out their exact location.

The disappointing Adonai paintball experience

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We were all looking forward to enjoying a few paintball games at Adonai. It had been a while since the Ssezibwa and griffin falls trip so paintball came up just at the right time. We get to Adonai and the first red flag we see was the lousy zip line set up just at the gate. We didn’t mind it since we hadn’t come for that so we proceeded to the waiting/ dressing area where we also signed disclaimer forms that absolved Adonai from any responsibility should an injury be sustained when one takes their protective gear off. That document gives one the impression that things get real down at the shooting course. Everything was good and you could feel the anxiety in the air as we waited for the paintball course to free up.

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The second red flag was the old, torn, faded gowns they handed for us to switch into before leaving for the course. We figured since it’s a muddy place having fancy gowns would be a waste so we everyone grabbed what fit, got a paintball gun and we followed one of the referees, Nassim I believe, down to the muddy shooting course. We handed the guns over to be filled up with the green paint balls and gas placed into the small gas cylinders that power the gun propulsion system.

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We were even taken through the rules of engagement, split into teams, we deployed into the battlefield, whistles were blown for the games to start and that’s when things started going downhill.

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The paintball guns kept jamming, most of them had gas leaks so the gas run out faster than it normally should which all led to to incessant pausing of the game. We practically didn’t do any battle because the guns failed to work.

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What was disappointing was that there was never a sign at any one time that we were getting a refund despite the fact that they didn’t deliver the paintball experience as advertised. They kept receiving money from clients like everything was okay and running smoothly. I don’t believe management at Adonai believes in refunds because efforts to reach them went in vain so we left very unhappy people. We got scammed!

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The only thing that saved the day was the pork and booze some of us drowned in later in the night. They helped wash away the feelings of disappointment, anger and embarrassment that creeped into most of us that day after that immensely disappointing paintball experience at Adonai.

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Lumix Business

A few days ago I acquired a new small back up camera; a Lumix TZ8. After experiencing the paranoia generated by the fairly large Nikon in people, the Kasokoso incident being the worst yet, it was time to go small. The target was something that could easily fit in a pocket and something that had one rechargeable battery. I had to forget about most of the things I’d have insisted but the camera having one rechargeable battery wasn’t among them.

A couple of years ago, I used two cameras that needed at least two pairs of small double(AA) batteries to power on and it was a real pain! it gets worse because most of the affordable (AA) batteries in Uganda don’t last that long ,being the knock offs that they are, especially when they are used in gadgets like cameras. I can’t properly express how much of a relief it was to finally make the switch to using only one large rechargeable battery!

Anyway, back to the Lumix. Yet to know how well it performs on all fronts but the usage tests have begun. The choice to get a 12mp point and shoot camera was made because the practice has to go on without the burden of having to carry a large camera all the time. I will be posting more pictures from it soon. In the meantime, here a some grainy test shots I took at night with the flash switched off. It definitely struggles at night.

256faces: Arinaitwe Andrew

We met Arinaitwe Andrew on our way to Ntinda through the Kyambogo University short cut. He vends fruit on a one wheeled cart which he has to push around door to door to meet old and potential clients.We were hungry so we stopped him and bought some fruit. He’s been doing it for over five years since he entered the city. He sells mostly pineapples, mangoes, water melons. This time he only had delicious yellow mangoes on his cart.

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While at work he hides his dreaded hair under a hair sock. He was losing potential clients who were willing to support him but were uncomfortable with the dreads most being under the assumption that he would spend what they give him on his hair instead of doing something more productive. So he usually lets them out only at night.