The Nalubaale Tale

When we rolled out to start this blog site, we were inspired by the very natural passion that runs thick in our blood. A country whose shortcomings should never overshadow the limitless beauty it possesses, the beauty that roots deep into not just the identity,  I personally flaunt ever so proudly but also the very DNA that we have inherited from our ancestors. The very DNA that inspired our founding fathers who set a uniform precedence that we have over numerous decades of our existence willingly embraced, “For God and my Country”. A country that’s without a doubt the Pearl of Mighty Africa.

Over the years, we have politicized every achievement that this beautiful country has realized henceforth drawing out of logical perspective. We have made arguments about this landlocked country that sometimes do not reflect the journey we take or give this republic the credit it fully deserves. While many of us have lost our selves all forms of distillates and brews that are to a large percentage produced from the very country we call home, I ventured out into the night bliss of the new bridge; the Nalubaale Bridge. Now, I have been in many parts of this resplendent flower we call Uganda but nothing in my 23 years of life beats this marvelous of architectural marvel that moves you across the longest river in Africa.

I honestly haven’t comprehended if it’s the fine architectural masterpiece or the fascinatingly blinding display of overwhelming lighting that has me drawn to this indescribable amusement, or both. Anyway, what I have to say is that the Nalubaale Bridge is a work of sheer commitment, endless effort, an,  determination not just to ease transportation but to ease it in sheer style.

If I was Zari Hassan, the tourism ambassador who hails from Busoga, my pivot of attraction would move away from my delicious bodily curves and eye-opening glimmer that has become a popular song and I would redirect it to the newly commisioned Nile Bridge. Gosh! It’s not just a work of art but a historical step to a future we should have realized yesterday.
As I walked gently across the new bridge, with a bottle of my favorite distillate clutched hard in my right hand, I couldn’t fail to appreciate the transportation advancement that was displayed right in front of my naked eyes. The lights that shone like the envision of the very Shangri-la that fairy tales sing about and the night view of the pitch-black surfaced the Nile that blew an unwinding breeze which swept off the journey’s fatigue off of me. I grew fondest of the vast endless land that I have called home. Uganda has limitless potential, to grow, to flourish, and to put a mark on the world buffet that we are worthy enough an international cuisine that every human living across the huge planet should dine into and experience.
For a few minutes, I looked past the many challenges that burden this nation that sits on the Eastern plane of Africa. I focused on the potential we have to thrive, away from being the most accommodating country in regard to refugees, or the compassionate heart to foster peace around the African continent. My potential for my motherland to thrive lies in the very geographical, environmental and climatic gifts that shoot us up to the epitome of natural endowment we so desperately need to take advantage of.
The driver of the vehicle I wastravelingling called me to jump back on board, I was quite honestly dazzled by what was striking brightly right on the face of my eyes. I was lost to the dream; a vision of not just where I see Uganda in a few years but the minimum best of what we should have achieved by now.

Uganda is a wealthy country, with the capacity of being a face of everything Africa needs to be identified by. An economic power, a number one tourist destination, a home for the global village and a light beaming with jaw-dropping rays that spread out to the rest of the universe. Uganda is a gem, and all we need is to explore that uniqueness, and while Nalubaale Tales is looking into this direction, it needs everyone to embrace this vision. Uganda is the Pearl of Africa.

The tales of an unforgiving city: Salim, the Kanaabe

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It’s 1:00am on a shivery Wednesday morning in Kisenyi. The afternoon downpour left these parts of the capital cold, muddy and wet. While many of us are usually lost in deep slumber in beds at this time, a young man is working extremely hard; incessantly to earn a shilling. Salim, a 23-year-old who works at a local car wash is out there, in the blistering cold washing buses. He is helped by two other lads; one who cleans the interior and the other scrubs the tires and fetches the water they use.

Salim and his colleagues persevere through the horrid working conditions, they have no protective gear; no gloves and safety boots. The lighting of the place is very dim and yet one of the boys has to ladder up over 4 meters to wash the top of the bus. For over 30 minutes, I stand there trying to comprehend the compelling needs that keep these young boys struggling to survive in an unforgiving city. Salim opens up to me, he tells me the bus drivers pay them twenty to thirty thousand shillings depending on how dirty the bus is or how well one can bargain.
The twenty thousand shillings will be paid out to Salim. He will depart with eight thousand that he hands to the manager of the car wash. The rest will then be shared amongst themselves with Salim taking five thousand shillings because it was his call and he bought the detergent they used. The three of them each make three thousand five hundred for all their struggle. Over two hours of being out in the cold, soaking wet with blisters and cuts on their hands, these young men have only earned that much.

‘’It’s not much but, I can barely survive. This is not even enough to get me a plate of decent food but at least I get to have some money in my pocket. Today I was lucky that I washed at least 3 buses and 2 boda-bodas. Life is not easy.’’  Salim narrates to me his story.
Salim is among millions of youth who are swallowed up in casual labor. They barely earn enough and are highlyexploited. With Uganda having one of the highest unemployment rates in Sub-Saharan Africa,  It’s not surprising that many of the youth now see gambling and betting as their savior out of poverty. Uganda National Bureau of Statistics estimates that over 400,000 youthful men and women join the labor market each year but barely half of them get a slot in the employment circle. The informal sector has played out majorly in employing the youth like Salim albeit poor working conditions, long working hours and no medical, life or any form of insurance.

I look at my watch and it’s 2:00am. After talking to Salim for over 20 minutes, I retire back home to sleep but for him, it is still work. He has to wipe dry the bus before he can put down his tools and then rest for 3 to 4 hours before he starts this same routine over again. His hands are burnt and soaked from the water and washing detergent they use. The cuts will not have enough time to heal before he adds to them and his family back in the village will expect him to send them money. I put my head to rest but the images of a young man keeping out late to survive in this unforgiving city play in my head.