Life Style
Doing charity the Ugandan way
Publish Date: Nov 06, 2012
Doing charity the Ugandan way
Many Ugandans cannot afford a decent meal. File Photo
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It’s unfortunate that some of our brothers and sisters elsewhere in the world are facing calamities and, consequentially lacking a lot of what we, yes us too (!) take for granted.
 
Food for example. It would be honorable if Ugandans, Kampalans actually, would acknowledge how lucky we are and start conserving food and learning how to distribute utilities so enough can go around. And maybe soon we could have some surplus which could then be neediest in other regions of the world.
 
That would be honorable. If only Kampalans rallied behind that cause. If only.
 
Let’s imagine that they actually do take up this food-conserving cause. Taking into account the abundant talent we possess of emulating without first internalising anything we decide to copy, this is the road which the whole concept of being humanitarian could take:
 
Semusajja back in his newly tiled home, south of Kampala will not delay in applying the rule of involuntary fasting on his family. It wouldn’t be long before we hear stories about people being forced to eat one meal per day in preparation for any disasters of the same kind happening to us; Hajji gundi in the western part of the city will start fasting daily regardless of the fact that the fasting seasons haven’t approached; Senga owakabi will take it upon herself to rescue the whole of the eastern part of the city by burning the hands of her already-starved nephew who was caught stealing one piece of cassava;  while Kyali in downtown Kampala will shout his throat dry trying to sell the calendars he has made with photos showing the whole situation chronologically.
 
At the bar and pork joints its patrons would gather to discuss this ‘critico isyu of nationro intrest’, amid cheers and more rounds of mchomo. 
 
Naturally, the camera-loving Kampalans will organise a fundraising event for this cause. Mid-way someone will bring up the idea of, “charity begins at home’ and that would then be the driving force of the event; the food conservation long forgotten.
 
Several companies will flock to sponsor this venerable occasion and amidst all pomp, and chanting the kindlies will venture to the streets ending at the constitutional square to help Kampalan street beggars.
 
After a long day of speeches in the simmering sun with everyone holding free mineral water bottles and donning caps and t-shirts with the name of the mission on them, some broke Kampalans who would have masqueraded as beggars to get some of the goodies will go home happy, while some of the ‘kind’ camera-attracters will go home with remnants of the sponsors money, while the sponsors will go to bed that day with some good conscience; and the press will happily go back to file an interesting ‘human’ story.
 
In the middle of all this humanitarianism, some beggar will die of diarrhea after having eaten rotten food from some ‘benevolent’ Kampalan who would have relieved their fridge of past-expiry date contents. And on hearing the story of the dead beggar who died of food poisoning some university students at a rolex joint will wonder why the ‘uneducated fool’ did not supply imodium with the food.
 
Then Kampalan singers, finally finding something to make them useful to society, will unite to make a song about the whole situation and a music video with still photos of banana fibres,  ntula and borrowed photos of Somali hunger victims pasted in the background with our honorable singers waving hands from left to right as if they were stranded in a desert and were signaling for help.
 
Some Kampalan politician will stage an unauthorised rally and in between lambasting everyone on their grudge list, will denounce the food-conserving operation and accuse the Government for promoting the idea. A scholar from a university will add voice to the debate  never mind with a totally different message: questioning how eating ntula and ndagalas will help those deprived people in other countries.
 
Questions like ‘who is taking that money we have saved for them?’  will crop up; statistics on how much food we should be saving will find its way in the media; public transport fares will go up ‘in support’; the ordinary Kampalan will suddenly catch up to the grimness of the issue and get themselves all worked up and do nothing about it except hurl insults at fellow motorists; Maama gundi’s kafunda will have patrons throwing bottles at each other daily about it.
 
Before long, we will have zombie-like people allover Kampala due to malnutrition. Soon enough we will be counted among the countries that need food and in a short space of time we will have donors begrudgingly swarming in to save us, only to find we have abundant food.
 
And then this writer, in a bid to be useful in the whole food conservation thing will also start writing shorter articles, talking about conserving words and not misusing or throwing them around yet other people could be in dire need of them.
 
To avoid all that from happening, how about we don’t try being honourable, it’s not our style. BTW, what’s our style?
 

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