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Cheap things can be painful

By Vision Reporter

Added 25th July 2008 03:00 AM

Cheap things come easy. But what about the consequences? Uncountable. If you can remember any rewards, I stand to be

Cheap things come easy. But what about the consequences? Uncountable. If you can remember any rewards, I stand to be

By Florence Nakaayi

Cheap things come easy. But what about the consequences? Uncountable. If you can remember any rewards, I stand to be

Despite variations in how cheap anything could be depending on one’s capacity, the experienced trauma weighs equally. Think about cheap transport, shopping from St. Balikuddembe (Owino) Market, cheap accommodation, salons and the bufunda. Oh, what hell!

When we break down the above, one by one, you will agree with me that you lie somewhere among those inconvenienced.

Though some people fail to raise standards even after achieving a certain class, to the majority, it is actually due to lack of choice.

Many low income-earners always regret their fate: ‘I wish I had money, I would not be in such an environment or facing such inconveniences.’ But even some of the so-called high income earners at times have the same regrets.

Harriet Kasozi, a resident of Kalerwe, a Kampala suburb, wondered why her neighbour built a double-storeyed block in a wetland that floods whenever it rained. “A plot in such places is always cheaper than in other well-developed or raised places. But constructing a house there is not a joke. And in just two years, the house will need renovations,” Kasozi says.

Sarah Nalwanga once stayed in Nalukolongo, another Kampala suburb, where rent was as low as sh20,000 per month for a single room. But she had a terrible stay. “I thought renting a low cost house would help me save more money to stock up my room. Sadly, when rain came, floods soaked and destroyed everything,” she says.

To Lawrence Mukiri, memories of shame are still fresh in his mind. A year ago, Mukiri was provoked into a hot exchange with a taxi conductor over an extra sh100 on the fare. Before the quarrel closed, he suddenly saw his mother-in-law getting out of the taxi.

“With all the words I had exchanged with the conductor, I felt like burying myself in the middle of the road. I could not imagine that my in-law heard me say such words,” he remembers. Mukiri’s ordeal is one of the several experiences of those who use public transport.

Do you remember when you felt like suffocating in the Kampala traffic jam? How about that woman who never wanted to open the widows because she did not want the wind to disorganise her hairstyle? or that taxi conductor, whose armpits are smelly but stretches his hand over you to get money from a passenger behind you?.

One time, a conductor forced a man out who did not have change, after he had struggled to enter the taxi on a rainy day. Another woman got her skirt torn by the taxi seat, but the driver just drove off without even apologising.

Travelling beyond 10:00pm also has its problems. This is normally when people are retiring from their drinking sprees. They are always shouting at the top of their voices all through the journey.

If you survived getting dizzy, there are other characters that pretend to be speechless. A man moves his fingers towards your thighs or breasts to attract attention.

“I was so irritated. I gave him a hot slap. He got ashamed and the next thing he did was to the the conductor that he was getting out,” Hadijah Sonko recounted her ordeal.

Now enter a busy market like St. Balikuddembe. You can get whatever you want cheaply. But the task of reaching there and making the best choice could give you a week’s headache.

“Fasi-fasi (give way give way),” a man carrying a bale shouted, before he knocked Francis Lutalo on his entry into the market to buy a shirt to wear for a friend’s wedding.

But Lutalo managed to meander through the muddy corridors to the stall where he bought the shirt that matched his suit.

Sadly, Lutalo was unable to detect the tricks of those downtown vendors. He reached home and was shocked to find a different shirt. One arm was short sleeved, while the other had a long sleeve.

“When I returned the shirt the next day, the vendor denied having ever seen me. I regretted not going to reputable shops,” he said. The party shirt was turned into a rug.

The female vendors are another story. For instance, try on their clothes and fail to pay for it. Nakulabidewo ng’oli musawo, mulambuzi, oyogeza bulimi, literally meaning, “I suspected you were a doctor, tourist or a person who lisps.”

What about that salon where you have to bend your head into the basin, your blouse gets wet, or you catch the after-shave skin rash from the barber shop?

Have you ever visited the public convenience of the kafunda bars? You must have regretted why you ever went to such bars.
Those places are really sickening. In addition, they come with heavy fines. But if you cannot stop looking for cheap things, given the rising cost of living, try to adjust to fit your level of income.

Cheap things can be painful

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