The 30 silver coins

Today we call money all sorts of names quid, dime, mulo and all sorts of names.
But one thing is for sure. Money has always been a lifeline to man.
Remember Jesus had 12 disciples. Among his disciples, it is Judas who betrayed Jesus for meagre 30 coins of silver.
This had been prophesied earlier on in the Old Testament.
“And I said unto them, If you think good, give me my hire; and if not, forbear. So they weighed for my hire thirty pieces of silver. And Jehovah said unto me, Cast it unto the potter, the goodly price that I was prized at by them. And I took the thirty pieces of silver, and cast them unto the potter, in the house of Jehovah” (Zechariah 11:12-13)
I really pitied Judas. There was no way he could have survived this prophecy. He had to fulfil his part.
That scripture alone prophesized that:
• There would be bargaining over the price for Jesus
• Silver was predicted to be the metal, not gold or iron
• The price of 30 silver pieces to be exact. Exodus 21: 32,
• The degrading of God by such a meagre sum. I wonder why he even asked for such a small amount of money for a whole breathing human being!
• The blood money would be returned and indeed it was but the Pharisees could not accept blood on their hands. So Judas threw it in the temple
• The end of the Potter was predicted in the field of blood when Judas committed suicide.
Judas lived in Jerusalem. He knew and understood the Jewish customs. The Jews in Jerusalem jubilated the messiah’s entry on that day. All along the high priest sought to arrest Jesus but failed to do so. The Pharisees had tried to trick him but had failed to pin him when he visited the temple.
Because Jerusalem was under Roman rule, it was under the Roman governor Caiaphas.
The Romans were smart. They knew they couldn’t place a finger on Jesus that day because the Jews were so fond of him. He was untouchable that day in Jerusalem. They thought it wise to arrest Jesus at another opportune time.
Since Judas became a disciple, he had gone missing with Jesus to spread the gospel. He had walked out on his father and mother. His mother had since fallen ill. The Romans knew his family and usually visited his family with the intention of pressurising his father to pay homage to the Romans. Moreover, the Romans knew that Judas his son had gone with Jesus.
Judas needed the 30 coins of silver to treat his mother. So he went ahead to fulfil the scriptures.
Judas sold Jesus for a paltry 30 pieces of Silver!

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OBAMA, GADDAFI AND MUSEVENI.

If your want a good laugh read Humor Lanes by @andsjeff –> How to become a millionaire in 100 days turned into 100 ways to run from your creditors.

LANES WITH andsJeff

I have learnt in Life that there is no perfect human being or a perfect curve to success. After being given computer science at Makerere University years after polio had been kicked out of Uganda, I had it in my mind that I could become the best computer scientist [read Hacker] in Uganda, I started teaching myself code and in the process landed on “Sams Teach Yourself C++ in 21 Days”, It was never that easy as the tittle suggested because I went close to 100 days before I could write some meaningful code besides the usual “HELLO WORLD”. First forward to months after graduation, Having spent millions paying tuition, I expected to get a job that would pay me money equivalent/greater than the tuition figures that we were paying, that’s when reality started kicking in, Jobs were nowhere to be seen and I became comfortable with any job that…

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Palm Sunday

Palm Sunday is the day Jesus rode a donkey from the mountain of olives into Jerusalem.  This Sunday is exactly a week before Easter. Unlike most Sundays, this Sunday is celebrated by a procession of Christians from a selected home to a nearby church while waving palm branches.

I prepared for the day. I bought two palm branches from Nabbingo the previous day on my way home. Each palm branch cost me a bronze coin. The mass was to start at 7 30 am.

However, on Palm Sunday I got up to an early morning startle.  The home from which we were to proceed had a shrine. I mean the local shrine for the mediums.

This shrine had been remodelled. Initially, it had been built out of baked mud and roofed with the dried spear grass. If you know a “manyatta”. The new shrine now was made of brick and iron sheets. There was no way you could know. I only knew this because this was my neighbourhood. Separating it from the main house was a wall. Which stopped prying eyes. The wall was not high enough though to conceal the circular rooftop. So from where ever you stood, you would only see the top.

We assembled in the compound and patiently waited for the procession to begin. A number of questions crossed my mind. Was the church aware of that shrine? Would the prayer be effective?  Among all homes, why was this one chosen? Was the church out to convert new believers?

This reminded me of the saying that the biggest religion in Uganda was that of traditional religions. In rural Uganda, almost every household has a shrine. Where the traditional spirits were consulted. True before the missionaries came to Uganda, the people had their own gods. Up to now they still exist.

I just let that last question pass. Maybe Jesus was out to touch that family. I thought to my self. That was His mission on earth.

We proceeded from the home as we shook our palm branches to the church where the main mass was celebrated.

 

Palm Sunday pic
Palm Sunday

However, I later discovered that the land on which the church was built had been offered by the owner of the home from which we had proceeded.

He is now deceased. He had such a big heart that he offered the Church that sizeable chunk of land.

Life can be such a paradox!

FIKASALAMA

 

As I drove from Namanve to Kampala yesterday just before The Coca-cola plant, I could not help but notice two traffic officers stopping cars for spot checks. This time none waved me down. A few trucks had been pulled onto the side.

In all incidents that I have been pulled over by traffic police, two out of four times have been by a lady officer. It is not that am an ardent offender but rather it was due to the intensified FikaSalama operation. This term is in Kiswahili and means literally “arrive safely” It started sometime in August 2016 and since then has drastically reduced the number of accidents in the urban cities.

“FikaSalama” was an initiative by the Uganda police, UNRA, Ministry of Works and Transport to check the high carnage that existed along the Masaka – Kampala road that claimed very many lives.

Initially, these accidents had earlier been attributed to the road design other than to the driver’s discipline. The worst accidents occurred during the festive season. So in a bid to prevent that occurrence, a mitigation plan was implemented to prevent a reoccurrence.

The driver discipline bordered on speeding, overtaking at blind spots, reckless driving, driving on shoulders, creating multiple lanes, weaving through traffic, drink driving, possession of no or an expired permit, dangerous mechanical condition and no third party insurance etc.

I have only had a few encounters with the “FikaSalama”.

My first encounter was at Katende. I had been driving to Busega from Nabbingo when I was waved down. At Katende I was told to park on the side. The officer checked my driving permit, third party and all

He then consulted with his colleague and told me that I had four offences. I had not cleared with the courts of law. I was shocked and I knew there was a mistake. At least I did not share my vehicle with anyone apart from my better half. Four offences! I tried telling the officer that there should have been a mistake but the officers could not hear of it.

I handed my car keys to the officer. I was advised to leave my vehicle and first sort the court issues. I hand an appointment in Nsambya which from the look of things I was likely to miss.

I had a million questions which I wanted to be answered. Was it the mechanic who had committed the offences? Was it my better half? What were the offences? Could the boys at the washing bay have committed these offences?

I needed clarification. So I requested for evidence. One of the officers was using an app on his phone into which he entered my vehicle number plate. I walked over to him and told him that the whole incident was an error. In my recollection, I was sure the vehicle had no ticket. He could not believe. I insisted. He asked for my number plate which I read to him. He entered it. It was very evident he had altered the last digit. He re-entered it a second time to make sure.

Clearly, it was an error and the police officer returned my car keys. But I wondered how an error on the officers’ part had landed me in trouble. How many people had been erroneously charged?

The second time I was waved down was along Kira road. As I drove passed the Acacia avenue junction, I was waved down by a female police officer. She wanted to see my permit and third party. Which I presented. Up to four vehicles had been pulled over for scrutiny.

The third occurrence was in Ntinda. This time it was the permit being checked. I was clean.

Notwithstanding the above inconvenience, I would like to give kudos to the Uganda  Police traffic department, Uganda National Roads Authority, Ministry of  Works and Transport for having held the bull by the horns and proved to the doubting Thomas’s that indeed, the earlier carnage was more due to due to driver discipline than to the road design.

“FikaSalama” is a very good intervention. It has reduced the number of road accidents tremendously. For once the numbers of road accidents reduced in the 2016 festive season. The Kampala-Masaka highway recorded a notable improvement of the number of deaths due to accidents that December 2016. I am also aware that it has been extended to other highways, kudos traffic police!!!

The spiritual and yet physical prayer night at Mt Sion Bukalango, Uganda

As I flipped through the TV channels, this Easter weekend, I happen to have stumbled upon this new Christian TV signal being tested. It read Bukalango. As I recall, the TV channel was to be named – The Living Water. Maybe negotiations were still ongoing. I also recalled the night prayer I attended at Bukalango.
I don’t usually write spiritual reviews, but today I have a strong conviction to write one so as to share my experience that night.
Bukalango is a village in Wakiso district. The Mt. Sion church is Roman Catholic and the main priest is Father Magembe.
As you may recall the Pentecostal wave came to Uganda in the early 80s. For some time now the Roman Catholic Church had been less vibrant. Until recently, the Catholic Church in Uganda had not adopted the praise that was characteristic of the Pentecostal churches. Subsequently, the youth preferred the revival churches to the traditional churches which praised to the modern vibrant beats. At Mt Sion, the praise and worship of the Catholic Church transformed into the Pentecostal style.
The Uganda Catholic Church has taken on the Pentecostal style.  During the Easter service in my parish, the main celebrant rebuked the congregation for not being responsive during mass.
As we were growing up in the Roman Catholic Church, we never witnessed any of the Pentecostal revivals. Unlike those times, today the congregation talks in tongues, the priests cast out demons in Jesus name, the church has a team of intercessors who mean serious prayer business, they fast and pray days on end. There are overnight prayers. Miracles are performed and so on.
Every last week, of the month Mt Sion church has an overnight prayer. It is usually the last Saturday of the month. This prayer starts on Saturday evening till Sunday morning.
So on that chilly Saturday, I opted for a pair of jeans, T-Shirt with a pair of canvas for comfort. To complete my attire I carried along a hood, sweater and a big umbrella.
I reached well in time and parked my vehicle in a secure spot for the night. I moved to secure and book my seat for the night. The military had been deployed. That assured me. I grabbed a few bites for later in the night. Because I knew that once I entered the secured perimeter, it would be impossible to come out. I secured my seat like 40 meters from the podium.
No sooner had I sat than the clouds decided to give way to the rain. Time check was 6 pm. Luckily I had carried an umbrella which came in handy. Others hadn’t. But when it started drizzling, no one relocated.
The area occupied by the congregation was the size of two football pitches. With well-placed speakers and two gigantic screens. The floodlights that had been mounted were so powerful that they turned the night into day. With the floodlights, no one could miss anything during prayer. And all this was under an open sky.
At about 9 pm an intercessor took us through the dos and don’ts. No taking photos, be vigilant and so on. We were also cautioned about petty thieves. Thereafter about 10 testimonies are presented by those who had received their miracles.
Just as praise is a spiritual weapon, it is as important in spiritual warfare as the Gods word. Praise is considered a very powerful tool. Praise before a supplication yields an effective prayer because it breaks the evil chains in the spirit world.  As a result, the praise and worship at Mt Sion have been raised to another level.  After a few visits to Mt Sion, I have tried to pin the worship style to a pattern. I realised that the initial opening praise that starts the worship is never less than a four hour non-stop session of gospel songs, by the choir blaring over well placed gigantic speakers. It usually starts at 10 pm.
The number one rule of praise is participation. Sing when you know the song or just hum along when you don’t.

At 10.30pm Father Expendito Magembe walked to the podium. That day he was dressed in a black garb. I suspected the colour choice of his garb was because of the lent season. The nuns, on the other hand, were in purple whereas the choir donned green. That was the time when the worship rose to a peak. It would stay that way for the next four hours.
In praise, the congregation is advised to follow the celebrants lead. Your miracles depend on your participation. You clap until your hands become sore. You actually sing until you lose your voice. When you are told to jump … you jump. It is akin to a nursery child’s play. You turn around, bend kneel, stand, just name it. A four-hour physical education drill at 2:00 am in the morning! Or rather like an aerobics class since all this is done to Christian music.
A violent prayer is done while standing. You don’t seat. I would equate that night prayer to an aerobic workout. You work out to music. You rejoice, jump, proclaim and sweat only that this time, it is spiritual.
The crescendo of the worship built up to a peak that brought the congregation to the exorcism prayer.
That day the exorcism prayer then culminated the four-hour power worship session. This is a prayer by the Church to free people who are in bondage. Just as the scriptures says in Ephesians 6 12 “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places”,
At some point, the main celebrant commanded the spirits to manifest and return to their graves in Jesus name. Many unusual things started happening. The spirits manifest usually by speaking out or shouting, shaking people, rolling people on the ground.
But today I will only enlighten one vivid incident that happened that night. There was this lady seated a few seats on my right. She had a full strong body dressed in a jean and sweater. She had been shaking for quite a while. It was evident that her deliverance had started.  When that call was made a spirit manifested and shouted in vernacular “Hellen (not real name) mwana gwe nkulese, nzizeyo muntana. onemye! (Hellen, I have left you. I am going back to the grave. You have defeated me)
Then with arms raised in the air and in a trance, Hellen bulldozes her way to the podium with a burst of energy. You would wonder. She literally ran over everyone in her path. I was marvelled. It is at times like these that I usually keep my eyes open. There were other deliverances that night
Helen returned to her seat after an hour or so. She had been delivered.
Time check was 3:30 am when the Song of David was read. Psalm 68: 1-3: Let God arise, let his enemies be scattered: let them also that hate him flee before him. As smoke is driven away, so drive them away: as wax melteth before the fire, so let the wicked perish at the presence of God. But let the righteous be glad: let them rejoice before God: yea let them exceedingly rejoice.
Then mass started.

For the believers, try out this physical and yet spiritual workout at Mt Sion. Am sure you won’t be disappointed. You will at least hit two birds with one stone.

What got me blogging and the basics of what every blogger should know

On that rainy Saturday morning, last week, the Ugandan bloggers came together at the Ugandan Museum to share their experiences in the first ever Blogging power talk. I only booked my place on Friday night after ascertaining my Saturday program. It was a three hour session from 10am to 1pm. The blogging community in Uganda does exist. The forum is called the Uganda Blogging Community and it was this forum that organized the power talk and networking session. This forum enables bloggers to network and harness the individual synergies into a formidable resource. I therefore encourage any blogger or reader of this story to join the community.

The venue was at the Ugandan museum at the Uganda Society premise. The most influential Ugandan bloggers came in to facilitate and motivate us by sharing their humble experiences.

At least that morning I shared a cup of coffee with top Ugandan bloggers like Ruth Aine, Patricia Kahill, Waiswa Batambuze, Bernard Olupot, Prudence Nyamishana and Pearl Gahwera.

Today just as much as I want to talk about how I started blogging a few years ago, I want to also share with you the basics of what every blogger should know as it was shared by Prudence Nyamishana. I only hope that you find this knowledge useful.  In an effort to remain consistent on my frequency and not to exceed on my word count, I will publish the remaining 3 topics in my subsequent blogs.

Up until then, I had never thought of blogging as a lifestyle. In fact I learnt that it is a deliberate effort to tell your stories. Most times it is a passion. In my opinion, you either have it or not. If I may borrow Prudence’s words “Just as Christians pray before they sleep, it is only appropriate for a blogger to put down a few lines before going to sleep.

The forum has a number of activities that bring the bloggers together. In Uganda they have a happy hour every first Thursday of every month and there is the Uganda blog week every 3 months. Where for one week bloggers post a blog each day for seven days about trending topics.

It is during this power talk that I met Mark Sinabulya. As we made small talk he asked me what really got me into blogging.

I tried to best explain to him how I ended into it. It is at this point that I decided to put pen to paper for people who asked me like Mark or/and any other person like @ThirdLocal who kept me busy on Wednesday as she engaged us on @UgBloc

Thirdlocal

 

My personal interpretation of blogging is sharing stories using a preferred platform over the internet.

I should also mention that my type of storytelling is spontaneous. It is usually triggered by a particular smell, a sight, a noise, or song. At times it is so impulsive that I usually get a title after writing the text.

What really got me into it was a combination of a number of things.

Passion for writing.  When you describe the essence of a moment, time, occasion, sight by the use of words and pictures. There are some moments that just need to be captured in narrative. Especially when a narrative is accompanied with a good photograph. Pictures usually say a lot of words. It could be a narrative about a local market place, fishing site, graduation party.

The other reason that drew me into blogging was the fascination with gadgets and the internet. Specifically the smart phones. I have so many beautiful memories captured through my photographs. Memories of scenery, vegetation, the landscape, a moment and so on. I started taking pictures using the old nokia I had then. I would take pics and upload them to twitpic at the time. With a description of less than 140 characters. This way I would access my photos any time as long as I had internet. However  I woke up one morning only to find that twitpic had closed with all my pictures and my moments.

On getting started

To start blogging you don’t need to get permission to open a blog. No one will give to you anyway.

Choose a name for your blog

Start writing. Every blogger has a given style. But whatever style you take on make sure that it is simple. Your blog should be simple to read. One should not struggle to read your blog.

Clean the clutter from your post before you publish.

Your story should have a golden string. It should flow.

Avoid typos, pay attention to grammar and punctuation.  The best way to avoid this is to either install an application or have an extra set of eyes go through your work before you publish.

Avoid uglish. For Ugandan bloggers. This is a term that refers to the direct translations of phrases, sayings, slogans or expressions from the local languages into the English language.

Select an appropriate title. This can be daunting. A title will either ruin or sale your story.

Work offline and then after all the editing has been done, copy and paste your work into your blog. This will help you in two ways. When in Microsoft word you will be able to check your grammar and punctuation. You will not work under pressure as opposed to writing on line. You will save on your data usage.

For you to write, you should read, be informed and the current trends. As this will determine your followers.

Love your writing and enjoy it.

Be authentic. Most readers can spot fake writers.

Avoid plagiarism. If you use any material from any source please acknowledge it in the blog. Don’t own it.

If you are new and you want to blog for money, you won’t last. The money should come later after being appreciated by followers.

This being my first blog on WordPress, I will continue sharing my stories and experiences with you with the hope of adding value. I will also be talking more or less about anything as well as the trending issues.

 

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All photos taken by Pius Enywaru

The Queen of Hearts:


“Nobody can misunderstand a boy like his mother” – Norman Douglas

I could hear her call out my name. From the tone of her voice, I knew what that meant. I was in trouble.

Every school day I had to have a compulsory afternoon siesta, on returning home. Only this time, after failing to resist the urge to play, had sneaked passed her bedroom, ran down the stairs and out to the compound. As misfortune would have it that day, she had woken up earlier.

Or was it me who misunderstood her?

Such would lead to only one of the so many cherished skirmishes I had with her as a kid. That was so many years ago.

Today as fate would have it, she has been bed ridden for more than a year. She is slowly recovering from a stroke majorly caused by diabetes. What doesn’t alter about her is the eye and voice.

Every single day I pray for her recovery. We, like childhood partners, have shared quite a lot. We have been bond by the rich memories that span an entire life time, dotted with stints of both happiness and tears.

For her personalities were defined by the divine predestined path which none of us could influence.

She is as tender as she is strong.

I have seen her rise up after a fall.

A tough rock which has cushioned my tumbles.

And at times when I was up with myself, as a kid, one good stare from her would sort me out.

This time being the strong woman she is, I am sure she will recuperate.

I have thanked the Lord for giving me the best mother there could be.

I remember the first time I saw her black and white photo.

She was still a student.

I held my breath. There she was with no makeup. With a hot combed puff of black hair.

She looked so beautiful.

Haaa …. I don’t think many people would have passed her by without noticing.

Just like any kid, going to school was a love-hate affair. However the day I loved most in school was a Friday. On Friday, the lower school would close at lunch time.

After the mid-day parade, we would foot through the golf course, then Kitante and finally reach Kamwokya.

It was child’s delight.

We cherished it because on our way home, we collected empty ink bottles and used them to collect tadpoles from the flowing stream.  We played the whole afternoon and reached home well after 5 pm.

I knew that she was aware of our tours but she never mentioned a word. Didn’t she care? I always asked myself

Or was it I who misunderstood her?

The Transient Ischematic Attack (TIA) hit her in January 2015. This had been caused by the fatal combination of stress and diabetes. At the time we did not know what it was. Then the major stroke hit her in August 2015. Her doctor then told us the recovery could last one year. True to his word it is now one year and seven months. She is on her slow path to recovery.

Precisely 27 years ago she became a widow.

The opulent lifestyle she had vanished in a heartbeat.

For a while she was lost. I could see.

Then slowly but surely she recovered.

She sacrificed a lot to feed her children and get us through school.

I saw her transform from a domestic house wife to a smart working woman

and then …. a fighter.

I saw her buy her first bungalow and mark her territory.

The rest is history. Shew! ….. what can I say?

At times I pondered at what probably went wrong.

What is it that should have been done differently or better?

What should have never been done in the first place?

With all this withstanding, my mother surely remains my “Queen of Hearts”

Not the brusque queen in Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland but the woman I first fell in love with.

Because of her experience, I have resolved to watch my lifestyle.

Last January I tried to reduce my sugar intake but only relapsed after six months.

A miserable fail.

Being a blood group O, I should watch what I eat even more closely.

Avoid caffeine, alcohol, tobacco, dairy products

Reduce or even do away with the intake of sugar and eat more fruits.

I can go on and on.

This is what I really like each person reading this to reflect on.

There is an affection words cannot express.

It is boundless and limitless.

It is so pure and full.

It vanquishes all the trials that have been overcome.

And yet it binds us together.

At times I see it when her eyes light up when she sees me.

An affection I only hear in her voice when she speaks.

It is the loud silence we share during her evening walks. Physiotherapy sessions.

During which walks we almost never talk.

And she will always be my “Queen of Hearts”

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