Belly joy

 

“Laughter is brightest in the place where the food is.”

 

Over a week ago while going through the posts on popular Facebook page “Kampala Food Network” I noticed one of the administrators, Kavitha had asked a question, with a prize attached. It was actually a comment within a post so I am not sure how I stumbled upon it. There was a picture of what seemed like sea food and Kavitha offered a four course meal, prepared by her as a prize for whoever got the answer right. By the time I started reading, a one Petero had given the correct answer, “cockles.” I did not even bother to google. I just commented with a crying emoticon, jealous of the feast Petero would get to encounter. See, I stalk Kavitha and her cooking. Everything from meats to desserts, the sight just makes my stomach somersault. While I have been present at functions she has catered, somehow I never get a chance to really indulge in her food because of the work I am often doing. I digress.

I followed the comments thereafter and imagine my shock and utter glee when I read a comment from the winner saying he was nominating Shamillah (another fan who’d commented) and ‘Esther’ as recipients of this meal. Why? Because he is out of the country and could not make it. What? How? Scratch that *insert not-so-coordinated dance moves* How exciting! Kavitha, Shamillah and I took our conversation aside to agree on dates away from the post. Yaay!

So many things happened before D-day and I was afraid I would have to cancel. The month had been a wild mix of heart-rending events and I decided the meal would very well become a priority to add some much needed colour.

Finally, the long awaited day I arrived. I ensured my breakfast was light and my taste buds fully alive. I arrived at Kavitha’s lovely home well before time. After a brief catch up, I let her get back to work in her spacious kitchen which would probably make my mom green with envy. Her boys kept me company as we waited for Shamillah to arrive.  Had I stayed longer, family secrets would have been spilled: P

Our thoughtful host had set our table on the patio because of the heat and boy was it a treat! When Shamillah arrived, we just went straight into it. Below you will see the pictures, and a description of each meal.

appetizer

Amuse bouche : Guacamole in tostone cups topped with spciy diced chicken

 

soup

Soup Butternut squash soup with toasted French bread

main

Main course: Tandoori lamb chops with mint chutney, matchstick fries and sweet lemon, cherry tomatoes, orange salad

nohito

Watermelon nojito featuring Shamillah’s hand

water

The boys kept asking why we have two drinks. Hehe, why not? Orange water

dessert

Chai masala cake with vanilla ice cream and date sauce

 

Needless to say, everything tasted as good as it looks, probably more! I’m hunnnngggrrryyy! *wails*

Between cooking, checking on her boys and dealing with clients, mixed orders et al over the phone, Kavitha was still engaged and pleasant during the course of our meal. She served us, brought more drinks when the glasses were emptying and even had time to throw in some recipes. Superwoman!

The most difficult part of it all was when she asked which of the 4 our favourite was. How can you punish one with making such a choice? The second most difficult point was having to get up after all of that eating. By dessert, Shamillah and I were struggling to find space. Nonetheless, the aromas and presentation could not keep us away!

The four course meal was prepared with love, and you could taste it. Our taste buds were tantalised and left asking for more. As a slow eater, this is definitely my kind of set up. Conversation, bits of different foods brought at different intervals, no rush just basking in the enjoyment of different flavours. I felt like a Princess and feared that going back into the ‘rea’ world would taint this newfound serenity.

As if ALL of this was not enough, Kavitha had a surprise ‘goodbye package’ for us; a box of cookies each, with red ribbon. Was this m actual birthday and no one told me?!! We were overjoyed! When I looked at my dinner later that evening, I was underwhelmed. How to ‘dilute’ all those mouth-watering dishes with my simple cooking? Suddenly tea with cookies and left over cake seemed like the best option and that was how it went down!

This experience, in its entirety was just what the doctor ordered 🙂

I have encountered several business people in Uganda who have forgotten how to be humans first. Somewhere along the way, they lose their soul and succumb to pressures, leaving only profits as their driving force. I am glad to know a few who are exceptions, and Kavitha is one of them.

When I narrated the tale to the mother, she was stunned. She assured me one of these days I will win something huge, if I can even be gifted prizes that weren’t mine to start with. I tend to agree: P

 

Very special thanks to Petero, whom I have never met or spoken to, for nominating Shamillah and I to partake in this feast. Gratitude to Kavitha for being an awesome chef, host and all round wonderful human being and last but not least, my new friend Shamillah who was my partner in oooohhs and aaahhhsss.

P.s: Kavitha, next time you and the hubby need a romantic getaway, I am happy to babysit your lovely boys 😉

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Farewell Selector-Angel

Dear Julie, everything has been a blur for the past few days. One minute Patra called me to ask for your cousin’s number to inform him you’d been in an accident and next thing I hear, is that you didn’t make it. How?
I can’t imagine the pain and shock of your friends who saw you last as you parted ways, certain you’d each be home in a few minutes. You left for your heavenly home instead.
We braved the day and went about 5 aside UG which was a few hours later. As you know there can be a lot of background drama. It was all there, it was frustrating but it paled in comparison to the pain of your absence. How could we accept that you wouldn’t come and we’d not have you to talk, sing,dance, laugh with us anymore?
We’d last spoken a few days before your departure. You wanted a host for snap chat 256 at our event.
I told you I couldn’t think of a better person than you. You’d definitely bring your charm and humour to it. You agreed, no questions asked because that’s just who you were. Are, Were? Arrggh?! I can’t believe this is in past tense!
Sadly, our last happy messages were followed by this message that will now always haunt me. It was a message informing me that the owner of the phone(you) had been involved in a terrible accident.
You were many things to different people, Julie but that you already know. How your heart managed to contain all of us, I do not know but I want to thank you for giving us the wonderful opportunity to know you. You were such a delight!
I can’t even remember when I met you because you fit right in and left people feeling like they’d known you their whole lives.
I am smiling now thinking of our conversations in which we became award winning music critics, comparing past albums, musicians’ talent and their growth as if it was our career. It was from this shared love of music, especially Ugandan music that I started to call you my selector. From the music we exchanged, to staying up chatting about the songs on SNMS as we both listened in, you always oozed life and humour. This was the most used emoticon when chatting with you.

whatsapp

 

Face to face, it is rib cracking laughter that replaced it.

Julie, you were not the life of the party. You were the party.
I know so many things have been said, written and many more are in people’s memories. You touched so many lives and even people who didn’t know you now have an inkling of your awesomeness. Wharragirl!

I wish everyone could share as much as they can so that we can keep seeing you everywhere we turn. Not that we are planning to forget you, that’s impossible but I think it’ll help us deal and walk towards the healing process. We know you wouldn’t want us to be sad and whiney. <P.s: Right now, we can’t help it>
Oh, I am grinning again, because of your fat jokes. Remember when I called you to grill you for being late to an event at Akiba yet you lived close by? You covered it up as always and left me laughing.I even needed a favour so that didn’t help matters. I’d messed my top and asked you to carry me one. Your silly self started explaining how your clothes would be 10 times my size. Sheep. I’d later ask you to give me the ‘worst’ weight remarks you’d ever heard because I wanted to write a piece about Ugandan’s obsession with weight ‘kaboozi’ whether one is ‘big’ or ‘small.’
My favourite was your colleague who said “You have a big stomach, is that all yours?” I was so mad on your behalf but you explained that you never let any of them get to you. That is who you were, forgiving with such a light heart, patient and true.

You always created ‘FOMO’ for our events, online and offline. You contributed financially and with man power when we needed it. You didn’t wait to be told. You showed up for the fun times as well as the ‘working’ ones and gave all of yourself in true Julie style. If we needed a boost, we’d start up a dancing competition and guess who was always willing to open the floor so others could join in? Only you.

 

J dance
I remember after croak and rhyme last year you told me you’d twisted your neck having fun and it was worth it.  How does that even happen? Again, only you.
After the fundraisers,you always asked if we’d made raised a considerable amount. You were quick to console or applaud and that meant everything. You made a big deal of all our achievements or appearances and just knew how to make a little person feel like a star.
I thanked you when I could, I really hope it sufficed and that you knew how much your presence and support meant to us.

J 1

Did you see all the people who came to bid you farewell? Now add those who couldn’t make it. You’re good with numbers, you can do that instantly, yes? They love you and they miss you. You did good in your 25 years, you did more than good. We couldn’t have had enough of you.
Of all the hundreds who showed up, all of us combined do not come close to the pain of your dear mama. Oh gosh,if only you could come back and give her a big hug.
You heard her speech, when she said you were her right hand? We all felt it, and her pain cut through my heart. She’d later fail to say much more as she wept for the loss of her beautiful daughter. Please make a plan with God to speak through her soul daily and comfort her. As your friends, we will also keep the fort here.  You are irreplaceable our Julie. She’ll need all the strength in the world and then some.
After we got back to Kampala last night, I got a boda boda home and took ‘our’ route. I spent the whole trip talking about you and the rider was very understanding. He rode slowing, listened and only interjected with words of comfort. We agreed that it was your time, no matter how difficult it is to accept.
It is agonizing to accept or understand but we know you and we figure the Lord must have a massive plan for you in heaven. You belong to him so his needs obviously come before ours. You’ll remain with us in all the things that remind us of you. You will remain in our hearts. When words fail, we shall laugh, or maybe cry but above all, we shall celebrate your life.
Last year as I did a piece titled “What if you weren’t afraid, ” you told me one of your greatest fears was ‘not living a fulfilled life.’ While we are devastated it had to end so soon, it was definitely fulfilled. In fact, you helped others live a fulfilled life as well and boy did you do it well!

Pain demands to be felt and we are certainly feeling it. You wouldn’t want this but we need to get closure then move on to celebrating you; sometimes it happens concurrently. Other times it takes longer.

You taught us many things and I hope that we can emulate you in the remaining time, before we meet again.

You’re too amazing to bottle up in few words but we want you to know anyway. You are an enigma, a firecracker, and now, an angel.

We love you Julie. We always will

J2

Strange firsts

It is an unusually busy time at school. Everybody has a deadline here, a draft to submit there and of course there is the daunting task of the pending dissertation. Conversations have grown shorter and and everyone is always rushing somewhere. Linda feels the pressure and constantly looks for ways to take a breather once in a while. This morning before heading to school, she chose to visit a colleague on her floor who has been missing in action. Someone might be battling depression in their room while life continues for the others. Luckily, she found Patrick alive and well. He was in the process of making an omelette and in high spirits. They chatted for a while and she said her goodbyes just before it got awkward. “Do I offer her my omelette? Do I make her another? Wait, I am out of eggs…, how does this work?” and other such mind boggling questions.

When Linda realised she was running out of time. She considered using the tube (underground train) which is much faster, or settling for the slower paced, and considerably cheaper, bus option. She settled for the latter and would later be strangely satisfied with this decision. She got onto the bus and immediately went upstairs for it presented a better view of London. Even if she kept seeing the same sites on this route, it was still better than the cold, mostly unfriendly, tube rides. It wasn’t long before a foul smell hit her. She noticed the further she walked, the worse it got so she settled for another seat. One lady whose first language was probably not English exclaimed “smell!” and Linda nodded. She left. Linda waited for the next stop so she could also move downstairs.She thought the bus would stop for a while but it started without warning and then ‘walala!,‘ she ‘flew from the first step to the bottom and hit herself hard on the ‘wall.’ For a second, she didn’t know what had just happened. Breathe.Stay calm. Get up. Thankfully, she only hit her body so the head was ‘safe.’ A gentleman by the steps asked her if she was alright, and went on to talk about how dangerous those stairs were <“Is he really talking to me?”, she kept asking herself>
After all the cold stares, and false smiles she’d grown accustomed to in London, a short conversation with a stranger was definitely something to write home about. When she thought people had ‘forgotten’ about the loud thump, she walked over to a lady who had a free seat next to her “Do you mind?,” Linda asked and the lady moved. “Did you hurt yourself?,” she asked, concerned. Twice in one day? Something strange was certainly going on.

The bus was quiet again until a lady *not Mzungu* who’d only just got in stormed towards the bus driver “There is a terrible smell in this bus and I want to get out, now!,” she yelled. The poor old man got up and walked around the bus. H explained that he had a cold and as a result could not smell anything. She asked for a ‘new’ ticket and said she’d get on another bus immediately. He obliged. Now that they could ‘openly’ talk about it. The sweet old lady in front of Linda remarked, “I can’t smell anything.” Sweet old lady on the right responded “You are lucky.” Linda went on to explain that it was much worse at the top and that is why she had moved. Sweet old lady number 1 was so giddy. “I am having a lovely morning, people are usually so mean and angry, I am just glad we can all get to talk.” Linda’s sentiments exactly. She told her ‘new friends’ how she dropped her grand daughter at school three times a week and always found people to be in too much of a hurry. “They are texting and knocking everyone without even looking up,” she complained. She turned to Linda and masked a whisper “I always tell my Bell to wiggle her legs in the stroller and when they look up I’ll say, Sorry I guess you didn’t see us coming.” This naughty Jajja was too sharp 😀 The two old ladies realised they were both going till the last stop and would have to withstand the smell Linda was almost at her destination. “Is anyone still at the top?, old lady number 2 asked. As if on cue, a gentleman and a lady walked down looking disgusted. “It’s the smell, isn’t it?” she asked. They replied in the affirmative. It is a wonder they had stayed that long. The debate began on if it was urine or the smell of a corpse. *It seems imaginations run wild in places were people rarely talk to each other*

Google image

Google image

Linda had actually began to enjoy this random kaboozi, in a random setting with even more random participants. When she got to her stop, she wished them a good day just as sweet old lady number one called out to her “We can see you are running away!”

Every teardrop is a waterfall

 

Do you have some habits that are ‘okay’ when you are among friends but seem bizarre when you are exposed to a new environment?

I find it difficult to stifle laughter. Loud laughter is widely accepted in my circles. In fact, I have consolation from people with worse laughs than my own :p

One friend (Hi friend) is so ahead of the game, that before a date, the best advice we can share is try not to laugh. It has gone as far as “Princess laugh” lessons. One would argue she should be herself so that the Prince knows what he is signing up for.

During this workshop, I have caught myself bursting into laughter several times,when the room is quiet only to find the others laughing at my laughter and not the joke. I find this trait more pleasant than a grumpy attitude so I have decided to embrace it, unashamedly. “We want more laughs” is the chant the little people in my head have come up with.

However, yesterday I was shaken when I abruptly found a reason to cry rather than attract stares for my outbursts.

For context, the training I am attending has participants from both Uganda and Burundi. Sessions are carried out in English and French.

I had engaged Ambrose* in a conversation about the situation back home over dinner once before. He gave me a summary based on his experience as a journalist talking about the media houses that have been shut down and the incessant censoring. We had moved swiftly to more appropriate dinner conversation.

This time, it was different.

Ambrose had been helping the facilitators to translate during certain sessions. This time after the trainer finished submitting a point, she turned to find a pensive Ambrose. He was lost in thought and did not move until he was called three times.

He was startled back to reality and explained the reason for his distraction.

“Every now and again, my mind drifts off to my people back home. There are several triggers from simple words or actions that constantly take me away from here. I do not know who is safe anymore and that makes me uncomfortable,” he said.
He went on to add, “I am happy to be spending this week in Uganda. At least I am sure that I will safely go to sleep and wake up to a peaceful environment the next day. I cannot say the same for my people.”

Sigh.

I do not know what got into my eyes at this point but it instantly became a waterfall.

We might be helpless in many ways, but depending on who/what you believe in, do spare time and pray for Burundi.

We have more than we can ever be grateful for in one lifetime.

prayer

Little joys

Time check 17:40. I can’t believe this day is actually coming to an end!

We are a little over two weeks into November and my goodness, what a month! I will save you the details and focus on the past few days.

I have been battling insomnia for a while now. I honestly can’t remember a time when I had 8 hours of sleep. Thanks to my predicament, I appreciate rest more than the average person. I respect people’s sleep because I know exactly what it means to live without it.

The past few weeks have been worse than usual. I am now averaging 1-2 hours no matter how tired I am. Whether I have been working my brain or my body for hours on end, my eyes shall refuse to shut. When they do, the brain will refuse to become inactive. The result is a bed that hardly serves its purpose and a system that is akin to a Zombie’s.

Recently after failing to sleep, I thanked God that I wasn’t in pain at least. Imagine that combination. Must.find.the.silver.lining.

So, last night as I worked on an assignment, the universe connived with my data to run out at 11:50 despite a deadline I had to beat. Additionally, I had spent 80,000 in two weeks on internet that just kept  disappearing when I most needed it. I cringed!

I soon remembered that I could buy a night shift bundle and tether my phone. Oh the glee! I quickly worked. At 2.30 a.m, my system failed. I could watch the video but not decipher the words. I could read but nothing made sense. What could be worse? I was still unable to sleep. Earlier in the day, I had called my doctor friend and asked him to prescribe a drug that was strong and could give me a quick fix. “All I need is some sleep, any sleep,” I begged. He wore his professional hat and instead recommended another doctor. All I wanted was sleep. *Sigh*

I was out of bed by 5 a.m, internet zero, brain alert, magical sound of  raindrops. Perfect weather to sleep, right?

I was ready to leave the house by 7 a.m and look for a place to work as I figured out what to do with all the future assignments. I decided to clean as distraction to my heavy heart. The rain continued for a while and I decided to stay home till my meeting, whether the rain had yielded or not.

Upon arrival at the coffee shop, I quickly realised their internet was also not as fast. The buffering would mean I would not be able to do much work. The meeting was short. I peered over my shoulder and noticed an acquaintance sitting not far from me. When I gave a brief of my predicament, she let me log on to her wireless internet. How kind!

It wasn’t long before it got messy too. The hour long sessions on video would get to 20 minutes, black out and require a complete start over. I was devastated. I could not binge on anymore tea because tea in this city is more expensive than imported alcohol *dollar yalinya* even when I know I could have flasks on end at home. <Is this why people fail to leave power and accumulate embezzled funds? Is it because they remember their past hustle and think never again?>

I digress.

I decided to read the notes that could withstand unstable internet. If I fail, what reason will I give? I am from a third world country? I think not.

I ignored all phone calls. I couldn’t know if it was good or bad news and honestly I feared I would snap at either. It was easier to stay away from any other unknown situations

It was then that my angel walked in. Someone whom I met a few weeks ago.I don’t even have her phone number and the second time we meet, she simply saves my day.

She had lunch as I had ‘kaboozi (conversation) I decided to rant. After all, It seems much easier to speak to someone you don’t know well about certain things. The worst she can do is ignore me the next time we meet so I did not have much to lose.

She ate. I talked. She spoke. I talked some more. We shared experiences, including about how worry will not solve anything. Yes, I said those words even as I worried! *Do as I say not as I do*

We laughed. Oh laughter, I missed you!

I forgot that I was hungry,tired and devastated.

Before she left, she suggested I go to her office and get my work done. The coward in me was already asking if her workmates would scold her for it instead of jumping at the offer in a heartbeat. She assured me it was okay and their internet would probably not disappoint me.

As I type this, I have successfully completed the lecture and downloaded 3 hours of another one that I can attend to tonight. I can even go by the 4040 meeting for a bit before my trek back to reality. How cool is that?!

I have just realised I last had a meal in the morning and that many of the troubles that existed before this still do but that’s farrrrr besides the point. I got the work done! Yaay!

I am not too sure about tomorrow but I am sure about right now and about God’s impeccable timing. He sent me this angel right when I needed her.

Meanwhile, I can’t thank her enough.

Trust me to make an essay out what was meant to be a short tale. *shakes head*

BYE!

time for

 

Sunday Morning

Sunday had always been Momma’s favourite day. She’d get up early, make breakfast and lunch then doll herself up for church. Martha needed only an hour to get ready so they could take the short drive to their ‘home church.” Martha liked to find new ways to tell her mother she looked good, she was a walking thesaurus. Ravishing, gorgeous, exquisite,stunning….Momma would instantly have the widest grin on her face each time she heard the compliments.

Depending on her mood, she would turn around and strike a pose..or simply ask “Aren’t you used by now?” They would both laugh and head out.

 

silhouette of mother kissing her daughter
Sunday had unexpectedly turned into a painful reminder of what things used to be. Martha dreaded it as much as she now resented God. How could he break her rock,her best friend, her genuine piece of happiness? Her cheerful momma had transformed into a shell of her former self in an instant.
Martha could vividly remember that evening. She had returned from work to find her mother coiled up on the couch, with puffy eyes and a stack of handkerchiefs. “What happened momma?” she yelled, louder than she’d expected. Momma seemed unable to make eye contact, her crestfallen face speaking louder than words. “I have ccckkkkk….” Was all she could muster before she broke down. Martha hugged her tight, trying to figure out what she was trying to say, hoping they would figure it out whatever it was. She could not remember the last time she had seen her mother like this. A part of her did not want to know what she was trying to say. After what seemed like ages, momma looked up and whispered, “the doctor says it’s cancer.”
Silence.
Tears started to roll down Martha’s cheeks. She opened her mouth but failed to make a sound. A million thoughts run through her head as she subconsciously dug her fingers into momma’s back. It was only after momma let out a soft moan that she noticed and put her arms around her neck instead. It was the longest night in her 25 years of existence.
********
Why were the chemotherapy sessions on Sunday anyway? Couldn’t the universe at least give them a break on this day of all days?, Martha often thought. Momma was now bald and weighed much less. She had aged rapidly  in this past year. The cancer took more than just her hair and weight though, it had stolen her spirit. That bit killed Martha more than the pain and financial struggles. She wanted her mommy back.
On the good days they took walks and talked animatedly, almost like old times.

Momma had noticed her oncologist’s left hand on one of their visits, always with her attention to details. There was no wedding band. On one of their routine checks,recently, she had turned to him and casually asked “Do you think my daughter is beautiful?” He’d been perusing through her file and it dropped immediately. He quickly picked it up, completely flustered and seemingly unable to respond. “Mom!” Martha exclaimed. “What? It is just a simple question,” momma stubbornly replied. The poor Doctor stood there unsure what to do next. “Well, this little girl of mine is single and it would be nice if you could both grab coffees sometime, you work too hard.” The tall, dark Doctor finally spoke. He turned in Martha’s direction and smiled, “I am game if you are.” He mumbled some excuse and hurriedly left the room.
They both burst out laughing when he left. Despite the awkwardness of the situation, Martha had missed her mom’s from-the-core-of-the-heart-laughter. She tried, albeit unsuccessfully, to remember the last time they had shared a moment like this.
It was in that instant that she decided she would stop blaming God or anyone else for their situation. If her single mother could give her the enviable life she had lived, the least she could do was give her beautiful memories in her time of need. Things had to change if she was to get her best friend back. Not to mention, Doctor Otim was not bad looking either 😉
Sunday mornings would not be the same, they would be better.

Winners: Best Campaign at Social Media Awards

“We would like to thank all our haters for getting us here.” These should have been the opening remarks of my speech at the Social Media Awards on Friday 15th November, 2013, right?

I am only kidding! We all know who got us there and we shall thank him for all of our days 🙂

The two nominations 40-40 got for these awards were a pleasant surprise. Faith said we would get the accolades, doubt shouted ‘Never!’ We on the other hand, didn’t know what to expect.

The atmosphere that evening was bright and breezy. I am not sure if I should be confessing the bit below but here goes 😉 *Types with eyes closed*

The terrific organisers of the event had an invite for me, uhm, yes, just me. I could not imagine being at the Hub ‘on my own’ at the time we were announced winners, or mourning solo in the event that we lost. We had to devise semi crafty measures *No further details* to get a few more invites.

If I had my way, the room would have had about 20 members of the team(or more) in one LOUD corner but, we got a good number nonetheless 😉

image

When I got to the venue at 6.00pm, which was starting time according to the programme, there was some activity but at the back of my mind, I figured the event would start an hour or so later. That was the case. However, with the drinks and tasty little bites at the cocktail, I am certain very few people had a chance to look at the time..Perhaps after the treats were done 😉

Roy, the entertaining MC of the night eventually got the ball rolling, and Patricia Kahill, one of the judges later got onto the stage. At this point the short but eventful evening started to unfurl as we watched and listened expectantly.

The first award was for the best blogger category. Bernard aka Beewol, who is one of our teammates, was up against some credible writers like Ruth Aine. We had our moment of ‘loud silence’ as we held our breaths to hear who the winner was. Beewol scooped the award and in trademark 40-40 fashion, we ululated and probably got ‘those looks.’ Still…yaaayy 🙂

Girls who chill with  winners be like ^^

Girls who chill with winners be like ^^

After this, we knew that only two other categories were close to our hearts, the Social justice award and the Best campaign.

We followed the programme religiously, got mini-heart attacks, pre-labour pains, short breaths and other conditions that I am afraid to put in writing for fear of being blamed for exaggeration:p

Just when it was time for the ‘Best campaign Award,’ as we held our breaths, it was cleverly skipped, leaving us disturbed and possibly numb.

Entertainment went on and I forced myself to sing along to songs, laugh at jokes and make small talk, anything to forget the ‘trauma’ ahead.

Eventually we got to the ‘Social justice’ award. We had each secretly believed this was the one we had a possibility of bagging. If anything, it defined us and the competition did not seem that stiff compared to the other but ALAS!

“And the winner is…… Barefoot lawyers….” Everything after this was a blur.
Some people took to twitter to ‘rant’ others ‘researched and gave stats of the traffic on the winner’s twitter and facebook page to understand why they won. It was too much to take in. My friend Ritah simply walked out.

We did NOT look like this at that point

We did NOT look like this at that point

Through all this, I sent whatsapp messages to tell everyone I knew had voted that we had missed out on one but would have faith for the next. That kept me occupied for a bit, then reality crept back. “What if we walk out of here without an award? I thought.

We had recently incurred losses at our Charity Bazaar. How was I to explain to the team that we had failed yet again? I needed some air so I walked out as well.

When I got to the bathroom, I found a disappointed Ritah. She told me she would stay in there till the event ended. She could not take the pressure and wanted to weep in private. “It is not fair, we deserved that award,” she said. All I could tell her was we had one more to go. I gave her a big hug and hoped to God for a miracle.

I went back inside. I wondered why we had finished the complimentary m n’ m’s. The chocolate would have been a good distraction.

In time, Seanice Kacungira , CEO Blu Flamingo came on stage with Nancy, her sister and their entire team. She gave an emotional speech which left my friends and I going ‘awww.’ This did not stop me from noticing the last three awards of the night ‘chilling’ on the side. “Would one of them be ours?”

The torture was colossal but there was nothing left to do. Breathing into the little ‘SMA’ paper bag did not do much for me either. Judgement day had come later than expected but it was still coming.

Finally it was time to announce the winner of the Best Campaign. I have no idea who handed it over or what he does, to tell you the truth I was in a daze for a while.

Who were we up against? Coca cola, MTN, Airtel and Malaria free Uganda. That must have been the first time ever those names were used in the same sentence. It most certainly won’t be the last. :D. Did I mention we are going to stalk them for sponsorship? Well….uhm, you know 😉

I do remember the camera man focusing on the scan which later unleashed a long-ish name. Could that be ’40 days over 40 smiles?’ It could be…and it WAS!! We won!! How/ When/Who/Where Which? Uhm, who cares, we did! 🙂

The pressure my goodness! I saw everyone around me get up but I couldn’t feel my legs. I let out a loud scream. For a moment, the room was empty except for the 40-40 team.

The Lord never fails his own, never!!

We went to the front; I said a few words (yawn) Let us go back to the real matter. WE WON!! The MC remarked “Indeed there are over 40 smiles!” In that instant, it felt like each of us had 40 smiles independently.

No one had screamed that much for their award, or had a crazy team smiling ear to ear until we did but let’s face it, we are not like anyone 😉

sma box

We were too excited after the ceremony to network, even when we spoke to the MTN marketing manager, there were just smiles, the photo op with the judges, also a blur, Navio in our photograph asking to also do the 40-40 sign (woah!!!) all went by too quickly.

We walked out with our excitement and had a mini celebration. I doubt I shall forget this special night any time soon. The award was great but everything it represents is so much more amazing.

Perhaps, another blog post shall be written for that bit.

In the meantime, (Didn’t get to say this in the 20 word speech), we thank Blu Flamingo for the initiative, and all the sponsors that believed and came on board, the amazing people that nominated and/or voted for us-family members and ‘strangers’ alike, the awesome 40-40 team that works tirelessly like they are expecting a reward simply because it is the only way they know how…and God who has NEVER forgotten us, as we come close to our second birthday.

ASANTE!!

Blessings 🙂 🙂 Love…love…xx

Wululu!!

Wululu!!