55 reasons why I love Uganda

I am joining the many bloggers writing my Ugandan story thanks to Ug blogging community and Kafunda creatives http://ugbloc.com/the-55ugblogs-kafunda-kreative-ugbloc-campaign/.

We are into our 55th year of Independence and here are my 55 reasons as to why I love my motherland.

1.I am a foodie so food had to take this spot.Uganda is a food basket.Have you had matooke in ndagala (banana leaves) with g.nut stew or meat ,fish and chicken? Try it.Did you know you can make fries with YAMS??The variety of food is insane and never boring.(Follow @AkitchenInUg for more tips)

2.Ugandans ooze hospitality and warmth.We welcome all people.You can’t get lost fwaaaa, people will help you get to your destination and even give you tips on how to avoid thugs.How cool is that?

3.The Ugandan Rolex; I honestly can’t believe it’s a big deal now.The creativity in the Rolex business is amazing.Rolex with minced mix flavored with chilli is my specialty.

4.The sunrise and sunset in Uganda are magical .It feels like God spent a little more time there.It’s simply B-E-A-U-T-I-F-U-L.

5.The endless green cover that has no boundaries. It joins districts with trees, flowers of all sizes and colors.I don’t have to go to the Amazon to see green cover,I have it right here in Uganda.

6.The hills and mountains that sit in various districts.Have you seen Mbuya hill, or been to the Western part of Uganda?I visited Mbarara over the weekend and it was breathtaking.

7.Our weather or climate.We have almost 3 rainy seasons in a year and we are the real ”basummer” ,we have the sun out always.

8.The smell of soil when rain drops kiss the ground.That chemistry can’t be taught in a lab,it can only be smelt.

9.Great music.I am a lover of muziki and each generation comes along with it’s flavor but some flavors linger on.Like Elly Wamala , Afrigo band and Madox Sematimba.I am currently obsessed with Judith Babirye’s Mukama Talimba, Ddagala by Robin San & Fortune spiceUg.

10.Musicians joining politics!!This was unheard of but it’s happening.Bobi Wine got voted into parliament and is doing mighty exploits.#kisoboka

11.Catch phrases created from our music and current events. These become part of our lingo for example teka sente wolaba,okikolotya btw?, togikwatako. These spread like wild fire.

12.Taxi stories.People who talk loudly while having phone conversations,that woman who eats boiled eggs when traffic is at its peak,that man who fights with the conductor over 100/= balance.or the conductor saying,’aba since when temuyingira”😂😂😂

13.The parks(new & old as well as usafi)harbor taxis going to any part of Kampala and Uganda at large.As long as you know which park has what taxis,you can’t go wrong with taxis.

14.There are bus parks too which make it easy for people to locate various buses going upcountry like Arua Park,global buses park among others.

15.The entrepreneurial spirit is contagious.Any business can flourish in Uganda.Numerous entreprenuers are doing amazing things in various sectors like fashion, music, chocolate.

16.Ugandans love to associate with success.When Obama became president,children born during his era are called Obama, Rolex stalls in my neighborhood were rebranded to Obama.

17.The young people finally have a voice and are making things happen.Gone are the days when that had to look on as things happened.They can’t be ignored anymore.

18.The political atmosphere.Some of our MPs are married to the nation and doing their job too well.Did you see the fight they put up in the recent #agelimit debate that raised the #togikwatako slogan?. I am proud to be alive at such a time.

19.The revolution of the fashion industry.Many designers are making clothes that Ugandans are wearing to the red carpet,weddings and various events. Designers like Kwesh, Sylvia owori,Anita Beryl, Martha Jabo.

20.We have our own Fashion Week.Growing up I watched New York and Paris fashion weeks until Gloria Wavamunno birthed Kampala Fashion Week(KFW).

21.Modelling industry has grown too.This was an industry parents wouldn’t let their kids indulge in.Look at Aamito Lagum,girl is doing incredible things.The models signed to Joram Management are doing well too.

22.Ugandan material on the market.This is a big achievement since growing up I never knew Ugandan authors.Read some Ug literature and it’s good.Books like wealth files and called to greatness by Moses Mukisa, Forearmed by Michael Katagaya, Homegrown Love by Elma Asio & Evelyn Karungi. You can find them in bookshops. As a reader and writer, I am inspired.

23.Growth of the comedy industry.I love a good laugh and Anne Kansiime is doing a great job.Anne Kansiime gets to travel to other countries to make people laugh.Comedians like pablo, Salvador who has a one man show this month,fun factory and many more.

24.Growth of content drama series.I can actually stand watching some Ug drama series like coffee shop,lies that bind ,among others.

25.Variety of TV stations. Gone are the days of UTV😂😂 only.

26.Variety of radio stations.I have close to four favorite radio stations that play super cool music and the hosts are great too.

27.Our rich culture 1;have you experienced the traditional dances from all over Uganda??You need too.The dances are graceful, beautiful, passionate,energetic and above all,they tell the Ugandan story.

28.Rich culture 2;traditional outfits that add flair to all functions they are worn too. The baganda have gomesis,people from Western Uganda wear sukas though,different tribes drape them differently.

29.Traditional weddings that are so Ugandan.These pay attention to tribal traditions and fulfil them when it comes to dowry, dress code, and so much more.

30.Royalty talk.Our kingdoms still exist with their kings and elders.That’s a heritage that will never be taken away.

31.The beautiful cows used for meat, milk, horns used to make decor, jewellery and as dowry.

32.Freedom of worship.It is exceptional.All religions worship what they want,who they want,where and when they want.

33.Our tea.I am a tea lover .I love me some kisubi tea,ginger tea with mudalasini (cinnamon in it’s raw form not the processed one).I am no coffee person.

34.Our money which is familiar and very easy to count and tell apart.It has significant symbols that tell the Ugandan story.

35.Our anthem that is prophetic.Being a believer,each time I sing it,’Oh !Uganda May God uphold thee.”I surrender my beloved country to God.

36.Education is a priority and most parents are doing whatever is within their power to put their kids through school.

37.Adrenaline junkie activities exist in Uganda away from TV 😂. I have experienced bungee jumping and ziplining and still looking forward to many more.

38.We love to dance and be happy.That’s why the Kampala city carnival is a hit each year.

39.The advertising of Ug products gives me life and has gotten better over the years.

40.The beautiful rivers,lakes and water falls.These create magical journeys and moments as they decorate our country.

41.Variety of fruits which are juicy and tasty. Some of my favorites include mangoes,jack fruit,water melon and pineapples.Plus they are affordable.

42.Our boys are being mentored in this generation.Check out http://pkahill.com/55ugblogs-who-is-mentoring-boys-to-men-in-this-55-years-old-country/

43.Generosity of Ugandans .People rally to give into various causes for example 4040 foundation building a dorm, baby Kayla’s operation in India,Mtn marathon,Buganda run, and so much more.

44.The beautiful animals in our national parks.They add a pop of color to the greenery.

45.We are a young nation with potential and every other day ,year and month there is a breakthrough for a young person .I am proud to be alive at such a time.

46.Natural hair is a thing of the future.Gone are the days when we had to relax our hair.Our very own Ugandans have come up with products that cater to our hair with a made in Ug tag.This is exciting .

47.Numerous opportunities to make wealth in various sectors.The market is growing rapidly. some youth have take advantage of this and others should too.

48.Our uglish that is tailor made just for Ugandans.Its our very own English.’ They stole me’ simply meaning they took/stole something from me.

49.Second hand clothes that are affordable.These can be found downtown and in various markets around Kampala like Nakawa, Kamwokya and Usafi.Who wouldn’t want to be stylish on a low budget??

50.Ugandans are so nice,cool,intelligent,funny with a pinch of sarcasm.We smile and greet each other in taxis.I tried this in Kenya and my neighbor gave me the look.

51.The various restaurants owned and run by Ugandans dealing in local food.These are exciting because some times I get tired of KFC and Java’s caribbean jerk chicken.

52.Nsenene (grass hoppers).I love these insects and when they spice them up ,I am undone.Though my Kenyan friends can’t eat them.

53.Youth and women empowerment is being done by fellow Ugandans.Organisations like Kyusa are problem solvers.

54.I almost forgot boda bodas.I got a bad accident while on a boda this year but I can’t deny the fact that they are convenient and super fast.

55.I love Uganda because it is home and home is where the heart is. Everything is familiar,the people,dialects, structures,food, airtime,money.I love Uganda in all colors❤❤💙💚💜💞💟.

Photos courtesy of Kafunda Kreatives, Imigani and personal archives.

©Racheal Kizza 2017

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Extraordinaire 8: Live Martha

1.Who is Martha?

Martha Ainomugisha Mugisa is a Leadership Development enthusiast who is passionate about empowering others. Her heart is sold out to youth, children and the vulnerable. She’s been married to Gideon for the last 8 years and is a mother to 2 precious girls, Hannah and Hadassah! She loves a good read,travelling and having a good hearty laugh!

2.Genesis of Livewire.

The first LiveWire forum was held sometime in 2012. Early 2012, I was visited by 3 young men who I had mentored years back. They were at a point in their lives when they were completing university and they felt we needed to meet, catch up and chat like old times and especially talk about issues of love and relationships that were a puzzle to them at that point in their lives. We agreed to meet over some nyama choma like old times. Two weeks to our meeting, a few other friends from the good old times showed interest in coming so we opened it up and decided to find a venue, and do logistics for a real meeting. I think we had over 30 young people in attendance. At that meeting, it was agreed that another meeting should happen. When I met with the initial 3 guys for an evaluation meeting, we agreed to tentatively call the meetings live wire and this is why: I had met these precious people during a time when I worked with Scripture Union Uganda. They used to volunteer during youth conferences during which one of the most popular parts of the program was a session we called live wire (intended to mean that things were discussed as openly and bluntly as could be). And your guess is as good as mine, the hottest topic during live wire at the conferences was relationships, love , sex and everything in that line. So, without really planning to, we started having regular meetings. The name has still stuck. It was only modified to The LiveWire Forum”. We have debated over the years on whether to change it but well, let’s see what the future holds. The Spark team(a group of volunteers who plan and execute the forum’s activities) was constituted and here we are. The rest, like they say, is history.

3.How do you juggle livewire and your day to day life of being a mother and managing other ventures?

From the very start, we appointed a team of volunteers to plan and execute the activities of the forum. This means that the burden does not lie squarely on my shoulders. So I have learnt to empower others to be part of the work so that the responsibility is not heavy. As earlier said, this team of volunteers at LiveWire is called the Spark Team! There is also a group of married people who are burdened about this ministry who have come on board over the years. We call them “Elders”. They are a great source of encouragement and support.

4. How often is LiveWire held?

We hold 4 forums a year usually around March, July, September and November. The November forum is custom made for those planning to walk down the aisle. It’s code-named “Planning To Say I Do”. This September our forum is happening on 30th,dubbed ,”lad_lady in Waiting.”

5.Achievements so far?

The testimonies of impact are so many. That is what has brought us this far and gives us the grace to keep going. We have interfaced with over 500 young people over the years. Seeing young people finding courage to face tough situations, make tough but life changing decisions, arise to pursue their dreams or deciding to live right is what we live for at LiveWire. Also, we have since defined our niche and focus and also gone on to expand our scope of reach. The LiveWire forum is now a program under a registered non-profit, IGNITE Initiatives (www.igniteinitatives.org), whose vision is to empower the next generation of influential leaders. We are excited about what the future holds!

6. Challenges faced.

Like earlier stated, the start of this forum was not planned. It really just happened. So, along the way when it became clear that we needed to keep going, my team and I had the challenge of deciding where we wanted it to go and how. We have had to go before God to give us direction and guidance. We have had to embark on Long term thinking and planning. This process is actually ongoing. I like what the future looks like. Our other burden and challenge has been follow up. In this kind of work, you must follow up on people and build support systems if you are to have long term and meaningful influence and impact. But because this is something we do part time and with a small team, it’s been a challenge. However, since we have decided to think long term, we are working on processes and systems to help us be more effective.

7.How does one join the forum?

LOL!!! you don’t have to recite any creed OR be a certain way. Are you a young person keen on making godly decisions on matters of love, relationships and marriage OR are you keen on discovering God’s purpose for your life and pursue it? Just attend one of the forums or join us on the WhatsApp group and you will officially be part of the family.

8.What advice do you give to youth who are struggling to find their purpose?

My first word would be breathe in and out and go easy on yourself. Every single person you see around you goes through that phase at some point in their life (especially those who seem to have it all together)! Now, you won’t believe it but your purpose is closer to you than you think. All you have to do is look around you and inside you. I believe and have come to appreciate that our purpose is woven intrinsically into every fibre of our lives by God our creator. Who you are; your personality, likes and dislikes and your experiences in life will quickly help you define your purpose if you take a close enough look. So a good place to begin is by asking the one who made you- God. In simple terms, pray about it.

9.Social media sites

Whatsapp: https://chat.whatsapp.com/KHHqtln3GQt1sJ541y1n1T

Facebook:https://web.facebook.com/groups/244871502271995/

Twitter: @LiveWireForum

Join us!!!

©Racheal Kizza 2017

Book Review 10

Book : Coffee and Love Chats

Author: Lorraine Onyango

Pages: 123

ISBN:978 9966 1891 03

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The author beautifully opens the love chats with her own love story detailing her own journey;the how she met her husband and her worries of a long distance relationship to the engagement. She further reveals the “why” for putting the book together-to change the conversation on marriage as portrayed in the media that marriages are doomed to fail.

She intricately weaves her web with a vast majority of couples who clearly show that marriage is not doomed to fail,it can work out with God at the center. Some couples reveal they got married immediately after university while others met in a matatu, bank hall and struck up conversations and one thing led to another. Each story is unique and the people are diverse and the constant in their stories is -God.

The common questions discussed include expectations about the spouse, parenting, finances,investment, children or the lack thereof, employment choices/career, health and involvement of family and friends. The couples answer the questions with an open vulnerability helping the reader to fully understand the gist of marriage and how our upbringing forms our perceptions on marriage. One of the couples reveals that,“ marriage is not for people who are unprepared..” It calls for a certain level of maturity and dying to self by God`s grace in order to be the spouse God desires you to be.

It is evident from the answers the couples give that, upbringing plays at vital role in marriage.One couple in particular,the lady(Turi Wamboye) shares how she was getting ready to prepare her husband tea in the same sufuria they had used to cook meat.He(Ernest Wamboye) stopped her and said where he was raised,each dish had its own sufuria.Imagine that!!! They had to purchase another sufuria.

Some questions begot answers that were left hanging or incomplete as you read the book .For example; One of the ladies says her husband stopped pursuing her. She didn’t`t further break it down for one to understand what pursuing meant to her since it is evident, we all view things differently based on our upbringing and many other factors.

Most of the couples revealed the importance of pre-marital counselling and its vitality during the whole dating/courting affair .

I recommend this book to the singles, those dating and are preparing to be married and also the marrieds. It gives a fresh christian perspective on the whole marriage affair.This can be used as a guide for asking hard but vital questions . The warmth as each page is opened is undeniable.

It’s a conversation starter.

Get your coffee and enjoy the love chats.

For enquiries,bookings or correspondence :

email :majestypublishing@gmail.com

Racheal Kizza © 2017

Soul Touch International

 “​​​​​​​​The local church is the hope of the world’-Bill Hybells. This simply means , the church is a solution to the problems the world`s experiencing.  Meet Soul Touch International whose priority is to be church to the vulnerable children in slums around Kampala.

1. Who is Soul Touch?

Soul Touch International is a registered Christian organisation that was initiated by a group of university students in 2011; under the leadership of Ronald Amanya to respond to God`s call to preach the gospel and help needy children in slums, believing that every sinner can turn into a saint and every slave can become a master given time and opportunity. We focus on gospel missions, student outreach and child care. Child care is handled under the  soul care project.

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Founding team back in 2011 (Ronald Amanya ,seated between the two ladies on the grass)    Photo source: Soul Touch International

2. How do you get the kids under soul care project?

They are recommended by a school, church, police or organizations in the community. The soul care team follows up the child in order to get full recommendation from the local council of that community and then the family`s consent. Parents need to give us permission to take on their children .

We take on kids who are deemed to be needy, vulnerable or less advantaged from the slum communities of Katanga, Bwaise, Kasokoso, Kawala and Mulago. We register children between 5-9 years. The idea is to evolve with them upto university level.

 3. How many kids did you start with in 2011 and how many do you have currently?

We started with only 2 children (Paul and Denis) from Katanga who were not attending school at that time because their parents lacked school fees and other scholastic materials.

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Paul & Denis, the pioneer children

We currently have 30 children  under our Soul care project .They are all enrolled into various Nursery and Primary schools for example Batvalley, Buganda road, St.Martin, Kawala Junior,and many others.

4.What more do you offer the children besides school fees and taking care of their school needs?

  • Mentor-ship where we connect them with mentors who can inspire them to fulfill their dreams.
  • Family empowerment involves helping the parents of the children start up their own small businesses so they are able to sustain their families. It also involves visiting with the families and praying with them to ten to their emotional and spiritual needs.

5.Challenges Soul Touch has  faced since it’s inception.

  • Financial constraints since the budget expenses are always high especially when school begins.
  • Fundraising is tedious since the term Ngos and money has over the years received a bad reputation.
  • Rent since we have to maintain an official address.
  • Soul Touch International  is a growing organisation with most of our staff being  volunteers who are not easy to depend on as their commitment and experience is not reliable.

6. What are your sustainability plans?

  • In partnership with Makerere Palliative care unit,we started a piggery project in Wakiso which can partly support the organisation.
  • We have started teaching our children to make crafts which we will in turn sell off .

7.How can people partner with Soul Touch International?

  • Sponsor a child at only 70,000 or 20 USD.
  • Be a mentor to a child
  • Volunteer with us
  • Donate any amount of money monthly or annually.

8.Where is Soul Touch International  located?

Location: Makerere Kikoni near canani land

Website: http://www.soultouchinternational.org

Email:info@soultouchinternational

Facebook:Soul Touch International or soul care project

Twitter: SoulTouch_UG

Tel: +256706535283/+256785853134

Love me anyway

When I can’t smile like I used too,

love me anyway

When you realize I am not that perfect,

Love me anyway.

When you see my worst self piling up,

Love me anyway.

When insecurities kick in so loud,

Love me anyway.

When I can’t stand others being around you,

Love me anyway.

When I can’t put off the cloth of selfishness,

Love me anyway………

Simply love me like Christ loved the church-relentlessly,with no strings attached.

Love me anyway.

Racheal Kizza ©2017

Careless in the Love of God

Sunday is my day out .I am picked and dropped from Worship Harvest, Kibuye location by a very good man also a member of the church(hold up!!!!, he isn`t my hubby, hehehe. He has a beautiful wife-Gladys and they have two adorable children).

The good man is Ivan; he has a daughter-Erica. She is a bundle of joy and has so much energy, she is a rock star with a fierce personality. Erica knows who her daddy is and she carelessly lives it out.

Erica will reach out to her dad amidst clusters of people with the “he is my dad attitude.’’ She doesn`t fear when her father is around; her actions portray her confidence in her father. She is so careless in his love.

Watching them, I am reminded of God`s love. Ivan symbolizes God, who loves us and desires we bask in His love. A love so pure it oozes liberation, inclusion and acceptance. It makes no demands but only seeks to love some more each day.

We are in a covenant relationship with Him. This ultimately means, we are in a heaven bound relationship that can NEVER be broken. So quit worrying about those monies, tuition, that health situation, job placement, marriage, family dispute, and promotion. Hand it over to Him and remember Romans 8:32, “He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?’’

Bask in His love. Love limitlessly and allow to be loved, worship recklessly, lift up those hands with abandonment, dance like there is no tomorrow. Quit harbouring fear.

Be careless in the love of God.

Racheal Kizza © 2017

love

Red letter

Dear Beloved,

Hephzibah (My Delight)

Every promise I have made to you is TRUE, because I am not a son of man to lie,

Nor a son of man to change MY MIND.

While you were yet a sinner, I died for you.

Not because of your love for me; it had nothing to do with you but everything to do with ME.

You come from a royal lineage-priesthood, a peculiar nation.

You are royalty, bought not by silver or gold but the BLOOD OF JESUS.

The Blood that saves and never loses its power.

The blood that strings victory, hope, faith, love with each flow.

The blood that oozes eternity.

Love 3 in 1(God,Son&Holy spirit).

PS; Easter is a reminder of God`s red-letter to us. A letter that is worthy to be shared by all who have received it so they fall in love with the writer.

Racheal Kizza © 2017