Hop-Step-Jump

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Don’t we have just too many supermen lately? And I don’t speak of ones that scout rooftops as vigilantes seeking to sweep victims from the sneering claws of danger. I speak of men (thank God women have their sanity in check) bold enough to scale up the city’s most common and tallest buildings in the disguise of need for fresh air. I have a mild phobia for heights and yet even if I get close, I mind that I am not so edge-far. So what person in their right mind will seek fresh air at the edge of a building? Is there a different kind of freshness of air? I should know better than to rant so I will just go on and speak my mind.

Have we gotten so used to the gift of life that we would dare throw ourselves to the ground? Is life that worthless to some people that they would rather jump to their death? Are these people rational as they come up with this decision? Have they taken stroll in hospitals or attended burials where every tear that falls to the ground is prayer for resurrection? Do these people so dumb-founded as to jump know how much a person lying on their death bed with a realization they haven’t lived even a quarter of life wish for a chance at life again? Do they know how many people would rather live in tribulation with life than 6 feet under with no hope at all? Well I suppose they don’t.

My mind wonders at how God feels as he watches these people take the flight of steps (or do they teleport) with a mind made-up in finality. How God did take on a human manifestation and came to earth to save it so he does have a relationship with his people and with a promise of “I will be with you till the end” is taken for granted.. I don’t know!. What runs through his mind I want to know but isn’t it rather interesting that these jumpers ain’t dying!!! (twisted mouth emoji)!!                                                                                 Are they being given chance to meditate about their irrationality? Or is it a testimony for generations to come? You know they say—you only go through certain things so you can learn from them, they make you better.

I did read a tweet that struck as humorous and vague at the same time “GOD is no longer accepting suicide death applications” <–

But seriously…. Let your candle burn out. Don’t blow it off. I have always believed that there are just too many options than that of death. Isn’t hope the anchor of souls? Doesn’t it keep company when all else fades? When electricity does a chuck, as long as you settled your bill, you are sure its just but time before it comes back, haven’t we all gone through times that have left us drained, hopeless, experts at cursing, being pessimistic and irritable but how about you take a mind-trip back to that time when you thought it wouldn’t get all over? I now appreciate a line that cordially disappears in sermons for most of us. “Never let the excite you had when you overcame wane” or “don’t get too used to miracles, they won’t excite you anymore”. Stop living life like it’s a burden. Live it as though its your new relationship (endless calls, dates, excitement, plans, comfort seeking, trips and make-ups—by this I mean, get over your disappointments and stand up much taller than previously.

Dear next superman,
Before you jump off another of those buildings, make sure you have a suit that won’t frail under gravity’s pull. Secondly, supermen save. They aren’t saved. Thirdly we hope you have a reason strong enough to have us believe you—which by now you know doesn’t exist. So leave the superman abilities to television and for any practical, go to the chemistry lab or go actually support our tourism industry. We have quite a number of activities that accommodate jumping without necessarily damaging people’s cars.
♣♣♣Cynthia ♣♣♣
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Are community mobilizations effective?

For the past two weeks, I have been actively engaged in the #iKnowKati activations (you might have come across it if you followed UOT). Apart from salsa flash-mobs and maybe dance-related activities, I haven’t been to anything that would attract a crowd. I have seen them but usually the more I have, the more I turned my eye and paid a deaf ear.

Well just recently in Lira, #iKnowKati started as early as 9th through to 10th whereas Kabale was 16th and 17th. You would ask why there would be two days of It.—that’s what is topic for this post anyhow.

A day before the concert is usually termed the “mobilization day” where a team of skaters, acrobats, peer educators, organizers move through the mentioned town with reason to make people aware of why they seem to be trailing town.

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Before I go any further, #iKnowKati in a lay man’s language stands for “I now know”.         It is a campaign on HIV that emphasizes the sexually transmitted virus; how it is spread, how it can be prevented/avoided and how to live a healthy positive life once a person finds out they are infected with it. Equally the campaign also avails everyone with accurate information that has been mired by myths and misconceptions as well as avail people with information on centres an individual can access youth friendly services like counseling, ART and continued blood tests. Therefore the continued mobilization walk and drive ensure that this happens.

Which brings me to my question. Are community mobilizations effective?

My answer is yes, #iKnowKati has taught me so. See there are many advantages to a community mobilization

First; it has you fit into the community and people in that given community don’t have to look at you like learned professionals who only blubber English that will sound gibberish for them

Secondly; community mobilizations enable a participatory approach. Which community or group of people is going to buy your idea if you don’t have them participate in it or much more have them feel like they are entitled to it?

Thirdly; I wonder how many people will go to hospital for health education which includes; Abstinence, being faithful to your partner or contraception use? Would you? How about if these people that have offices and health centres came to your shop/stall or bumped into you on the road. Wouldn’t you spare just a few of your minutes to listen on what their package entails? I think I would. If not to learn at least to marvel at how young people my age have taken the bull by the horns to work towards ensuring reduction in the prevalence rates of HIV.

Last but one I know not to take for granted is that community mobilizations enable you understand that how we perceive issues based on their sexual and reproductive health is different. I wonder how many times I had heard of HIV/AIDS even recited endless poems about it (it sort of becomes monotonous hearing the same topic) but while in Lira, I watched people scamper for this message, give opinions that were myths conceptualized by culture and society.

I think such drives are commendable for among the people that came up to the tents to take an HIV test, some( if not majority) said reported to have never tested or last tested in a period of 6months back. Therefore what does this mean; that as music booms through speakers, as young people explain this and demonstrate that, as the acrobatics showcase all kinds of spectacular flexibility and the bogey-man (that man that always stands taller than anybody else on sticks oba what… ), the need to actually get out of the cave of curiosity and also the excitement will lead these people to go take a test if at least to be associated with the load of activities taking place.

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What amazed me was how thirsty people out of Kampala are also in need of such information seeing that every “free kivulu on HCT/Cancer screening/blood pressure et cetera” is held in Kampala.

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As I sign out; I would like to leave marks of my lessons.

  • Number one is closer to my heart. Don’t pass through life but rather experience it. TRAVEL
  • Secondly, the best form of information dissemination is in the community during community mobilizations. People learn more when you physically explain your notions than if you hang posters or did a radio broadcast (they are effective, I ain’t saying they aren’t but they aren’t effective enough)
  • Thirdly, to have the HIV prevalence rates decreased, more emphasis should be put in areas away from civilization. The target group is found in the coldest and most rural with a facade of development outline
  • Lastly, Beware of imposing. Respect people when they decline to your request/offer and LISTEN; not to talk back but to understand and empathize.

Okay in other news, we danced, we jumped, screamed and also appeared on national Tv.. 😛 😛

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Adios….

My Experience

Today I woke up at an island

The beauty surpassed what words could mold

At the hour of ten on a boat cruise exhausted

This creation I paid no attention

 

My flinched mind tells me if I go any nearer

I just might jump in                          

So at a distance shall I stand and awe

When I thought I had beheld enough beauty

I had seen but an ounce of the possibilities of nature

 

My geography does fail me

For as a requisite for promotion, I crammed

Crammed never stays longer for its just but to meet an emergency

And yet today I did learn a few things

What a crater lake meant and how in existence it came

I hope you do recall the geographic diagrams we drew

In books too many during levels of O’

 

I watch its waters

Inquisitive how far off they flow

The torrents not as strong as of falls

But equally not still

Waves emerge from center to the shore

Many a men had shared an ugly truth about this expanse

“It is deep” they emphasized “second deep in East Africa”

My mind did retreat to the experiences I have had in the swimming pools

For gravity always decides to play an untimely game when I adventure to the ends of deep

So like Donald duck, my survival destination comes with multiple flapped feet and outrageously thrown arms

“Have you had episodes of people falling in?” I asked for my mind

“Quite many” the boat captain seated with relaxation at its rising tip replies

“Do they survive?”

“No they don’t because majority are always light headed” he says as a matter of fact

I did react as anyone would; pushed towards the center, towards the guy with whom I shared the seat

I didn’t help for he had equally had been attentive of the dialogue

And when I thought I had found my knight in shivering armor, he recoiled

Captain did notice our suddenly alert and stiff posture and did assure

“You can’t fall in. you are the safest people in the world right now”

 

Safest people we were really

Clad in cloths our choice but life jackets compulsory

A freedom assailed my heart and let me loose

I let my hand glide into the water

Ooh>> not ice-cold like the wind around us

On the contrary, it was warm

A shiver did spread to my teeth

Tattering not from Kampala Coldness but from winds of the Bunyonyi Lake

I feel really favored (I feel like doing an envious video similar to the range rover girl but I will keep calm and write on)

Our boat cruise did come to a stop 15 minutes later

Exhaustion covered my body in a blanket

Warm bed and pillow so soft

I was sure only after 10:00am would I wake

But here I am up earlier than everybody else

Writing my first day experience to Entusi.

                             Kale bye….

What would you do with a million dollars?

Would you buy a Chevrolet, Porsche or latest Range Rover?

Would you start a poultry farm, rear horses or venture into animal husbandry?

Would you go ambush all uptown clothing shops and to get the latest designs or open up a store downtown?

Would you start up a firm or co-operate company?

Would you start up an organization or offer it entirely to charity?

Would you take a world-wide tour to all your favorite destinations or rent out a condo in a country away from home?

Would you gamble all of it away or would you proportion it for all the street beggars?

Would you stash it in a bank and quit your job or would you have a safe built into your house to avoid the interest rates?

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You possibly have a thousand thoughts streaming your mind relating to accountability of this huge sum.

Maybe you have even been at a point in life where you wished to have an encounter with a bagful of money or maybe if only a wishful stranger could be polite enough offer you the amount your heart so much sought.

Sometimes we are not prepared for the tremendous things we ask/wish for? (God Knows we aren’t when we think we are) because worse we may lose sanity to those things if granted us early…

A million dollars is a lot of money, In the Ugandan currency that would be close to 34 billion (or even more). But apart from appearing more frequently in court to explain in-depth how you ended up with a sum as huge as that, What would do with a million dollars?

“Most times, what we want does not translate into what we need”

What is Africa to you?

What would come to mind if the word “Africa” were pronounced? Would you want to be associated with whatever response?

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My answer is “It depends what exactly has been told about Africa that I may want to be associated with” and before you lynch, let me explain that some of what is told of Africa is based on stereotypes and misconceptions (I wonder if you would want to be associated to a pack of daylight/moonlight lies about a place you have grown, fed, dated and even married)!!

I happened to attend the last day of #writivism2016 and after a few excerpts had been read from Gambit (a book am looking to own one of these jolly days 😉 ), a discussion ensued. The audience wanted to know what it is/should be like to write an African story hence mind boggling questions that could be summarized in one “What is Africa to you?”

Is it the war-tone area filled with aggressive black people? Is just a single country? Is it filled with vegetation and animals? Do its people walk around with bark cloth and spears in hand? Are they so uncertain about revolution that they have no single clue about tech and innovations, tall buildings and chemistry labs………..?

The argument is here; Africa is a continent with variety of countries, people and tribes. Africa has gone through revolution as much as any other country. Africa is authentic and proud of it but it has inevitably faced change over time. The story sold about Africa is only but a rumor unless you make travel within its unfold.

On analysis however, you will realize that our perception of the world is almost flawed. And not that I intend to induce any hard feelings but isn’t it baffling that the movies will show a wishful life of the people outside Africa whereas the same movies will speculate how a certain disease started out in a certain forest in Africa? Its rather nerving that we are letting other people sell our story with a web of lies whereas we sit to laugh at the humor interjected.

Did I deviate up there? Ooops if it feels that way, here is the catch; As Joel Ntwatwa, Shaun Randol and Ayobami chaired the session on Gambit review, one thing I learned was, “as you try to write about Africa, don’t look back five ten decades ago, only look back to reflect on Africa’s journey towards its revolution. Write about the current Africa, The Africa in 2016 where we have trends like the Rolex. Therein is the rawness and authenticity you are looking to engage the reader with.” Personally, I have come to realize that;

words are your magic wand. Weave them appropriately and you might be as lucky as Cinderella

Conclusively, judging a place and its people before deeply engaging is what a certain writer had in mind as they formulated “never judge a book by its cover’. Otherwise the people in Africa have the same heart and possibly even insecurities but then how can you know if you have no courage to travel to discover the diversity of this beautiful continent..huh?!

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  • You learn how to cut down trees by cutting them down. ~ Bateke proverb
  • Traveling is learning. ~Kenyan Proverb
  • A day of traveling will bring a basketful of learning. ~ Vietnamese proverb

Waiting

I don’t mind waiting

In the rain

In the scorching sun

In all four seasons

Your arrival is most precious

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I don’t mind waiting

People may not understand why I would

But it doesn’t count anymore what they think

I will wait right here

On my knees

In your word

Meditating upon your promise

 

The wait may not be easy

It may be longer than my anticipation

But I still don’t mind waiting

For in my selfishness and unworthiness, you waited!!

 

What do you know about STIs?

So yesterday I happened to host the #AskAPeerEducator session that happens every Thursday as a live feed/tweet chat that focuses on diverse topics in the sexual reproductive health and rights field. It is an idea by Reach A Hand Uganda (RAHU) to have young people engage and be engaged on topics ranging from life skills, career, sexual health and reproductive health coupled with rights. I should further emphasize that it is a platform whose main goal is to differentiate the truth from the myths and misconceptions as well as have young people having access to well researched, age-appropriate and scientifically proven information from experts, peer educators and invited guests.

My discussion was centered mainly on everything about STDs and STIs and how they have affected young people today. So let’s start from the beginning and this here i write in relation to the questions that came in from those that were tuned in.

What are STDs and STIs? Is there a difference?

STDs stands for sexually transmitted diseases whereas STIs stands for sexually transmitted infections. They both are transmitted sexually as we have been taught however, there is a difference between an STD and an STI.                                                            An STD is usually a result of an STI.. Therefore you can’t have a disease without first acquiring the infection which could either be a virus or bacterial multiplication. Majority health organizations have thought it wise to do away with “STD” because they feel it is a big term as diseases are related to severe and progressed situations that may require either surgery or amputation. They argue that;

what a person is exposed to immediately after sexual indulgence with an infected person is an infection which may progress into a disease if left untreated.

How are STIs spread?

STI are spread through having unprotected sex.                                                                            High risks are mostly among people in a sexual network, people that have sex with an infected person or if one comes into contact with body fluids and blood during sexual intimacy.

What are some of the existing STIs?

There are quite a number of STIs but I will manage a few mentions. These include Gonorrhea, syphilis, Herpes, Human Papilloma Virus, Chlamydia, hepatitis A and Hepatitis B, HIV among many others that inhabit our bodies but haven’t manifested. There is an endless argument about whether candida is an STI. However it is very important to note that Candida is a healthy yeast that is found in our private parts but if there is an imbalance in the acidity of the genital fluids, the yeast multiplies and causes an infection called Candidiasis. It is a most common in women and can be passed on to men through vaginal sex as vaginal bacterium which will have them develop a thrush and inflammation at the tip of their penises.

What are some of the signs of an infection?

Usually some STIs have no signs and a person can only notice them 6weeks or 3months after exposure.

However you could have an STI if; you experience pain when urinating, have wounds in your private parts, have an inflammation of the private parts, itching that won’t stop, unusual discharge with a grey/yellow color, bleeding in between periods for girls, warts on your skin and body pains.

How can I know I have an STI?

You may not be able to find out you have an STI unless you visit a health centre and take the test. It is very important to do this especially if you initially had unprotected sex, got into a new relationship and also for the sake of caution. It is not enough to find out if she/he is HIV negative, it is your obligation to test for any other STIs so that you can access appropriate medication to cure/manage the infection.

What are some of the effects of STIs?

An STI if left untreated exposes  an individual to many risks among which may include cervical cancer, infertility, blindness in children, dementia, meningitis whilst others increase the risk to acquire HIV. STIs affect young people psychologically and emotional because a number of times, they are inclined to stay silent than go through the embarrassment of a gynae check. This further affects how they relate and express themselves.

Is there treatment for STIs?

Yes there is treatment for STIs well apart from Herpes as it can only be managed but not cured. However, all the rest have treatment whereas HPV has a vaccine. It is imperative to stay away from sexual relations while taking medication as well as abstinent a week after the dosage has been completed.

Where can I access treatment?

From my observation, majority health centres now provide youth friendly services to youths and young people starting from consultation, counseling and free testing.Youth friendly centres are everywhere depending on your area of location.

Visit your nearest health centre every other time you have unprotected sex, an abnormal itch or pain in the private parts.

You can watch the video of yesterday’s live stream here –> https://www.facebook.com/reachahand/videos/1410996272263908/