Growing Pains

An Alien To The Status Quo

Guest Post: The Politics of Brokeness

We’ve all been there. So broke that it hurts our teeth. The politics that we have to jump through to survive and stretch our last shilling until payday. In this guest post, Martha Magero, who first guest blogged in 2021, writing about how Christian brothers tend to confuse us Christian girls with their niceness. Here’s Martha with the Rolex that almost killed her.

The Rolex That Was To Kill Me

I leave work late targeting cell. If I go home before cell, I may never leave; I have no sofas and my bed gives the best hugs. But I must attend cell. As much as I would like it to be for the right reasons, you know church and Jesus, it isn’t. It is simply that omwavvu affa (a poor person is dying)! Cell is my only hope of getting a good meal.

It is the last week before salary week. Last Sunday, I had UGX 20,000 that would take me through this hell week. But by Monday, I had UGX 4,000 only; I have a Mobile Money loan from MTN due yesterday and I have borrowed airtime on both my lines. MTN will have to wait, they don’t know where I live and what is the worst they can do, disconnect my line? Okay, they could track me. But for UGX 50,000? Anyway, until then, I would continue to evade MTN debt collection.

I have never been more thankful to God that I can walk to work. I know that even though I couldn’t walk, I would at least die trying. So, cell, my only real supper for the week. Last night, I had eaten bananas and tea; the other night, a bun and some cake I got from my neighbour. I am hungry for real food. I take my time getting to the cell location – I don’t want to burn too much energy and look too hungry.

You can imagine my disappointment when I get to the house only to be told that the host isn’t available. What does she mean by “not available”? Doesn’t she know how important it is for young Christians to have a fellowship outside Sunday gatherings?

Begrudgingly, I turn back to my place. I now have to buy supper because, by the time I get home, I will have depleted my energy. At least I still have the 4000. Nope, wait, I bought airtime worth UGX 2000 to pay back the airtime loan so that I could borrow more airtime. So, that leaves me with UGX 2000. Eh!

I walk to the Rolex stand I saw on my way to cell.

The first thing I notice is the wood workshop next to it. Great! A sawdust-flavoured Rolex. Since trees are plants, it’s like eating vegetables, right? I place my order; one chapati and two eggs. It’s UGX 2000 now!  When did things become this bad? UGX 2000 for dust and sawdust? But then again, eat once, die once.

My chef for today breaks the eggs into his cup and cuts the onion. I’m just about to say nyaanya mbisi when I remember a friend who had investigated the concentration of E. coli in Rolexes. (Side note: You don’t want to ingest E. coli. Trust me.) She found that nyaanya mbisi has more concentrations whereas the nsikiremu has negligible amounts.

Enyaanya zisikiremu,” I say. Crisis averted.

He gets the tomato. It looks like it hasn’t seen water since it left the garden. In fact, it looks like it took a walk through the Kalahari and just when it had found the oasis, it was captured and delivered to this stand. God help me. Before he cuts the tomato, he cleans his hands with the cloth. Yes, I’m talking about The Cloth. This cloth looks like it was once orange back when it was used to wipe the table on which the 1900 Buganda agreement was signed.

At this point, I have started wording my will; Michelle gets two goats and the rest go to my joy; Marianne will take the mattress.

He cuts the tomato into the beaten eggs and fries them. When they are ready, he gets the chapati from one of those storage boxes that look like warmers and places it on top. Wait, this chapati is so thin and translucent it could walk the runway at the Paris Fashion Week! I’m about to complain but I notice that the place he got the chapati from looks like it doubles as his workstation for treating wood; It is caked with a black matter that could be anything from a symbiote to an entire universe of E. coli. God help me.

Right then, he overturns the combo and transfers it to the same place he got the chapati. At this point, in my peripheral, I see the dancing pallbearers and faintly hear their music. It intensifies when the lady who is to roll my Rolex scratches her nose just before touching it.

Lord, take me swiftly. I can already see the headline, “Omwavu amaze naffa.” (The poor one has died)

I receive my “well-packaged” Rolex and continue home. I only have a few minutes to decide; to eat or not to eat. But judging from the noise my stomach is making…

See you on the other side.

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