October 8, 2012

The Uganda at Fifty Poem

January 23, 2012

From the heart of Heart

Like caressing tides in a stream,
You sweep across my heart
Gently and I never get hurt:
You’ve been my perennial dream

You and I are a team
And while I press you closer, tight,
Our future I visualise bright
As a beacon’s beam

You are a gentle interruption to my thoughts
Conjuring smiles upon my weary face
Upon memories of how you embrace!
And I give my heart to you without doubts.

Since in love there be fangs,
Let’s to the envious turn a deaf ear
Let’s to their provocations not hear
And keep under control, both our tongues

Does man out of love cry?
My emotions I can neither suffocate
Nor with anyone else reciprocate
For with you, can I ever be shy!

See how from my heart I smile for you!
And when with my hands you I lift,
From God to me, you’re a gift!
For to re-affirm my affection: it’s true.

© Daniel Omaya

April 16, 2011


We need not take refuge in the rope
And bring our beingS to a stop
For With hardship must we learn to cope
Be it situations are beyond our scope,
Our conscience must we elevate atop.
Life is filled with many a slope
That when badly we tread, we may drop
And in life’s journey we’ll flop.

March 5, 2011


Another day had come, when the school doctor would offer counseling to the adolescent-dominated school. They deserved what the administrators regarded as counseling sessions. Learners would be equipped with health tips of the week from their health prefect and school doctor or nurse. Most students regarded the counseling day as “The Doctor’s Day”. Dr Mbogo was known to be a quiet man by the staff and students had nicknamed him Dr Shy.
The session was scheduled for every Monday. All students were expected to attend this ever afternoon session. The National Anthem was sung followed by Greenfield Secondary School’s Ever Green Anthem.
“I’m happy to address you today, after your health prefect.” Dr. Mbogo began as anxious juvenile faces looked at him. Some must have admired his profession, given his exceptionally white coat and the stethoscope. The administrators and the teaching staff sat behind him as he stood facing students in the school’s conference hall.
“Last week our topic was Abortion and its consequences.” He said, courteously. “We resolved that you’ve to practice abstinence as a way of not falling victim.”
The head teacher and some staff members nodded with approval before he went on, “Today’s topic is, Circumcision as a tool for fighting HIV/AIDS spread.” The learners’ applause predicted a great interest in the topic.
“Silence,” the doctor spoke with calm as he looked at learners through a pair of spectacles that rested on his flat, wide nose. There was a pause. “It has been globally approved that circumcision is one way to fight and reduce HIV/AIDS spread. During intercourse, friction causes the fore-skin to get torn. This gives way for virginal fluids to access blood capillaries.” Some learners looked down, others mumbled with excitement. “If the woman is infected, the man is prone to the infection. However, if he’s circumcised, there’s no foreskin and no tearing occurring from friction during intercourse.
“This session is to call upon every male student here to get circumcised. It’s also to urge all of you to sensitize parents so that your brothers and male relatives get circumcised. Be ambassadors of the fight against this pandemic. Any male who is not circumcised stands a very high risk of getting infected.”
The whole assembly looked amazed and amidst murmurs, the health prefect put up her hand. The fourteen-year old was always hailed by her courage to ask questions during such sessions –the reason she was elected health prefect.
“Rukundo has a question! Let’s listen”, the head teacher spoke loudly from his seat.
“Thank you our dear head teacher and the staff present,” she began, observing protocol before facing the doctor, who stood by the podium in his distinct white coat with the stethoscope resting on his chest. “Doctor, I’m a little worried about what you’ve told us. You say we should sensitize our parents for our brothers to get circumcised. You say any uncircumcised male stands a very high risk of contracting HIV/AIDS. But Doctor, my question is; how comes you are not circumcised?”
Dr. Shy removed his spectacles instantly; turned to look at the staff. The head teacher had sprung up in utter shock. The doctor’s notebook fell, he bent to pick it with a shaky hand and the stethoscope fell too. His face was wet with sweat. The school nurse was agape and thought it was only her within the school who knew about it. Stares from some young girls in the audience who nodded with approval of Rukondo’s question, betrayed him. When he rushed for the exit, the Director of Studies and the Senior Woman Teacher were a blockade.

September 1, 2010


MOTHER AND I were taken away by some men who wore guns on their backs. When they came, mother had just returned from the well and was giving me food she had warmed. They poured water into my food and commanded us apart.
“Mother here, daughter there”, one man ordered with a croaky voice.
I saw mother cry like I always did whenever she left me home alone, as she went to search for water. She was slapped on the face for being ‘undisciplined and disobedient’. I cried too.
We were taken away from each other: mother with one group of armed and captured people; and I with another group with girls of my age – at least most of looked to be about ten years old.
“What’s your name?” a man asked me with such a terrifying stare that I looked down as I spoke, trembling.
“Aber!” I mumbled almost inaudibly, but his ears were sharp enough to grasp my whisper.
“Aber, come this way,” he said as he harshly pulled me to his side. I craved for mother and kept my eyes in her directions as she drifted away. Amidst the obstructing trees, I saw mother being pushed against her will and being given some luggage to carry; before I lost sight of the whole group.
“Forget about them,” the man told me as he pointed to a different direction for the group to follow.
“My name is Orac – I am bad.” he bent low and stared into my face with such a horrible look. He had scratches all over his face, with his right nose swollen twice the size of the left nose. He had a large scar on his head and this spot lacked hair. His lower jaw lacked three teeth. When he tried to talk, he looked like an angry dog defending the bones it was eating.
“These people call me Commander,” he pointed at boys and girls who held guns all over. “But my name is Orac.”

WE MOVED through the thicket, my fears giving no attention to the grasses that itched and made me lose my peace. The cold nights gave no room for sleep; the cool breeze always awoke me. Orac had told us that coldness was always a result of washing our bodies and cautioned that we should live the animal way. He said that when the ‘Holy One’ wanted to cleanse us, then we would receive rain to “wash away our sins since we cannot wash them away ourselves.” He always told us that he knew what each of us was thinking and sometimes he would pick up a girl or a boy to be stabbed or hit on the head and left to die, while we moved on. Whenever he did this, Orac told us that he read our thoughts and those being killed were thinking of escaping.
One day, after we had had our porridge for an evening meal, I lost my thoughts in wonder. Everyone was quiet, I bet, thinking of what would become of them in the next few hours or days.
“There is someone I know who is thinking about mother!” Orac announced and I felt my heart jump from its position. I definitely knew he had the powers to read our minds.
“Be warned,” he said as he stared before us, “that there is no better place like this, no better home like this, where you get to see animals you had never seen. If ever your thoughts take you back to your filthy homes and your stupid mothers, then you will be…” he ended with a gesture that such a person would be stabbed.

I TAUGHT myself to forget mother, but one day, a dream about her talking to me aroused my memories of her. I dreamed about her welcoming me back home. “Aber! Aber! Welcome back. I ground this millet for your porridge. I saw father and he said he will be here too…” A rude voice awoke me from that deep sleep. Mother’s voice had sounded full of happiness! But only the previous year we had buried father’s remains, after he stepped on a landmine! I did not understand how mother could tell me that she saw father.
“This is your guard”, Orac said as he pointed to a boy who held a knife in his hand and wore a gun around his ribs. He looked thin and always wore a grimy face.
“Obal, take care of her until we reach the High Command and hand her over.” Orac ordered the boy, who looked at me with hatred.

AT ONE TIME the Commander ordered all of us to seat down. He talked to us while those with guns scouted the far end of the surrounding bush. I thought of school back home when I looked around, seated on the shoots of the harsh spear grass. Here the Commander was the headmaster, the soldiers were the teachers, and we who sat down were the pupils. It all seemed perfect for me and I forgot about this bush life for a while, until Orac spoke.
“This is a white man’s catapult”, he said as he lifted up his gun for us to see. “It is not meant for birds, and you know what it is meant for. Our forefathers had their catapults made entirely for goose and other kinds of wild birds. The white man’s catapult is faster than a car. You cannot dodge it. If you must live, follow what we tell you. This catapult has a granary full of bullets.” He rested the nozzle of the gun on my foot. I regretted why I had sat in front, I knew I was losing my leg any time. We were warned never to board any helicopters and asked to pray to the ‘Holy One’ to stop rascals from crossing our roads. “We have catapults that will bring down the helicopter and that will be the end of those on board.” I hated helicopters and feared them, though I never thought of ever flying in one.

ANOTHER time we entered an ambush and a bombshell was thrown towards us. The sound of the explosive sent us dispersing. I ran in hope that I had escaped, before I realized that my guard was on guard.
“There is no better place called home than this forest in which we have stayed.” I remember him telling me when he found me washing my face by River Aswa. The sound of bullets had almost turned into an echo in a dream. I felt divided into three worlds – of my mother’s and home; of the rebel group; and of this, where only the two of us seemed to exist.
“For the years you have stayed with us, you have never been sick and have even grown up. See!” he said as he touched my little breasts. I pushed his hand off in resistance. I felt ready to fight in case he meant to kill me.
“Choose either sleeping with me and letting you go free or drowning you off.”
“But we have been sleeping in the same place in this wilderness for all these years,” I told him but he responded with a jeer. He looked far beyond my back and grimaced with a gesture in that direction, far in the bush. I turned with curiosity but my eyes caught no new sight. I turned to face him again. Suddenly, he threw sand in my face and I lost clear vision. Between my struggles to rinse my eyes with the back of my fingers, I saw Obal put down his gun in a hurry, and pull down his trousers. He shoved on me and we were both down on the ground. I fought back, and then he bit my left breast hard. I felt paralyzed. My chest pained each time I heaved. The rough ground scratched my back as I struggled to breathe because by now this man had stacked a piece of cloth in my mouth and put his hand on it. The edges of my mouth, I felt, were close to being torn. He tore my skirt with his knife and scratched my thigh in doing so. I felt his harsh and rough hands touch my urinal tract, before a sharp pain struck me there. I lost knowledge of where I was for a while…
The bright rays of the sun that pierced through the leaves aroused my senses and I saw Obal point a gun at me, with his right hand, while his left pulled up his trousers. He ordered me to stand up or else he shoots at me. I stood, bleeding and blood trailed between my thighs, down to the ground. The cloth he had used to gag my mouth lay on the ground, mixed with my saliva and blood that was already there.
“What are you crying for?” he growled. “You are dead if you cannot keep quiet. You are more dead if you tell anyone” he warned me. He ordered me to walk on towards the river and not look back. When I reached where the water was knee-high, I stopped. He commanded me to move on, lest the white man’s catapult deals with my head. He cocked the gun. I moved on slowly, with the water level increasing, and the water around me was losing its color to my bleeding. And then – the sound of a bullet saw me fall. I struggled with water but I had drunk too much of it. I saw Obal fall down, before my eyes blurred.

* * *

WHEN I re-opened my eyes, I looked through a glass and saw that everything below me was green. One soldier came to me and told me that I was in a helicopter being flown to a place called GUSCO. I cried to be taken back to the bush. “The Commander forbade us from flying in a helicopter. He said the white man’s catapult will bring it down,” I yelled. But instead, one soldier-nurse came to me with a cup of cold milk.
“He lied to you,” the nurse said.
“He has all the powers,” I blurted. “He said you are devils, that whoever flies in a helicopter is a devil. Put me down!” I cried endlessly until one soldier came and spoke to me.
“This is a Uganda Flag” he said as he showed me a badge on his military uniform. “We are taking you home with the rest. We are not devils.” I looked around and saw my fellow age-mates tied with white tubes that came from a bottle that hung from the helicopter roof. The soldiers said those were on drip…

I SEE the Commander in my dream always, beckoning me to go back to him. He says there is no better place called home than where I have been with them. Recently, I saw him before I woke up. He said he is coming for me.
And Obal insists that he is still my body-guard – that he is within my body. He says that we should sleep together again and promises me that this time he will not do it harshly. But all fighting men speak when their guns are pointing at me. I can not speak in my dreams…

August 13, 2010


Once upon a time, long time ago, animals used to live together in the jungle and were friends to each other. They would talk together and come around fireplaces as we do and share stories too. One day, the animal kingdom suffered from lack of firewood. The termites had eaten all the trees within the jungle and what was left was only grass, yet the animals had to cook their food. Although they lived together in the jungle, each animal had to look after her own family and cook for the family.

Hyenas gathered for a meeting and the eldest said that twenty Hyenas should go and look for firewood in a distant land. They left the jungle and on they went, in search of firewood. On their way, they found Hare hopping slowly and they asked her where she was going. Although Hare was also going to look for firewood for her family, she said she was just stretching her muscles. The hyenas passed her and rushed ahead, for they had to come back that same day.

The hyenas were lucky enough to get firewood in the distant land, after they had walked beyond four hills. They gathered enough firewood and tied them in bundles. Soon it was time to leave, but one hyena said that she was thirsty and another responded that she too was thirsty. All the twenty hyenas agreed that they needed water and so they slopped to a river they had seen as they collected firewood. They left their bundles in one place and went.

They came back feeling better since the water was cold and had given them relief. One Hyena suddenly cautioned the rest.

“We have to count ourselves and make sure that we do not leave one of us.” One cautioned.

“Yes, let’s find out how many we are.” Another one seconded.

“We came when we were twenty in number” Said one hyena.

One Hyena counted the rest but forgot to count herself. She announced that one of them was missing.

One other hyena said “I think you counted wrongly. Let me do it.” She also counted but forgot to count herself and announced that one of them was missing. After five attempts of recounting and each hyena that counted failing to count herself, they all became worried and started to cry loudly, and others shouted so that the lost hyena could find track of where the rest were. They did this in vain.

Hare, who had just arrived in the woodland, knew that the time she would spend gathering firewood would end up earning him a night in the foreign land. He had the cries of the hyenas and came forward.

“What is the problem? I see you already have firewood but you are crying instead of being happy” Hare spoke and the hyenas we silent a while.

“One of us is missing” said one hyena with her eyes wet from wailing.

“Yes, one person is missing” responded the rest.

“How many were you?” Hare asked.

“Twenty” was the general reply from Hyenas.

Hare counted the hyenas from her mind and saw that they were twenty.
“I am going to try my best and look for the one who is lost,” She said. “But it is not easy to find her since this is a foreign land. I have to talk to my gods first.”

“Please do and we will give you anything you want”, respond the hyenas.

“Okay. You will do two things for me. First, you will carry me back to our kingdom and secondly, you will give me five pieces of firewood from each bundle once we reach our kingdom. If not, I am continuing with my walk.”

“We will carry you back and give you five bundles each”, the hyena’s promised.

Hare then asked them to lie down facing the ground and they did so.
“My gods have warned that if you reach the kingdom and do not give me five pieces of firewood from each bundle, all of you will go missing from the kingdom and will wander in lands far from this one.”

“We will give you the five pieces of firewood.” The hyenas reconfirmed.

Hare then picked a bundle by bundle and put each aside. She told the hyenas to make deafening ululations, to help her conjure spirits. They ululated and after some time, Hare told them to stop. She asked them to stand up and face her.

“I want you to count with me”, she said as he touched the first bundle. “One, Two, …” The hyenas counted in correspondence to Hare’s touch of every bundle and saw that the bundles were twenty. Hare then asked each Hyena to come, as the rest counted, and hold on a bundle each. They did so and confirmed that they were now twenty and that one of them had been found. They were very happy and carried Hare back to their kingdom and once there, they gave her five pieces of wood from each bundle. Hare ended up with more pieces of firewood than each hyena had.

August 9, 2010

Movie in my sleep.

I see people in my sleep,
Looking at their watches,
Talking on phones.

In my sleep, I see people laughing, quarrelling.
I hear people singing,
Back-biting one another.

I enjoy a scent in my dreams:
Fragrance of roses,
Aroma of Spanish omelet – yet
Yet all these, I can not touch, see or taste
But in my dream they exist.


Nanteeza gave the little boy a coin but the boy never even stared at his palm, but instead looked straight at her eyes, with eyes that desired something beyond what he felt in his little palm. He must have been standing by the roadside and sitting alternately staring at people moving about. His attention had previously been on people moving in groups and pairs, before his eyes shifted on the loner Nanteeza.

He shook his head in approval and spoke in calm “Thank you!” But Nanteeza was long gone to respond to him and when she looked back, she saw the boy’s eyes follow her perhaps to eternity. She moved on wondering why such people were always there to draw people to a state of pity, though their conditions were sometimes faked to look so needy. This, she could not understand as she moved on.

When she found herself out of the boy’s sight, Nanteeza gave herself credit for having moved faster, and thus, gave in to such a heave.
“You are Mary?” A voice inquired as the owner emerged from a squeezed out filthy tavern. “You are Virg…Virg… Mary?” The voice stammered, leaving it for Nanteeza to figure out what was to be said. She looked with mixed confusion, wondering why such a question would be addressed to her. The owner of the voice finally emerged out: A woman dressed nearly in rags, with her feet embraced by jiggers, her hair scattered allover and flies dealing accordingly with the wounds at her ankle. She was shorter than Nanteeza and thus, she could see scars on her head.

“They call me mad woman, but I am not. Or if I am, who is not?” She spoke as she scratched her thighs harshly. “Yesterday – are you Mary?”
Mary? Nanteeza moved away in utter amazement but soon the voice followed her: “I need some minutes with you.” She ignored the voice. “Okay, just a minute. I am not mad.”
Nanteeza moved on, thinking conclusively: “They all behave alike and can never agree the fact they are mad”
“If I am, who is not?” Nanteeza heard the voice re-echo in her mind. She could not believe it. A mad woman denounces the fact of her state?
She moved on and found her pathway a little flooded but passable. As she crossed through the little pool of water she felt a twitch by her right ankle and could not know whether it was a stick or something else that had pricked her.
No sooner had she moved across than she felt paralysed on her right leg. She sat by the roadside and examined her ankle, only to find out the marks left on her were no doubt a snake’s biting.

A motorist passed by and gave not a notice to Nanteeza’s waving. A cyclist came by and Nanteeza called for his attention. “Ssebo! Ssebo!” She yelled to the cyclist.

“I am late for the market” retorted the cyclist. “Perhaps on my way back” he endeavored to let Nanteeza know. She was feeling weaker and weaker, yet the two people who had ignored her would have saved her from the pain she felt. In her attempt to stand up, Nanteeza woke up from her sleep and disrupted a dream that would have seen her dead perhaps. She sat on her bed and thanked God that it was a dream, but later realized that there are several people in this world to whom we should give the minutes they need.

August 6, 2010


When they call me a mad man
With almost a cloth none,
When they call me a poor wretch
Who can not but my body stretch;

When they call me a starved rascal
Yet death is far from a starvation’s call,
When they call me confused
Yet I see them lost in a fuse;

I am neither worried
Nor by their words carried,
For even when life is hard
I know the Lord is my Shepherd.


July 4, 2010


Weakly founded
Door less- that was my home.

Six steps away, the neighborhood
Four steps there, the latrine stood
And beyond, a bath shelter: that was my home.

Raided by fire,
Smoked to ash
And mopped to ground level,
That spot was for my home.

Tree shelters in the wilderness
Verandas and sports grounds
Now make up my home: Do I have a home?