Staring at the monster

I have been given the opportunity to revisit the Clutter case, something so awesome, if you gerrit, that the great Capote wrote about it . Of course I want to be mentioned in the same line as Capote some day.

But before I embark on that trip, (and writing can be a trip), I must read up on everything Clutter. This is the biggest case Garden City has ever had in the last 70 years.

So, you must understand my consternation when I came across such lyrical acrobatics…

“Floyd Wells, a convict, stared across the room, out the bars at the fading twilight. Almost dark now, the sky, no longer purple. But, veins of gray – the color purple and black make when mixed – still scratched the flatland horizon. At the large, steady, gray desk sat Warden Hand of Lansing Prison; in the guest chair afront the desk sat Alvin Dewey, taking notes. Both men listened as Wells told his story.” -Joseph Geringer, The Clutter Family Killings: Cold Blood.

So as I dive back into this world again, I know it is going to be for another sort of thrill; to show up the big boys.

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Random things

Some of the highlights of our lives in the last four months. There have been many firsts. Far too many. In this period, we went from totally settled Ugandans to something of thrill junkies. Somehow, even if the people we live with now see nothing of it, the excitement roller coaster is still rolling.

At some point, our Entebbe house looked like this with everything almost gone

At some point, our Entebbe house looked like this with everything almost gone

We had to keep memories of what was sweet with us. We didn’t know when we would be coming back to this land we all love.

In a path somewhere in Nyakakoni, Mbarara, western Uganda during the last visit to Kaaka

In a path somewhere in Nyakakoni, Mbarara, western Uganda during the last visit to Kaaka

But before we left, we were treated to some interesting fair wells. Below, that moment before the mugole realizes this is no ordinary meetup. At this moment, the fish and chips are just round the corner.

IMG_20140610_133126Okay, maybe people were just tired after that most tiresome time when we had to go to Nairobi to get our paperwork done. Like when we had to try so hard to look cool in shades…


IMG_20140524_150928Anyway, the journey continues. There are some things I admit I do not miss so much. Like fighting with the charcoal stove as two little girls demand to have their chai.


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On future novelists

Agatha Christie said the best time to think up a new book us when you are doing the dishes. Little girl seems to have caught on.

At Isaya and Rachael's on Harvest Lane

At Isaya and Rachael’s on Harvest Lane

Slowly but surely, we are settling in

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Green grass, soft grass

The grass on the other side is usually not that green when you finally cross over, it has been posited. When many people have sold their souls everything they own to have enough money to start a new life in another country, they have often been disappointed.

I sold almost everything. I was lucky I did not have to sell everything but I guess that’s neither here nor there.

But that’s not the point; the point is, is the grass really not green? On my first day in the United States of America, I could not resist commenting on the grass. The grass is … soft.

Yes, I was used to walking with caution in the grass back home because there are weeds and all kinds of mean things in the grass, waiting to prick your toes. There are great things about Uganda but sometimes, you can’t help but walk with caution. Even with great national things like the Equator and recently, snow in western Uganda, though that was later explained as hail stones!

At the Equator in Masaka, Uganda

At the Equator in Masaka, Uganda

When I came here, however, I walked in the grass and felt like my feet were being massaged.

I have been educated since I have been here. I have been told the lawn business is on of the biggest in America. Companies sell grass to home owners or developers because this is something that comes with the territory. I guess if you are going to pay through the nose for grass, it had better be soft to the touch.

So the grass and the seasons are intertwined. I am waiting for the ride because apparently, all the good things I have been thinking about the USA are going to vanish once the mean weather starts.

We are entering the Fall so the leaves are going to start falling off as the winds pick up. In this part of the country, apparently, Fall is not as colorful as it is in other states. Still, the trees are looking like something out of Alice in Wonderland. The leaves are starting to look pretty amazing.

Avenue in Garden City on my way to interview an old man on his 90th birthday.

Avenue in Garden City on my way to interview an old man on his 90th birthday.

There are different new things that I am discovering about this place. Like the weather and the candidness of Americans, especially in small town America, where my family and I are trying to start a new life.

Sometimes, beautiful pictures like this just make me think of home and how distant that is starting to feel like day by day.

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Of memories




Ugandan money. Never thought I’d ever look on these ugly pieces of metal fondly. I now know there’s going to come a time when this will be one of the few things I can hold on to as a reminder of the homeland.

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No worse time to be in Missouri

The riots in Ferguson City, MO are dying down, according to Reuters. The people have probably gone back and looked at the footage police released about the fateful day when Michael Brown was shot by the city policeman.

The flames of rage might be dying down but that’s not the same for me. I am separated by 5 hours, 300 miles from my family and they are in some county out there in Missouri.

I have been assured they are safe; they are not in the same neighborhood as the riots and they probably do not even know what’s going on there. Where they are, they are not watching TV and listening to strange talking heads on TV spewing all this gibberish.

But the whole thing has brought me full center. I can do nothing much, couldn’t really have done much if they were smack in the center of that theater. The rage we saw on the screens as Ferguson’s young men and women went to war with the National Guard was frightening. It brought back memories of some disturbing happenings back home, especially when politicians decide to tussle it out in the public, destroying the peace.

What do you do when you are new to the place and are only trying to fit in?

Immigrants from Africa are mostly clueless about the issues at play in the race relations of America. Because they have come from countries where oppression is a constant in their lives, they many times do not understand what the natives of the land mean when they fight the system.

Ferguson was the same script and a different cast. This play has been staged before in so many other theaters. Everything is at once familiar and at the same time strange. Ugandans in the USA never come to the fore when these things are happening, probably because they have seen it played so many times in their lives back home.

Here, a young black man is shot and the whole city is brought to its knees. Voices that must be heard are heard and the tough questions are asked. There are those who will say the system is rigged in favor of those who control the airwaves but anyone who has seen the video of the events that led to the death of Brown will have to stop and think.

This is a great learning opportunity. Human rights are fought for all over the world, not only in Uganda where I come from. There are people who wield power n their truncheons and nightsticks and then pack the rest of that power in their heavy guns on their hips.

it is also a time to realize that the narrative can be stolen very easily. Even when a case should be open-and shut, you need to wait  a bit because just as you turn your eyes away, everything might change.

America is always going to be a strange place to live in. From the different requirements one needs to survive to the different ways one can cope in this cruel, cruel country, the learning curve continues to rise, not ye even close to the apex.

Welcome to reality.

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The first time you have to do anything is always unsettling. It takes steel balls to walk into a new situation without your armor on. So when new resolutions are made after a history of broken promises to self, it is normal to be a little doubtful about what to say and what to keep mum about.

In a year when everything that was on the books failed to materialize due to a number of factors, one is not keen to be heard making daring promises. One does not tell it on the mountain when everyone knows one’s a non-starter.

But there’s no time to waste anymore.

You can wait for the tide to turn forever. As you wait, events will pass you by. It is true time and tide wait for no one.

It is time, therefore, to get a new code to live by. It is time to realize even though there are more resources on earth than anyone can ever need, as it is so simply put in The Master Key, there are always going to be those who cannot see those resources.

Sometimes we cannot see the resources with which to make our lives better through the design of others. We cannot change the nature of evil but we cannot allow evil to control the way we live our lives.
So what do you have in your hand? A staff?

Throw that staff down and see the world of things you can do. Yes, puny little you!

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