I went round to check on Jajja. Had taken ages without seeing her. I knew I would probably only find her and the help since every one else would have run away from the gloom brought on by the load shedding.
She is not bothered much by load shedding though. She is contented just being with her great grandson and you will find her making those baby noises and talking to him like she’s talking to her contemporary. He’s high yella so she calls him “Brown.”
This time, I found her in the kitchen washing up after Brown. So we got talking, Jajja standing a head and a half shorter than I and me, leaning on the sink and listening with rapt attention.
I learned long ago that it does not do any good to interrupt her with questions because a) She hates it and she will snap at you and b) She will probably go off on a tangent and you will lose the plot. So I just tried my best to listen and patch up the many topics she brought up.
But it was one big mosaic. It would look like she was rumbling but it took me a moment to realise she was on about the case in court. She has some really strong views on who’s right and who’s wrong in the drama that’s being played out in front of their honours, the judges of the high court of Uganda.
Now Jajja lost a number of people in the madness that enveloped this country two decades ago. She is not going to simply fold her self on the floor and let history repeat itself. She heard that “that guy with funny eyes” has dealings with Kony and the fact that “the white people are giving him all that money” means the rest of us are doomed. Because he will definitely win that court case regardless whether he’s wrong and woe unto us “people who do not come from up north.”
Jajja says back in the country, the people will do whatever their chief says. All one has to do to manipulate the electorate is line the chairman’s pockets and all will work out well. In this case, the omwami said he didn’t like “that man with funny eyes” and the whole village voted against him. Now they are scared of retribution should “the man with funny eyes” trounce his foe in court.
I didn’t argue with that logic, as I have already said. I didn’t want to argue with Jajja’s wisdom. I was still listening, trying to get to the core of her disgruntlement when she actually went off on a different line of thought. Of course it must have been tied in with the original idea but I guess I was feeling thick then.
She started on her health and then on the baby’s flu and on the price of making a phone call at the nearby pay phone. Should she call Aunt Ruth from there or should she wait for a time when she will have the money to go over there? Man, I was staring, trying to decipher the code.
I went away thinking not of the pay phone or the baby’s flu but of the genius of politicians. When they come to town, they act dumb. They pass off as stupid and we have a field day pointing out the 101 reasons they are stupid. But they know where the power lies and they smile at our attempts to be self righteous.
On a different note, i’m reading James Michener’s The Novel and i’m enjoying it far more than i thought i would. The guy wrote that thing for writers strictly.
The way he explains the pain of rejection of manuscripts and the politics at play in the publishing industry comes off as vivid. The author who slaves for years before he hits paydirt, the editor who must push a book that the critics have labelled a botboiler and all the small characters that are not so small when their contribution is considered in perspective…
Its a story of guts. The writer who is down in their spirit will feel like there is light at the end of the tunnel afterall.