Growing up in a typical Ghetto Ugandan family, every adult remotely related to you sells you the same dream. Study hard in school, get good grades, pursue a prestigious course and you are guaranteed of success in life. Come graduation, your entire family attends the ceremony.
Once the celebrations are over reality rears its ugly head. The entire vibe about education being the key to success turns out to be a big fat lie. The world doesn’t care how great your grades are. Titles accrued from your fancy papers mean nothing. You have to fight for limited opportunities with thousands of other graduates with similar qualifications; some even have master’s degrees and additional certifications when you have none.
Weeks turn into months. You send out tens of job applications. The organizations don’t have the decency to acknowledge receipt of your application or send a regret email. You begin to wonder why you wasted years and resources to get that over-glorified piece of paper when your agemates who never went to college seemed to be doing well in life. You check Bet Way Promo code 2018 in an effort to change your fortunes. While on campus you swore never to accept a monthly salary of less than 300k, now you wouldn’t mind working for a stipend that only covers rent, food, and transport.Still lying in bed, you open your eyes. A beam of light from a nearby street light pours into the tiny room through a small window near the top. A huge dark cockroach crawls across the ceiling. Damn these roaches! I barely have enough food yet theses roaches look healthier than I do.
You jump out of bed grab a slipper from the floor and aim at the roach, only to miss it by far. The bug scampers to a dark corner. You sit on the edge of the bed and scan the room. Will, I ever get out of the slum and move to the other side of Kampala?
You live deep in the heart of an informal settlement in Kamwokya. The area is overcrowded, no sewage channels are available so raw effluents from toilets flow in open trenches, which characterize the area. When it rains, you are forced to wade through murky contaminated waters to get to the main road, it’s a miracle there hasn’t been a cholera outbreak otherwise you would all be dead. You stay on the ground floor of a one-storey mabati structure. Toilets and shower rooms are on the furthest. Tenants rarely use them at night when thugs are on the prowl so they relieve themselves just below the wooden staircase making the whole building stink. Your single room is dark, damp and cold, so cold that it permeates through your heaviest blanket.
Compared to most of your neighbors you are wealthy since you own a laptop. An old piece of technology you bought from a colleague back in campus. Watching movies on the laptop helps you escape your immediate surround for a moment and take you across to the other side of town where streets are paved and houses have well-manicured lawns. Your other possessions include a kerosene stove and the bed. The bed serves as a seat for your guests, a desk and underneath is a storage area. An old bed sheet hanging on a sisal rope acts as a partition of the living area and bedroom.
Where did I go wrong? You did everything your teachers asked you: study hard, get good grades go to college, graduated top in your class and companies will come looking to hire you. You did your part and still, job opportunities haven’t been forthcoming. Surprisingly, most classmates who weren’t serious with their studies landed plum jobs immediately after campus. Their parents might have pulled some strings to make it happen but who in this city cares about how you get ahead? It is all about who you know. Judging from the pictures you’ve seen on Facebook you are the only one in misery. Former classmates, have bought new cars, live in expensive apartments, frequent fine dining joints, and travel across the world yet you have never seen the inside of a plane!
You only powerful connection is a distant uncle who works at a government ministry. However, his wife hates your guts, actually, she hates everyone who is not wealthy. She believes the less fortunate are just lazy. She made it clear dirty and poor people (specifically your family) are not welcomed to her house.
Your wristwatch reads fifteen minutes to five. You get out of bed to grab a soap and basin under the bed and head to the showers. The good thing about taking a bath this early is that there is a short queue to the bathroom and water is available. You bath in record time, get back into the room, apply petroleum jelly on your body, don your only suit and black shoes, grab a transparent document wallet with your certificates and make for the matatus stage.
There is little traffic headed to the city center at that time.
It is crystal clear that the first thing you will do should you clinch that junior managerial post is to take your mother to a specialist for treatment since the medical personnel at the village dispensary don’t seem to know what is ailing her, all they keep doing is prescribing to her more antibiotics. The second thing you would do is to take your sister to form one. She cleared PLE a year ago but your family has not been able to raise the required school fees. You are afraid that if she continues to stay at home the boda-boda riders will take advantage of her innocence and put her in the family way.
You ride to the city for your job interview unfazed that only five hundred bobs is standing between you and starvation. Today you can feel it you will be lucky. You hope to get the job and move to the other side of the city where you won’t have to share toilets, hop over trenches full of raw sewage to get home or have to deal with marauding criminal gangs in your neighborhood. After all, Kampala is the city where dreams come true.
Written by Juuko Acram Muhammed