Of gambling and taboos

It’s that time of the year, when you get a little down because you have no money to spend on a proper holiday. So a few weeks back, I tried my luck in online bingo and I won myself a few dollars to buy gifts and stuff for friends and family.

And it got me thinking about how much gambling is frowned upon in our societies. I remember, as a teenager, we used to go to a disused stadium in our little town, and play cards for money under the crumbling pavilion. The most popular game was matatu, which I think is played only in Uganda. Recently, someone developed a software and you can play it online via Google, without having to worry that askaris will pounce on you and drag you off to jail. In those days, as the gang gambled away their pennies, a couple of boys would be on the lookout. Being a football stadium, it was easy to see anyone entering from a mile off, and we knew the faces of the askaris from the Municipal Council, so it was easy to see danger long before it arrived, and we would flee to the safety of the surrounding bushes.

Questions European Children Ask About Africa

I met a Belgian in Nairobi early in the year, at a filmmaker’s workshop. When he went back to his country, he found a teaching job because, well, filmmaking isn’t as lucrative as our dreams would wish it to be. And since he had been to Africa, he started this project in his school, to teach these children about Africa and African cultures. They are I think in the age group of 10-12. So he asked these sweet angels to send questions to the African friends he met, and below are some of the questions. Some of them made me go ‘wtf!’ and others just made me fall off the floor laughing. (I wonder what the questions would be like if I picked a bunch of African school children and had them ask questions about Europe!)
So here are the innocent questions.

One thing I hate about travelling

Anyone who travels a lot will come across a certain kind of people, who are both a curse and a blessing. They call themselves guides and fixers, and they claim to exist to help tourists and visitors find their ways around a place. Or know more about a site. True, some tourists cannot do without them. But if you are a backpacker, the last thing you want to do is share your little money with a hustler who will give you information that you can anyway get off the internet, or off some guide book.

How to enjoy a five day holiday in Mombasa with only $200

This weekend, I returned from Mombasa, where I spent nearly two weeks on holiday with the girlfriend. Ooops – fiancĂ©e. We had planned for it for a long time, and she did not know I was planning to pop the question in style during this holiday. Upon returning, a friend called and said I must have spent millions. I laughed, because we each hardly spent 300 dollars for the entire trip! We would have spent less if had avoided first class on the train!


I have no words. I once read this story in the New Vision, and I heard a call to make a social action documentary, about how the government of Uganda ignores certain diseases, and focuses on diseases that donors say it should focus on. They pour money into TB, AIDS, Malaria, and now on maternal health - and yet being pregnant is not even a disease! It's 100% natural, but (okay, that's for another story) - there are sicknesses that are killing Ugandans, and no one is doing anything about it. Like DMD, duchenne muscular dystrophy, a terrible killer.

Of Dreams and Nightmares

This blog post is an example of why some people should not be allowed to write blogs without supervision..... 
Photo pirated from facebook, don't know who to credit
So I'm sitting here, looking at this blank page, and wondering what I can write to make you, my dear Chewy, laugh. Maybe I should put some of the pictures I saw on facebook last week, like the one with the tattoo. But that picture gave me nightmares, so I wonder if you should really see it. I dreamt that I was in China, and this woman with a magic pen was writing on my back. When she finished, I started to grow feathers, and then wings sprouted out of my back, and I turned into a giant cock --

Memories of Rain

“I love the sound of rain.” So goes the first line in the lyrics of a song Reiza is writing. “I forgot the sound of rain,” is my response to it. There’s something about rain and romance. Rain and poetry. Rain and love. And as I sit here with the darkness growing around the room – I’m too lazy to turn on the lights! – I hear the rain falling outside. I see the droplets sliding on the window pane like lazy dancers and it stirs memories of rain. Hmmm, that sounds like a cute title for a story. Memories of Rain.
A watery view of the world. Camera art, pure and simple. 

Creatures from the Other World

It's a sunny Sunday. I've just had a very productive weekend. Started and finished a short film. It's a story that has been running in my head for nearly two years now. Maybe more. I'm glad I got it out. Maybe now I will have some sleep and peace, for the characters wanted their story told. They kept bothering me, yelling at me, screaming at me, distracting me whenever I was thinking about something else. A little girl and her paralyzed older brother.

Piracy, Markets and Love

Something bad happened to me today. Something that made me think about pirates. Not those in the Indian Ocean, and certainly not the kind Johnny Depp has made popular -- though they are my favorites! But well, I feel so bad. I want to strangle someone. You know that feeling? You have a lot of money in your pocket but when you walk into a shop, they say you cannot buy anything there because -- well, maybe because you are wearing a blue shirt and they only allow people with red shirts into this shop.

The aphrodisiac restaurant

It is hard to forget a date in an aphrodisiac restaurant.

Mochitos. Photo courtesy of www.or2k.org
I remember the day. 29th May 2011. A beautiful evening in Kathmandu. The threat of a strike lingered in the air, the Maoists promising bloodshed and chaos over the new constitution, their threats keeping people indoors and cars off the street. But Thamel was bustling with life, as usual, for the worst of the threat was over. I do not remember well, but the banda was supposed to (but largely didn't) happen on the 28th -- the day she came into Kathmandu. And so on the 29th I took her out to OR2K. Wow. I've never been to a place like that!

No Sex in this Honeymoon

I woke up this morning thinking about Ha Long Bay, for no particular reason. I’ve never been there, only seen it in photos, but it is what I dream about whenever I'm having fantasies of my honeymoon. Sometimes, it just pops into my head out of the blue, like this morning. The photos make me dream of a surreal world where I will float on a wooden boat in the calm seas, sail past giant rocks that stick out of the serene waters like ice cream --- ha ha ha, you dropped a Freudian slip Dilman, only a man in a horny mood will think that a rock looks like ice cream --- and make love on the deck of the boat under the big moon that hangs above the ocean like cupid. I will be with this pretty Pinoy girl, who loves to swim in the sunset like a mermaid hurrying home to her lover.
Ha Long Bay. Photo from wikipeadia

After one week of shooting The Felistas Fable

I already wrote about it earlier, in the post "I suffer to entertain you." But after one week of trying to make the film, The Felistas Fable, I just can't help but to write about it again. The pains of film making -- you go through a lot of pain to raise money for the film, and you go through worse pain to make the film. You will think you are ready, but you reach on the shooting day and you realize you are not ready at all. 

This is not funny! It's a horror!

It seems a life time ago, yet it was only 2006. I was nearing my thirtieth birthday, and I had failed to make it as a novelist. I had to rethink my future, my ambitions, either give up on the dream or breath new life into it. I chose the latter. I set my sights on making films. This is a story I've told many times before, and I don't want to repeat it here, but December 2006 is the time I directed my first film. A one minute movie that I wanted to be a horror. An old fashioned kind of horror where a girl discovers a monster under her bed, and it eats her up.