Friday, 19 June 2009

Child Sacrifice in UG - The Narrow Road: Rose's Journey

There were stories when I was growing of strangers kidnapping people and cutting off their tongues to be used as ingredients in concortions used as cures in withcraft. Once in the late 80s, my grandmother and I visited my uncle in boarding school. We were offered a ride back into town by a stranger. My grandmother was quiet all the way till we got out, at what point she thanked the man sana for the ride. When we got home, she told my mum that she was worried because she thought the stranger was after our tongues. That was funny at the moment. So was the other time when she was in a bus and she heard a fellow passenger talk about how someone or other had taken her 'jini'. When she kujad home, she narrated how she had traveled in the same bus with a person who kept genies. My mum explained that the said person was probably referring to jeans-like a jeans jacket, skirt, or pair of trousers. That, too, was funny. I've also heard stuff about people sacrificing others to the devil to get rich. Devil worship in short. Scary, though I doubt the devil could ever make anyone rich.

When I got to Kampala at the end of October last year, stories of human sacrifice were not too uncommon in the papers. Especially child sacrifice. At first I thought it was all tabloid news (to date Bukedde, a paper in the local language has pictures of dead, sometimes mutilated, bodies on the front page karibu kila siku). Halafu I started seeing them in the main newspapers and TV. Scary stuff. Then I went to Church at Namirembe cathedral one Sunday in Februray, and during sermon the priest advised folks not to let their kids go to school early in the morning when it was still dark,and to always escort them to school coz that when the butchers were on the lookout. Meanwhile, the stories coming from TZ were of albinos being sacrificed.
The first people I asked about child sacrifice here, told me that mostly it is kids who are sacrificed, virgins at that. So I felt safe-plus I have some skin pigmentation which to me meant I was even less desirable for the gods. Someone mentioned that if you have a baby boy, it may help to circumcise him, and for a girl, to pierce her ears. Then one day I somad in one of the main papers again that someone had been beaten to death by a mob juu he had taken a boda boda ride at night, only to turn on the boda boda driver guy and mutilate his body for sacrifice. That shtuad me kiasi juu I thought only kids got sacrificed.
I don't exactly like it (sometimes I get amused) when people show up in my country and talk about the issues there like 'experts', so hopefully I'm not coming off as expertish here. Rather, just telling it from my perspective.
Here is a story on child sacrifice in Uganda, and probable causes. And Rose, a person whose refusal to take part in the ritual led her to her Irish parents (few details availed), and is retracing the steps she took back in 89. All 52 km. (Thanks FaceBook friend!)

Friday, 12 June 2009


I burned my fingers with the Safaricom IPO, but I’ve been investing more in the NSE lately. The past couple months have not been that bad, but one downside is that the Kenya Shilling has appreciated quite significantly against the Uganda shilling, so I lose money even before I put in my order-1 UGX was roughly equivalent to Ksh 24 when I came here last October, but now it’s trading in the neighbourhood of Ksh 28.5. Maybe I should start exporting stuff to Kenya. Apparently the dollar has appreciated upwards of 34% since last September.

But here's how I do it:
-Go to ATM, get the money
-Go to FOREX bureau, buy Ksh
-Go to broker’s bank, deposit Ksh
-Go to broker’s office, fill out an order form or several, depending on how many different stocks I’m keen on buying
-Wait (I’m advised to call 36 hours later)
-Sometimes I’ll get an email from broker; sometimes I won’t, so I call the next day, or pass by on my way to work.
-Get the statement at broker’s office or receive an email with it. I’m still waiting for an email on how to get my statements online

I haven’t sold anything but I think the process may be easier, probably just a call, but I imagine I’d have to go and sign a form again.
What makes it hard is that banks don’t open till 8:30 am, and I need to be at work at 8am. At lunch, the queue is usually quite long (it’s Stanbic Bank, I think it has the largest piece of the pie in Kampala), and the service extremely, annoyingly slow. Whereas I could send someone else who is not too busy in the office and pay them a small fee, plus their boda boda fare, it’s not like I naturally trust people with my money that easily. I end up spreading all the errands over a few lunch hours (days), during which time the NSE is not static.
Compare this with trading on the NYSE/NASDAQ- open an account, transfer money online, put in orders and trade online any time you wish; no phone calls, no queuing up in banks, no paper filling up paper forms, and movement only on the computer keyboard.

Does anyone know of an easier way out there? Let me know, tafadhali.