This week, we are reposting Esther Namugoji’s ‘Friday’ story published at The Uganda Modern Literary Digest – Enjoy;


” TGFF. Thank God for Friday. Friday was my uncle.  He had a brother called Thursday whose name was pronounced something like Zazzday. Friday was not such an odd name to an eight-year-old who lived next door to a family with kids named Monday, Tuesday and Sunday.  They were born on the respective days of the week, we were informed after ill-timed incredulous questions. And after reading the abridged version of Robinson Crusoe at 10 years, Friday was a cool name. (…)”


Read more here.

Washing Clothes, An Irresistible Live Sex Offer and Women’s Day


I literally failed to leave the house on some day of the week because all my clothes were dirty. My clothes were dirty because I had been ultra busy the last weeks that I wore everything in my wardrobe without pausing to wash. So, I spent a whole night washing, and had to sleep through the next day.


A man washing clothes (photo credit

While doing the washing, a married male friend started telling me how women enjoy seeing us male suffer through washing. I asked why that is so. He replied, that to women, washing is a simple core, yet it is so hard for men. We argued a better half of an hour on whether we men would lose our hands if we washed for ourselves more often. We debated gender roles, cooking and the like and why we should insist that men can’t do such things.

I knew the debate was ripe for an end when he asked me if I were suggesting that men should also get pregnant. I do not know yet why many of us men confuse things we have created for ourselves like gender roles with biological things. Do we still think we can fool the world about what is biological and what is social? Anyway, I washed a large part of the clothes that night and left the rest for other nights.

I delayed in class the next day, so had to jump onto a bodaboda to reach home before 10:00pm. This boda boda rider was very emotional it could show in the way he was riding. Slowly, I waited for him to open up to me, as we made small talk, and it did not take long before he did. He told me he had just slept with a sex-worker who offered him a round, without a condom at the same price for a condomised round.

He was worried for his life. He was bemoaning his inability to control himself, which in turn made it hard to negotiate for condomised sex. He was asking himself why this sex worker, he says his favorite on the stage had offered live services this night. She had told him that it was a weekly offer for regular customers to last the week the Women’s Day is, but this was not convincing for him. I regretted why I had willed the man to tell me his tale.

So, today, the International Women’s Day came. And guess what; men took it on themselves to show how sexist they can be, how protective of their male privilege they can be by posting very sexist messages on their Facebook timelines in the name of wishing the women a great women’s day. From saying that women need men to survive, to asking women to suffer in silence to show strength, the day seems pretty much one for celebrating male privilege and partriachy. Till Next Friday.

Hm, how can there be health without Hospitals?

So, this week, I had a conversation with a Facebook friend (via inbox) in which we disagreed sharply on what development is and is not. He was telling me about the poverty of our communities and about the wealth of the ‘developed’ nations. He was telling me that we need to build hospitals, schools etc. to develop. We discussed a range of issues on this, and continued to disagree and disagree that he ended up saying bye abruptly and that thread has not yet been revisited.

This is the thing. I told my friend that when I was young, and lived in Nyanja, whenever I would knock a stone, I would get the sap of enyabarashana (sere in Luganda, and black jack in English I guess) and apply it to the bleeding toe and the blood would clot immediately. I have told the story of enyabarashana elsewhere actually, so by the time I brought it up with my friend, I was a little disappointed he had not met this story of mine. But do not blame him, I also can’t trace the link now.

The enyabarashan (bidens pilosa, black jack) - Photo from Insomnia

The enyabarashan (bidens pilosa, black jack) – Photo from Insomnia

See related story here.

But to move on, I asked him if a person who knows about enyabarashana’s power to help his bleeding toe, about the power of ekicuuncu to deal with stomachaches and omubiriizi in dealing with fever is living a healthy life and therefore does not need a hospital. My friend could not take this. There must be hospitals for a country to have a healthy population.

Oh yes, to my friend, health can’t be a lifestyle, I mean nutrition-wise, or can’t be these herbal things like enyabarashana, ekicuuncu and omubirizi. Health is a hospital with doctors, nurses etc. wearing white lab coats and stuff like that. How can patients know the medicine that will heal them? That can’t be medicine. And so, with the so many people in Uganda who live in rural areas, some of whom know herbal solutions to their ailments and therefore do not visit a hospital, they are so poor and living a poor quality of life because they know no health, if they know no hospital.