Live life as your most authentic self!

Live life as your most authentic self!

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We listened to bedtime stories while seated around a bonfire

We listened to bedtime stories while seated around a bonfire

Bedtime stories in my culture and I would largely say in African culture is totally different from what I have read about or watched in movies and reality shows from the western world where the child is safely tucked in a comfortable bed and the parent or favourite person reads a story to them.It was common practice during my days growing up that your parents would send / take you to the village to spend the holidays with your grand parents and other close relatives.

It was the cultural practice of the Lango people (Jo Lango) to sit around a bonfire in the courtyard in the evening , probably around 7 pm. We’d have our dinner / supper while seated around this fire and then after it would be time for some chit chat, story telling (icina) and riddles (koc), before going to bed.

Such bonfire gatherings were more common during the long holidays (December and January) and in Northern Uganda, this is the dry season characterized by hot windy days and cool nights with clear skies on the backdrop of the moon giving light. During this time there isn’t much farming activity going on except for the harvest  and storage of Sesame seeds (Simsim) and  other cereals, as such it is a period of bonding, teaching and catching up with the extended family members such as those visiting on holiday from the city/ town.  Once the rainy season returns, everybody will be busy with farm work and the holiday makers will also be back to the city for school or work.

Now these stories were far from those fairytale happily ever after wishy washy stories that I read. These stories were either meant to teach especially if being told by an elder or to scare if being told by a peer living in the village.

These bed time stories fell in two categories;

  1. Folk tales, myths and legends designed to teach as well as pass on customs and traditions from one generation to the next. Such are usually told by an elder in the family such as a grandparent or uncle/aunt.
  2. Scary horror stories mostly told by peers who are trying to scare us the visitors / holiday makers visiting from the city. Quite obviously the horror stories are more memorable because they are so wild, far-fetched and full of mystery. These stories are centered on the occult / supernatural happenings and mysterious people such as witches, witch doctors, night dancers (wizards) and zombies (Anati in Leb Lango). Interestingly none of the expert story tellers were characters or witnesses to the stories that they tell, but by the time one is ready for bed, you’re so scared that you go to bed very alert and any slight movement or sound will cause screams and scampering for dear life.

For both these categories , there is no “happily ever after” unlike in the fairy tale stories I read about beauty and the beast or cinderella or Rupunzel in my childhood. For African stories you either learn something or are left scared and worried, no feel good stories – the stories always left me with the impression that the villian always won.If you listened to these stories, you’d conclude that the practice of occult is evil but that the rest of us are helpless against the practitioners.

In sharp contrast, the Western movie and television industry such as Hollywood depict witches and the associated persons (vampires, wizards, werewolves, super heroes and so on) as either good or evil and often these personalities are depicted as something not to be afraid of and  are glorified. Given my Christian background and upbringing,  I find it a total contradiction to say “good witch”, witches are evil…… period. The stereotype though, is that witches are usually old (sometimes ugly) mysterious evil women whereas wizards are men, or if in Uganda we call wizards Night dancers…. I hear they dance all night under some supernatural influence …..to what end?  I don’t really know.

Growing up, witches were people to avoid and not to provoke, they had powers to do bad things to you such as putting foreign things on your body, remotely drying up your blood, causing mysterious illnesses that modern medicine couldn’t diagnose let alone treat, stealing your spirit/soul, causing your gardens to be infertile and causing drought….and so on.

Recently, the Ugandan news media reported that the body of a very important Ugandan Mr. George William Kakoma, the man who composed our national anthem may have gone missing from its grave after it was found vandalised. This reminded of the anati (zombie) stories that I used to hear.  The anati story is that, a freshly buried body/corpse is sort of “resurrected”, that the corpses are revived to be used as laborers in the farm or as scare crows or are merely being punished by whoever held a grudge against them while still alive. Culturally the Langi keep vigil with a bon fire at the grave site for 3 to 4 days and part of the reason I am told is to ensure that the body is not exhumed or stolen.

As a whole, I would say that occult themed stories are a staple in most African cultures and folklore, hence film Industries such as Nigeria’s Nollywood exploited the opportunity in their early days and were churning out movies wholly themed on witchcraft, the occult and supernatural happenings. Its good to note that the Industry has since diversified and caught up with changing times and now we have various movie genres to select from.

In all, I believe these are merely stories that are far from reality and that the version you hear depends on the story teller and how creative he/she is while at it. As a child these stories would to scare me but now as an adult they do not make sense and are quite boring.

So, from your part of the world, what bedtime stories were you told or what stories are you telling your children?

Thanks for visiting and for reading

Blessings

 

 

Use the internet and social media to increase your social capital

Use the internet and social media to increase your social capital

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The bucket list

The bucket list

Why you should have a bucket List

At the back of our minds we all know that we will die someday and when that day comes, you want it to reflect a life well lived as opposed to one of regrets and only ifs. It would therefore be helpful if you had a list of things you want to do before you kick the ‘bucket’ i.e. a list of goals that you want to achieve, dreams you want to fulfil and the life experiences that you desire to live out before you die.

This list is a reflection of your values, belief system and character. It is not a permanent list, you update it as your circumstances and / or perspective changes.  Some items on your list may no longer seem that important, and should be accordingly struck off and when you accomplish something on the list, you tick it off as you add in a new one. There is no limit on how short or long it should be.

The whole point of creating a bucket list is such that we maximize every moment of our existence and live our life to the fullest. It reminds us of all the things we want to achieve in our time on this beautiful earth, this list also helps us to live a well-directed purpose filled life.

So, what are those things that you want to do before you die? As you write those things down you will be creating your bucket list. Do not limit or constrain yourself, note down your dreams and aspirations, experiences, people you want to meet, moments you want to witness, places you want to visit, fears you want to overcome, skills you want to learn,  …. and so many more.

In the meantime, I will share with you some of the items on my very long list so you can have an idea or get inspired.

a) Travel the world, this is a bucket list of its own. Some of the places I want to visit are

  1. Israel – the Holy Land. For faith based reasons, I want to walk where Jesus walked and see my bible come to life, I believe this will be a life changing experience for me.
  2. Disney Land – For my daughters. This is something we have always fantasized about.
  3. France – Paris…. The city of Love, need I say more
  4. Several cities in Italy, for historical, faith and romantic reasons. I obviously must attend the Opera or any classical show. This genre of music takes me to another space altogether
  5. Greece – what’s there not to love about Greece, it has a very rich history and the views and scenes I have seen on reality shows and Instagram are to die for.

African destinations are not on my travel destinations list above because being African ,I should know my own home and over the years I have visited several places and my list is still growing, charity does begin at home.

b). Overcome my fears of height and drowning by learning to swim, bungee jump at the Nile River in Jinja and climb to the top of Margherita peak of the Rwenzori Mountain ranges.

Biba blog Bucket list- bungee at the Nile River
Bucket list- bungee at the Nile River

c). I love cars,  big powerful cars and I have a list of many I want to own but at the very least just drive the car. Top on my list is a Jeep, I will take that road trip with my girls to the very scenic and beautiful Lake Bunyonyi in Kabale and zone in to uninterrupted nature.

d). Learn something new… this is more of a rolling annual goal and I can proudly say I have learnt a great deal, more especially in technology. Thanks to the internet, you can almost learn anything that interests you and most of it is free or at a minimal fee.

e). Watch / attend a classical music concert, just imagining myself in attendance is extremely exciting.

f). And a hundred more things I want to do.

It’s now  your turn, and again I ask… do you have a list, go ahead and make one if you don’t.

Feel free to share with me in the comments and on any of our social media links below your thoughts.

Thanks for visiting and for reading

Blessings.

How to discover who you are

How to discover who you are

Self-discovery, according to Merriam Webster online dictionary,  is the process of gaining knowledge or an understanding of your abilities, character and feelings. The Cambridge dictionary defines self-discovery as the process of learning about yourself and your beliefs, it also means finding your purpose in life. […]