Assalamu alaikum. I suppose it would be nice to begin at the beginning but I’m not really sure where that would be. Last night I went to a party here in the UK thrown by a mutual doctor-friend. At home before the party, I showered away the day’s stress and began changing clothes. I wanted to look a bit nice for the occasion because you never know when you will be called to speak to people.So I pulled out a new shirt-sweater I recently bought from NEXT and my good slacks. A little styling gel for my short hair and a splash of cologne and I felt like a Kibuli S.S student again.
It took me a few minutes to find my shoes; it always does.They needed a good polish but I knew I was probably taking too long as it was so I headed out the door.
I got in a taxi i had called earlier since i didn’t know where i was going. As we pulled in to the parking lot of the hall behind the big church where the party was taking place, it seemed odd that the space wasn’t full of cars. Usually when this Ugandan doctor throws a party the whole block is full. Instead only two or three cars were there. I wondered if perhaps I wasn’t so late after all. Yes, most Ugandans never keep time, for some reason.I could hear muffled music from inside. So, i wandered inside the hall way.
I smiled to myself as I saw my long time friend,Johnson, whom we went together to the same university for both undergraduate and postgraduate, pulling some chairs and doing last minute touches for the expected visitors.Johny, as i usually call him, always was a little strange, but we call each other ‘brothers’ despite the fact that he is not a Muslim and we aren’t blood related. The fact is he is so loyal to almost all his friends, and i admire him for this.
After a few moments, my doctor-friend saw me, rushed to greet me at the door and ushered me in. He immediately got me a Mirinda drink since they all know that I’m a Muslim and I don’t drink alcohol.
“Abbey, buddy! Good to see you. We were starting to wonder if you’d make it.”
“Yeah,I had to do some little bit of baby sitting,” I lied. “But I’m here now. My better half wont come because she’s at work.”
The party was more like a big gathering of a lot of educated Ugandans(PHDs and whatever), and it didn’t take long for my Doctor-friend to introduce me to almost all the guests. Some people I knew from previous parties. The rest I assumed were work acquaintances of the doctor. He particularly introduced me to one Ugandan who is a member of Ugandan at Heart(UAH) forum, and I’ve always loved his arguments on Facebook, called Rev. Amos Kasibante.
A strange smile came over his face when he was told that I’m Abbey Semuwemba.
‘Are you sure this is Abbey Semuwemba?’, he asked
I said,’ I’m the one, Reveland……what did you expect?’, I hastily reaffirmed.
‘My God, I thought Abbey Semuwemba was an old and very tall man based in Kampala. You don’t write like a young man,ssebo’,………..you stopped writing for newspapers,why?”, he was asking all sorts of questions.
The doctor left us and then returned to his drink as a work buddy called him over. I continued talking to the Reveland for a while. Amos has done quite well for himself.He is tall and slender with the kind of features that land you on magazine covers if you are lucky. At first glance he appears to be an old skinny weakling,but one handshake will convince you otherwise.His picture on Facebook makes me him look a bit young, though.
He knew about the Muslim online forum, UMBS, and he was envious of how Muslims fill up their mosques to the full on Fridays here in the UK compared to the young Christians in this country. He told me how he came to the UK; how he studied law with the likes of Mr.Robert Kabushenga(Newvision) and Mr.Jacob Olanya(Deputy Speaker) at Makerere university before he got a scholarship to come to the UK, and how he is surprised that they are now working for the government they hated so much at the time. He told me about the student protests that Mr.Olanya was involved in while still at campus that almost made him a cripple.
We talked about education in Uganda and how its a shame that the standards in Kibuli S.S have declined recently. He asked me what Muslims are planning to do about it, and my answer was a big ‘I don’t know’.
Because his churches are almost empty on Sunday, they are planning to have various activities taking place there. He didn’t tell me the exact activities, but he confirmed that both the two churches he runs have got halls attached to them for conferences or big occasions(which isn’t the case with our mosques here and in Kampala). He asked me to help him get people to hire these halls.
This made me a bit sad because we recently posted information on UMBS forum about the planned first conference in Kampala, with a budget of averagely shs.9m. But to my surprise, only two people have so far wired mobile money totaling just shs.2,4000 to the lady in Kampala:00256-757521376.We wish the conference to be held in December this year but few members here are even enthusiastic about it. Nobody has pledged anything at all, and that is mind boggling, to say the least!
Most of you here are capable of contributing at least shs.100,000 to help this event take place almost every year. Please contribute money, after all, its not technically ‘your’ money but Allah’s. He can take it away from you if he wants. Let me leave you with a food for thought from caliph Ali.
“Four things in life kill the soul; incessant sinning, arguing with fools, excessive dallying with women, and keeping company with the dead. Who are the dead, command of the faithful? Ali’s companions asked, all those mered in luxury, he answered.”
Luxury which is generally defined as extravagant living is closely tied to being materialistic. Being immersed in materialism is a disease of the heart because one tends to put their material possessions and physical comfort over their own spiritual values. It becomes even more difficult as you earn more money in your life.One is more susceptible to become arrogant as he/she falls into a higher socioeconomic status.
Anyway, as my grandfather used to say: ‘ekiisinga obulungi mubigambo. Kyeyo ekiiba nga kiitono naye nga kiiyina amakulu gekiitegeza’. Wassalam
Abbey Kibirige Semuwemba
Stalk my blog at: http://semuwemba.com/
Follow me on Twitter: http://twitter.com/#!/semuwemba
Join me on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/abbey.k.semuwemba