London Diary – What Occupies the Kyeyo Mind?

Jal Paddy,

I was taken aback by the flood of direct letters and comments I received in my email inbox over the bum surgery story of last week.

The most passionate of comments were largely from our Ugandan ladies who thought I painted a bad picture of the whole surgery thing. I am surprised such a seemingly ‘un-Ugandan’ topic would raise such quick and direct response.

The only other time this column has garnered such reaction was sometime last year when I wrote about kyeyo online banking and was inundated with fellow nkuba kyeyos inquiring about opening Uganda bank accounts and managing them online. I bet it is natural for people to react in one way or the other towards matters they hold dear.

This brings me to my own awareness concerns and reservations as a young kyeyo family man, miles away from home, and raising children in the inner city of London. I guess you could call this a dose of self-analysis of the kyeyo mind. The one thing I realise worries me most is the future of my little ones.

My wish and aspirations are that I provide them with a g and stable foundation from which they can grow into wholly-rounded individuals, able to explore and exploit the opportunities and chances within their environment to the best of their abilities. Involving the children in Sunday school, making time for bedtime story reading and school work, instilling discipline, limiting telly and having our lives rotate around children is our humble way of going about this.

My personal physical well-being and health, and that of my family and friends, is another point of priority in my life. I thank God that just a small tweak in lifestyle can work wonders towards this. Small things such as switching to water instead of fizzy drinks, the occasional exercise, veges and fruits, plus home-cooked meals as a family could go a long way.

We also keep a close eye on our money matters as a family. Ideally, we always want the next year to find us in a better and more secure position than in the previous year. To do that, one needs to save or invest a portion of their income. Hard stuff, and we are yet to fully acquire that discipline, but we are getting there.

Now the things I mention here could mean completely nothing to the next kyeyo bloke you meet. For the illegal kyeyo surviving in the UK in a shared accommodation, minus travel papers, a bank account or even a general doctor to turn to when sick it is different. His main concern is getting his papers, a place and bank account to call his own, or a doctor to his name.

The uncertainties and unpredictability that come with living illegally in a foreign country is not for the feeble-hearted, made worse when the situation back home seems just as uncertain and unpredictable. And then there is the senior kyeyo citizen whose mind is occupied by issues to do with pension and the eve- looming question of whether ‘to return home now or later.’

These are just a few of the things that bother the kyeyo mind. I bet at some point you will want to hear about the things that make us smile and laugh. Now that, my friend, will be a story for another day.

Your friend,


Source : The Observer

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