The minister’s family left for the village and are expected to return to Kampala after New Year’s day. They took their maids with them, of course, so she has not paid our house a visit for a week.
It is not politically or socially correct to admit that I miss her, or to even show that I have noticed her absence. So when my maid mentioned that her friend was away, I used a bored voice to ask if it was really true.
“Don’t you know those people have to go to the village in a big way?” she answered in question form. “They used three cars and all of them were filled with stuff.
Honourable was alone with the driver and a body guard in the one with red numbers, then madame was with the kids in the second big car driven by her brother, and my friend rode in the third car driven by madame’s sister.”
“You really took note of everything!” I said sarcastically.
“Eh! There were so many drinks packed in madame’s car and loads of clothes in the third car,” she said. “The shopping cost them at least Shs10 million, I was told, and they carried an even bigger amount to spend in the village.”
“It is their money,” I grunted.
“I wish they could give me a quarter of it, they would still have a fantastic Christmas,” she kept lamenting.
“Give it to you as who?” I asked.
“I am just saying that if they gave a quarter of their Christmas budget to someone who needs capital, they would have sorted out her life for ever,” she argued.
“People who need capital are supposed to go to the bank,” I said.
“Okay, but they can still do something for the community,” she persisted.
“I am sure honourable is buying a lot of drinks for the people in the village during this festive season,” I responded.
“What if instead of the drinks he built them a clinic?” asked my maid.
“And how would they maintain it afterwards?” I asked. You said he should give a quarter of his Christmas budget and that comes to about six million. So he builds a village clinic with it and even puts in some furniture. Then what about the medicines and staff?”
“Suppose he gives the whole Christmas budget for the clinic?,” she asked. “Another quarter can buy some medicines as the patinets meet some of the costs, after it is for their own health. Then the other two quarters, which is twelve million, can a pay a fulltime doctor for the clinic for a year.”
“So you mean honourable should sacrifice his Christmas for a village clinic staffed by a full medical doctor?” I asked.
“Why not?” she shot back. “After all, in the second year he would not have to build it again and so there would be more money for medicines or a couple of nurses.”
“I understand it is possible and quite easily done,” I said. “But you are not telling me why he should do it.”
“Because it would be more useful that the eating and drinking,” answered my maid. “Because his family enjoys the same foodstuffs and drinks every day of the year, so consuming them in bigger amounts on Christmas does not add anything to them, except maybe stomach aches.
Because the poor people would be so impressed with the forgoing of Christmas fun by the higher society members and also follow the example. In fact I wish all the rich people in our country could abolish Christmas festivities and divert the money to developing their villages in such a way!”
I thought she was making a good suggestion and I told her so.
SOURCE: Daily Monitor