Let me regale you a little with stories of where I stay:
I am one of the millions or thousands (I am not sure because I was too lazy to research) of Ugandans that live in a mzigo (rental house). The mzigo I stay in is not the Katanga or Bwaise kind of mzigo, no. This one is the much fancier type: the kind that is enclosed in a kikomera (high wall fence and metallic gate), has piped water, tiled floors and even security lights. But that’s just about where the fanciness stops; every other characteristic common to mzigos, you will most likely find in this kikomera of ours.
1. 80% of the households (and there are many households) have little children below the age of two. And yes, you guessed right, the mothers of these kids are all stay home mums while their husbands are mystery men who leave for work way before the break of dawn and only return home long after everyone in the kikomera has gone to sleep. You’re lucky if you get a glimpse of these supermen.
2. The women in this kikomera, like in most mzigos and bikomeras, thrive on gossip, discussions of the latest Agataliiko Nfuufu and insulting the landlord every chance they get. These women diligently wake up at 7:00am, sometimes even earlier, and then take their dirty untesils and clothes out of their houses with the intention of washing them, I guess. Instead of washing though, they convene on one or two verandahs and discuss the most trivial of matters in the loudest of voices, punctuated with uproarious laughter. Meanwhile, their utensils and clothes gather swarms of flies and their mostly naked and halfnaked children wander around aimlessly, hunger painted on their faces.
3. There’s no need of setting wake-up alarms in this kikomera. The incessant howling and wailing of one little child after another and the angry barks of frustration from their mothers are guaranteed to wake you up from the deepest of slumber, even that induced by an overdose of sleeping pills.
4. And of course, like all mzigos, there’s always that one special character that outdoes everyone else in every negative way possible. They are the loudest, the most quarrelsome, the dirtiest and always play the loudest music. In this my kikomera, our most special character is a one Maama Male.
Maama Male is a fairly good looking woman, probably in her mid thirties. She has three children, the youngest being only about a month and a half old. Then there’s a little girl, fondly known as Majo (short for Majorine), who’s utmost 2 years old and then the eldest, Male, a boy who’s about five years old. What makes Maama Male special in this kikomera is how she frequently verbally abuses and beats (canes and slaps) her two kids, Majo and Male. The beatings she dispenses are not a mere one or two slaps but severe thrashings, whackings and wallopings and sometimes, they border on clobbering. I exaggerate not and neither do I lie when I say Majo and Male, in their 2 and 5 years, have received more abuses and beatings than I have in my 22 years so far or that I will ever receive in my entire lifetime for that matter. Maama Male’s abuses are not your ordinary “you’re stupid” or “mbwa gwe (you dog)” abuses. Hers seem to be specially coined, like there’s some talent involved. The latest I heard from her was “magumba ga ngege gwe!” (you bones of a tilapia).
Enough of the gossip: now for the reason why I was prompted to write this in the first place. I was in utter shock when I found Male seriously abusing and engaging in a one sided quarrel with the rain(yes, the rain). I watched on as the little boy, threw all sorts of abuses to the rain supposedly because it had made a saucepan of theirs dirty. Believe me you, his abuses were just as original as his mother’s. I was saddened at the kind of person, this little boy might eventually turn into, given that he’s already some sort of hardened child criminal. Ofcourse it is his mother’s fault, but I hardly blame her because that’s probably the way she was brought up too. Which brings me to my point: it is heartbreaking how many people underestimate the power of their words. If perhaps we knew to what extent words shape our destinies and that of others, may be we would be more careful with what we say, to ourselves, and to those around us. If we knew that words have the power to make or break someone, maybe we would not so readily dish out those hateful and insensitive words as we so often do.
James 3:3-5 A bit in the mouth of a horse controls the whole horse. A small rudder on a huge ship in the hands of a skilled captain sets a course in the face of the strongest winds. A word out of your mouth may seem of no account, but it can accomplish nearly anything–or destroy it! It only takes a spark, remember, to set off a forest fire. [MSG]
Proverbs 18:21 Death and life [are] in the power of the tongue, And those who love it will eat its fruit. [NKJV]
Death and life are in the power of the tongue. Your words can either kill or they can give life. Are you speaking life? I know the example used is a mother-child example but this stretches to all relationships around us. Speak life, whether it is to yourself, your friends, your siblings, your children and even your enemies. Speak life, and then maybe we won’t have so many broken and severely damaged people in the world.
Lyrics from Speak Life by TobyMac
Though it’s crazy, amazing
We can turn a heart with the words we say.
Mountains crumble with every syllable.
Hope can live or die
So speak Life, speak Life.
To the deadest darkest night.
Speak life, speak Life.
When the sun won’t shine and you don’t know why.
Look into the eyes of the brokenhearted;
Watch them come alive as soon as you speak hope,
You speak love, you speak…