Thursday, September 24, 2009

A New Name.

The other night Manny and I were having a long conversation (Check out the This Is The Thing blog by Manny for more about this crazy conversation) with our sister Florence about our family and clan. Our father passed away a few years ago. His last name was/is Kasirye. His clan is Nvuma. Nvuma is a water plant, whatever your clan name is you cannot eat, this is obviously not so bad for us. Unfortunately there are some staple clans like cow, now that's a little sad.
We woke up on Thursday morning and Mamma Idah came and gave us new names! These are legit as far as the clans are taken. Guys names start with Ka, and girls start with Na. My name is Kalute. So here is how my name would look. Kalute Longmore/Kasirye Brian as a part of the Nvuma clan, Baganda Tribe. I personally think that its pretty cool.

Over the next couple of weeks I will be on the computer less, so more than likely I will be able to post much less.

Peace and Love.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009


The Weekend in Jinja
All the IMME kids packed up into a coaster this weekend and headed to Jinja. Jinja is the capital of the Basoga people and they speak Lusoga (Really Similar to Luganda). Jinja is also the source of the Nile. We got to go and see the springs on Lake Victoria that begins the three month trip to the Mediterranean Sea. We met a couple of Missionaries and had some grandish times. But also tough times. We went into a scrap yard where people work in horrendous conditions to recycle products for about a dollar a day. Then we immediately left that place for a hospital, the best hope for medicine for 2 million people, a place where you might see a doctor the first week you go. I saw a lot of dying people.
I got the opportunity to meet a man named Abraham that is heading a tree planting program. I might get the chance to work with him my last few weeks here in December. If you want to see pictures of the past week, and Jinja, the former Beverly Hills of East Africa check out my new facebook album.
With Love.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

The week after the riots.

So calm has returned to Buganda for now. The streets of Mukono were littered by debris from the roadblocks. But first let me rewind to Friday. I went to school wearing the same clothes that I had worn the night before since I stayed on campus. We were taken to our homes at two on Friday because the rioting was emenent. About 45 minutes after we arrived home the rioting began again. Gunshots were ripping through the air. Teargas was all around. From our front window we saw a military policeman fire teargas, and rioters hurling rocks back. At one point a boy around the age of 17 took out a sling shot and fired a projectile in the direction of the police and military. It was pretty intense, but it calmed down soon after that. It is reported that there were 15 deaths, but Ugandans will tell you there was more like 50.
But the dichotomy of this land is stunning.
When calm returned it returned suddenly, there was an amazingly powerful thunderstorm that seemed to heal the earth.

Since then things have been tense between the Baganda and the Uganda Government so we will see what happend. Life at my house has been so good. The next time I write I hope to write more about general life in Uganda.


Thursday, September 10, 2009

and if you wanna see a serious(ly) funny video during the riots... go here and watch the video under kampala riots....
Love Ya!

The morning.

So this morning things seem to be more calm here in Mukono. It is kind of expected that flare ups will occur today, but I do not think that much is expected. With that being said I will try to explain why this happened.

In the 70's and 80's during the Idi Amin and Obote regimes Uganda was in perpetual civil war. A man named Yoweri Museveni helped to topple both of them, and in 1986 he assumed power of Uganda. During his leadership Uganda has been touted as having the best national system at HIV/AIDS control and prevention. With that being said there have also been flaws during his years in control. Most of all, the creation of what is essentially a one party system has been his biggest downfall. In 2006 just before the last elections he extended the time a president could stay in office and being basically unmatched he easily won, to the dismay of many.

There are many tribes within the borders of Uganda, tribes that were placed together in a room in Europe by the League of Nations, completely arbitrarily drawn lines that did not take tribal and ethnic differences into account.

Buganda is the largest Kingdom in Uganda, but still only is 20% of the population. Their language is Luganda. I live in Buganda here in the Mukono district, the suburbs of Kampala. Uganda was named after the Buganda. This Kingdom is so important because it encompasses Kampala, the largest city in Uganda, and the location of government offices. The Kings of Buganda, or Kabaka were among the first in Uganda to convert to Christianity in the late 1800's with English missionaries. The English kept their relationship up with the Kabaka and in 1962 Edward Muteesa, Kabaka (King) of Buganda became the first president of Uganda at the time of independence.

In 1966 Obote overthrew the King.
In 1971 Idi Amin took over through a military coupe.
Around 1980 in a war with Tanzania Amin lost power and this led to the return of Obote from exile.

So this leads back to where I started with Musevini leading a successful military campaign against both of these heinous leaders.

Today, the youth do not remember the civil war years of Uganda. Most of the older generation do and they are very loyal to Musevini for the most part, for he led to peace. But here is the problem, he is not Buganda. Today the Kabaka remains, but as a figurehead as far as the nation is concerned. But to the Buganda people he is more than that. The next election is 2011 and much violence is expected as there has never been a peaceful transfer of power in Uganda.

This week the Kabaka and the President spoke on the phone for the first time in two years. The president said that he was disrespected by the Kabaka. So yesterday when a high up government official tried to visit the Kabaka and was stopped by a police roadblock ordered by the president riots broke out. This of course was perpetuated by mob mentality, but most of all the youth angst against the president in general. This is a brief taste of the violence that is expected for 2011.

I hope this makes sense! It is pretty complicated. Pray for shalom in Uganda.


I am sure it is not a huge deal right now but please pray for Uganda and the Buganda people. There are riots going on right now really close to the house that I live at. Right now I am at school and we are not being allowed to go home. We are safe right now though. So maybe tonight I get to eat American food at one of the ex-pats houses.
............actually new news, we are heading to the head of our programs house..... (Dani Breen fought off 8 militants all by herself).... ha not true. But we are out of here now to eat then I will keep updated....

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Rwanda and Uganda, first 2 weeks.

Writing here is a bit more difficult than I thought because the internet connection isn't very good. With that being said here is a bit about the last couple of weeks of my life.
Day 1-3
The Flight was good, we spent the first night here on campus at UCU (Uganda Christian College). Then we were thrown right into our homestays. I ended up getting paired with an American, his name is Emanuel from Boston. We are wearing matching clothes today, pretty cute. My homestay family is amazing. Mamma Idah is the head of the house, she is a widow that cares for 14 children. She has 5 of her own but treats them all like they are hers. There is a boy who is 1 year and a half, Ronnie. Ronnie was so scared of my and my whiteness for the first few days, but now he is a good friend. There are two tea times each day and that is amazing. The food is good. The staple is matoke, which is mashed plantain, we eat it at every meal.

Rwanda- I do not know if I can really touch too much on this subject right now... It is probably the most beautiful yet painful place that I have ever been. I saw thousands of bodies in tombs, and reminders of the genocide that still cut deep. ok ok I will put up something that I wrote about this trip.

There he was, running with a smile on his face- a giant photo in a sorrowful room. His name, Patrick, he was 5. Patrick was massacred with a machete in 1994. This is Rwanda, a land of a thousand hills and a history filled of hate and revival.In 1935 something began in an area of Rwanda known as the Gahini Diocese. This wind driven fire of awe and repentence came to be known as the East African Revival. We got to meet a woman who saw visions and walked hundreds of miles into Tanzania and Burundi to spread this inferno.Hundreds of years ago two main groups of Rwandans emerged: Tutsi and Hutu. These were socio-economical lines for they shared the same language, stories, and customs. The difference may have been genetic but most likely not. Simply put Tutsi's owned cattle and Hutu's grew crops. Tutsi's were the elite, cheifs and such. Hutu's outnumbered Tutsi's because there is need for more farmers. (ratio claimed to be 9 to 1, but was later discovered to be a repressive false number).The French originally colonized Rwanda, but after WW1 the almighty League of Nations gave it to Belgum. The Belgian's favored the Tutsi since they were community leaders and were loyal to their colonizers. Tutsi came to be known by the Belgians as supperior ethnically. By this point the Tutsi assuredly oppressed the Hutu. The tables turned when in 1959 the Tutsi king died and Hutus began to massacre Tutsi. (By this point they had ID cards that distinguished the two thanks to Belgum.) In 1961 and 1962 a Hutu was elected in a new 1 party system. Independence.Between 1959-1973 700,000 Tutsi are expelled from Rwanda which the Belgian governtment now supported (since Hutu had the new control of power) and simply labeled it good ethnic cleansing. These displaced people settled along the border areas of Uganda and the DRC. Many massacres took place up until 1993 directed at the remaining Tutsi (Probably 2 million or so). In Uganda a rebel Tutsi force was building, led by an American trainned general (the now president of Rwanda) they were called the RPF. In 1993 France sold the Hutu extremist govenment of Rwanda 12$ million in weapons and others bought millions of machetes from India.The Hutu president of Rwanda had a clique of about 10 close members , mostly his in-laws. For years anti-tutsi propaganda had been spewed. In schools there were the 10 commandments of Hutus, mostly about the horrible Tutsi's. There were math problems that were taught, "if you have 5 Tutsi's and you kill 3, how many do you have?" The convinced the Hutu that the Tutsi were going to kill them, then they dehumanized them by giving them names like cockroach. This made killing easier.April 6, 1994. The president of Rwanda and the newly elected president of Burundi were flying into Kigali and their plane was hit by a missle (to this day no one knows who did it, which side). Within an hour Hutu soldiers had set up roadblocks where they would check for ID cards and would kill all Tutsi. So it began. 1 American Adventist Missionary remained (not another American in the whole country). There was 1 troop of UN peacekeepers. The world stepped back and in 1 week 100,000 were slaughtered. The UN said Never again after the Holocaust. Machete, guns, grenades, spears, clubs with nails, kitchen utencils, fire, children's necks brken, childrens thrown against the wall, eyes gouged out in infants, rape and killed, rape with HIV, spears from vagina out through the head, babies cut out of moms.... 100 days...1 million Tutsi and moderate moderates were killed. But not 1 genocide, over a million individual murders by neighbors, friends, and family. Patrick was only one, but that is a life that God loves so freaking much, and went through pain to forgive the murderer, even if it was Patricks own dad. There was Charles, a man who gave us a tour of Nyamata church where 10, 000 were slaughtered. So while I was sitting in a 3rd gade class when he (the same age) watched his parents limbs cut off and his brothers head cut off. He lived for 3 days covreed in blood that his brother had put him in to save his life, hiding under dead bodies. Bodies of family and neighbors.At this church we saw stacks of clothes cut off of victims. We went into a tomb full of bones, skulls lined up, some with perfect hammer head holes, others with machete marks, others with faces completely bashed in, some burnt, and alot of children. The smell was aweful with some flesh deteriorating a decade and a half later.We have heard of reconciliation as well. I cannot eve begin to explain how much respect I have for these people and how far they have come since neighbor slaughtered neighbor. I have learned the difference between forgiveness and reconciliation. Reconciliation is not always necessary, but in a country that is so small and densely populated it is a must. They have set up Gacaca courts which are traditional courts where judges are elected by the village and have trails for the Genocide with reduced sentences for full confession. The courts are winding up and there have been over a million cases. These murderers have mostly all been released back into the very neighborhoods that they have committed atrocities against. Yet this place remains the most beautiful place that I have ever been. (If anything it is the first place that I have held hands seriously with a man in public and it was normal)Over the past week I have spoken in church, been in awe of smoggy sunrises, seen tombs of over 200,000 bodies, listened to some of the cooles holistically empowering missionaries speak, watched Genocide and AIDS orphans make cards to be sold in the US, debated relief and development, talked reconciliation,listened to judged, worshiped God, and cried. I will definitely never forget this time in this tiny country.

Back in Uganda- So we are back in Uganda and school has started and it is awesome. I love the dialy thunderstorms and the craziness of the cities here. But I need to go do some homework..

With Love, BJ