I use one of two main routes on my return from work. It’s either from Katonga road to John Babiiha Avenue and then to Kamwokya where I jump in a taxi to Kisaasi. Or I take Sezibwa road to Ternan Avenue, then to Kampala road and finally to the old taxi park. I prefer the latter. That’s where I walk with kids from Nakasero Primary School.
Those kids are bubbly and energetic. They’ll run and summersault on the pedestrian walk areas. They’ll pull each other. They’ll stop and do a dance on the walkway. They have so much free flowing energy. They are unchained.
They have old manner of bags. Big rectangular bags and bags the size of women’s handbags. Black bags with the Avengers printed on them and pink bags with Barbie. There are bags that look heavy, as though the kids are carrying tonnes of bricks on their backs. Some bags are amorphous, like amoeba that change their shape according to whatever movement they want to make. Some kids have old and tattered bags and others have new ones. Some have dirty uniform collars. There are those that keep their knitted sweaters on even when it’s hot. The beauty is, no one judges the other by the appearance of their bags or the cleanliness of their uniform. They are all kids experiencing the exploits of walking home from school, manoeuvring their way through the crazy streets of Kampala.
Those kids move together like an adventurous lot, laughing at kid jokes that they make up. They know the art of looking left, right and left again before crossing the road. But they don’t do this alone. They cross the road in a group. It’s instinctive. They wait for each other. They look out for one another. When a group of three kids wants to cross from one end of Nakasero road to the other, they’ll wait for the next group that has about five people. Then they’ll cross like a swarm of little bees. No one gets hurt. They don’t run across the road. They walk. Cars stop to give them way.
I love watching those kids finding their way back home. It seems like they have lots of fun. They do this every day on their own. No adults watching or helping them out to cross the road. They survive. They find their way and they know the streets of Kampala. They repeat the process the following day and the day after. They immerse themselves in the process. Even if they are tired, they’ll draw strength from their friends. And they’ll keep moving.
You know, to start anew on a blank page over and over, every day, is mental strength indisputable. To push yourself to keep going, to keep showing up, to think, to create, to apply yourself, to get it done, to try out new writing styles and to keep your readers engaged, entertained, informed even when it feels like you are being stretched beyond your normal muscle limits is passion. And to maintain the pressure on the accelerator, to keep your chin up, to hold your head high and to keep driving or dragging yourself – whichever works for you, and to keep charging on takes commitment.
This writing challenge has tested my resolve to doing this thing. They’ve been days, like today, when I get back to my bachelor pad after 7:30pm and I have no post yet. So I sit on my stool, stretch my legs on the other stool, re-look at the prompt and start typing. How much do you want this? How badly do you need this? How committed are you to this? Those are questions I’d ask myself. And I’d have to put in the work and put up a post. To achieve something, you’ve got to put in the work.
The prompts shook me. I wasn’t sure I’d write anything that readers would either like or relate to. I’d ask myself if I had the creative agility to write sensible stuff on all these topics for this challenge. My conclusion was always that this is a creative writing blog and I’d stretch each topic to whichever lengths my mind decided to take me. After all, there are no wrong blog posts, right? There is no fault in untangling a topic and letting it explode like a dynamite.
On any journey that you take, you need moral support. Writing is lonely. It’s you and your words, sometimes words that mean nothing. You aren’t sure if someone else will understand those words. But you write anyway. You write from your heart. You keep writing no matter what. You put in the time. This writing challenge has given me a strong support system of other bloggers across Africa and readers who spend their time with my words.
If we apply the idea of taking it letter by letter, word by word, sentence by sentence, paragraph by paragraph, post by post, then at the end of this writing challenge, we shall achieve what we set out to achieve.
You don’t have to write according to someone else’s writing schedule. Find what works for you. Do you. Explore you. And share your gift. I’ve read different voices of people on this blogging challenge. I’ve loved reading those blogs every time. I’ve made blog friends on this blogsphere.
The more you write frequently, the easier it becomes to string words together when push comes to shove. By writing every day, you build a muscle that can easily be switched on.
And like those school kids from Nakasero Primary who are free and mildly wild on the road back to their homes, I’ve had fun and been a free bird during this writing challenge.