Run Against Cancer
The country was prostrating for Kiprotich’s legs and all the wonders they’d done at the Olympics when I received a call; Sensei had assigned me to represent ULK at the Rotary in Uganda, Run against cancer. Sensei calls, you pick up, he doesn’t speak but you’ll know what he’s saying to you. Erique says he does that to save airtime. The rest of us think it’s just badass crossing the line and becoming creepy. ‘No’ wasn’t exactly an option. Not to a man who’d fed us back when we were but toddlers in the dojo. Rice and mukene err’day
Cancer claims lives in Uganda every day though awareness is still very low. Rotary in Uganda is out to change this. The 5, 10 and 21km marathon is one of the initiatives aimed at achieving this.
Sunday morning, 0700HRS
The marathon was a bit disorganised at the start since we had to pick our numbers at the starting line; The upside is Kiprotich was there himself to flag us off; and to whisper marathon tips to several girls and guys who leaned in close enough to see his skin pores; the girls giggled a lot though… By press time I wasn’t able to confirm whether he was whispering marathon tips or his PIN code. You naughty Kiprorich you!
Anyway, we were flagged off and like a cheetah on crystal meth, I shot to the 5km mark. The editor removed the bits where I stopped and asked ‘Whyyyy me??!!’ and all the times I asked sweaty girls in nice frilly tops to ‘Take me!!’. In my defence I was only asking for directions; I meant “Dear stranger, please take me to where the finish line is” though being out of breath didn’t allow all that talk. Let it be noted that the turn-up was really good; not in an MTN marathon so-much-yello way, but in a decent “people have really backed this cause in a great way” way. Kudos to the Rotary Club.
Ummm, lastly, it was announced that they’d be free cancer screening…we got there and the pretty lady said they’d only do breast cancer screening. No screening for other cancer. Not even prostate cancer. The horror. So many dejected balls. Anyway, I got practical lessons on how to do the breast cancer screening that I’ll dispense in a separate article.
Sunday afternoon, 1400HRS
Blankets and Wine
If you came here to read about the Blankets and Wine event, skip all the other stuff…start here. But the other stuff pointed out that I learnt how to do breast cancer screening. So, we flew all the way to Kenya last year to cover a Blankets and Wine event at which Mafiki Zolo performed-the link it is here. Click it. Pillow-fight-from-excitement broke out when we heard of B&W coming to UG.
For you who only knows about midget mud-wrestling, Blankets and Wine is, fancy definitions aside, a chance to watch artistes perform during the day. It happens err’ month in Kenya. In all honesty though, ‘Blankets’ are a Kenyan thing; here sisi tuna use Mats. Mikeka. Lots of mats. We do have lots of wine though. Romi Wine. Bobi Wine. Mickie Wine. Altar Wine.
So you walk in with your mat (or blanket, or duvet, or goat skin) and set it down on the grass, unleash your err, food, let the kids run free to the bouncing castles, sit on your mat(or blanket, or duvet, or goat skin) and watch live performances. With drums. And a keyboard. And a flute. So think classy ekiggunda…with afro-centric artistes, no crazy crowd, no squinting to see the stage, no queues at the entrance like job promotions are being handed out, no queasy smells…think live concert. Chill. Your food. Your drinks. And a breeze
Tonix was the first act. He can actually carry a tune. Blu Flamingo, one of the sponsors, was conducting a treasure hunt with swanky wine as the bounty. Real life Ninja skills- we won the wine.
Then Muthoni Drummer Queen took over the stage. It must be hard performing to an audience that doesn’t know your name and for the most part, doesn’t understand Swahili. But good music transcends language. The Drummer mummer eventually got through to the swansy crowd after showing off some mad skills in rap, poetry and some mellow chuunes.
Then Quela did their thing. Listening to Quela is good for your health. Siima Sabiiti came on and did some crazy things with a flute. I didn’t even know there were flutes in Ug. Michael Ouma also stepped on and plucked the guitar like it owed him.
By this time the wine had kicked in. By the time Lillian Mbabazi wafted onto stage and sang Danger, the crowd response was ‘Where? Where?’ while dispersing in all directions, leaving puzzled children behind.
NB: Cancer is real and has claimed many lives. It continues to creep further up our society’s garments un-restrained because our guard is down. Let’s be proactive. Watch what you eat. Exercise. Live. And do the tests. Even the breast cancer one that any guy would only gladly help you do
NBB: While lying back and looking into the sky as artistes perform, here’s a nation-building thing to ponder: Do birds shit mid-flight? Like if they are flying in a pack, does the shitty one slow down and tell the rest ‘Go ahead guys, I’ll catch up’ or does it say ‘This’ll only take a minute’