Saturday January 4 2014

New Year’s day, rural tales and the eternity of time

By Asuman Bisiika

As part of my ‘this-and-that’ kind of assignments, I had two choices to make: spend Christmas in Juba or the Democratic Republic of Congo.

I chose the Democratic Republic of Congo (for obvious reasons) because I would wind up in Kiburara, my home village, where even the devil would not dare to challenge me in wrestling.
And so it was that on Tuesday December 31, 2013, I ended up in Kiburara at 11pm; so wickedly tired to the core that I tasted an angel’s life by sleeping like one: deep slumber.

I woke up at 9am and remembered I had a column to write. Walking the one kilometre distance between my home and Farmland Safari Resort, I ambled into the lobby of the resort at 10am on Wednesday January 1, 2014.

Looking for a place I could plug my laptop, I bumped into Mr Milton Kibaba, the proprietor of Farmland Safari Resort who also runs similar facilities (hotels and bars) in Kampala.
Now this Kibaba is a childhood acquaintance; and when he started ‘harassing’ the hotel staff to make me comfortable, I ‘reprimanded’ him.

Incidentally, the manager of Farmland Safari Resort is my brother Hussein Bisogho and the land on which the facility sits was purchased from my father, the original Asuman. This though was my first visit to the facility.

The only reason that I am at Farmland Safari Resort is the lack of electricity at home (and the fatalistic fear of failure to beat the immortal editor’s deadline); otherwise, coming straight from the Democratic Republic of Congo the previous night, I am supposed to be in the comfort of my bed.

The village (or actually Kiburara) is a good place. At least I had the opportunity to meet real people and listened to stories in their raw form; and of course the enchanting birds that reminded me of the musicality of communication.

Coming from the DRC and monitoring the gunfire incident in Kinshasa, I felt so uncharitable that I could not (or actually I did not know how I could) spread the rumours of a possible military coup in Kinshasa.

In Kiburara, I heard two major stories: ‘the coup’ in South Sudan and the secession of Kasese District (or actually Rwenzururu Kingdom) from the Republic Uganda.

Being a Kampalan (of course no one knew I had decamped from Kampala on December 22), I was asked about the veracity of the secession project. “It is an impossibility: not yesterday, today or tomorrow,” was my response. And we shall beg our dear readers not to ask for details of this funny secession thing because it is what the Americans would call hogwash.

Being at Kiburara on January 1, 2014, made me reflect on humanity’s failure to recognise time as the original constant. You can measure time in years, decades, centenaries, millennia, billions, trillions, bisiikallions, etc, but… Oh yes, all that is merely an attempt at quantifying the unquantifiable.

So, when I hear the Seventh Day Adventists and we the Muslims arguing against the veracity of Christmas as the birthday of Jesus, I just look on sheepishly.

The calendar is human creation and the weeks and years in it are just that: creations. We could as well turn December 25 into January 1 and that won’t change the human pursuit of spirituality in Jesus or Buddha or Mohammad’s teachings, etc.

Time is the original constant. Whereas humans have managed to grasp the quantities and qualities of matter, they don’t seem to appreciate time as the object on which matter rests.
The attempt by humans to quantify and qualify time in cardinal or ordinal instruments is merely that: an attempt. Happy 2014.

Please, note that in the times of Asuman Bisiika, the year used to begin on the first day of January.

Mr Bisiika is the executive editor of East Africa Flagpost.