Tucked away in a misty corner of south western Uganda, far from the noisy grind of big city life is the sleepy village of Bwatoogo-Bushenyi that I call home. Every end of year I retreat here to attend to a family ritual of food, drink and above all companionship.
I like it here. The familiarity doesn’t stop at the weight of a surname that solicits goodwill nods from elderly folk and credit from the township pubs.
It extends to the beauty of golden sunrises and the lullabies of crickets at dusk. This is a quaint place that encourages the mind to evaluate the past and contemplate the future.
Talking of the past, there were times when I wished I could have brought forward the traditional new year fireworks. That’s how tough 2018 has been – a year of major challenges but one that also ended up teaching me how to develop a positive mindset.
Therefore, even when I penned this year’s pieces I only focused on the positives. From calling for patience when Sebastian Desabre kicked off his reign underwhelmingly; arguing that local football had the potential to return the complements of corporate sponsorship; insisting we were good for a couple of medals at the 2018 Commonwealth Games, when many thought our athletes would typically and literally vanish; insisting that progress was a process and not an event in the aftermath of a disappointing home draw with Taifa Stars; to observing that a bright future beckoned for a rejuvenated Express FC.
As I also contemplate the future, my intention is to continue with this attitude into the new year. I must. We must. Our past can’t define us. We shall err but should draw lessons instead of remorse
This is what I am saying to myself as I throw on a sweat shirt and head into town to the same pubs my fathers patronised, to perch on the same stools they used.
Televised Football hadn’t got to these parts in the 60’s and 70’s but I suspect my fathers back then headed into town for the same reason I did - seek refuge from kitchen gossip. No place on earth can offer me such a primeval connection.
So, wherever your connections are, or home is, I congratulate you for finishing a particularly hard year and hope you keep the resolutions you make. The damage of an entire year won’t vanish at midnight, but it is in believing that things will get better that we start making them better.
And at this point I would like to wish all of you a marvellous new year. To everyone I know and met in 2018, to those that matter and those that couldn’t be bothered, to the lovely people of Bushenyi, Kampala, Manama, Maputo, Beira, Tete, Nampula, Yei, Juba, Kigali, Johannesburg, Durban, Cape town, Blantyre, Lusaka, Mbabane, Munich, London, Manchester, Paris, Dubai, Rotterdam, Copenhagen, Svendborg, Aalborg, Thika, Nakuru, Eldoret, Kisumu and Nairobi, I pray 2019 makes your dreams come true.