We secretly probed our mother’s extravagance

Charles Baribuganda and his sister Bettina Tumuhaise. PHOTO/FILE

What you need to know:

  • Charles Baribuganda is a businessman who retired four years ago from  Crown Beverages Ltd (Pepsi). He was a distributor for Pepsi in Ibanda, Kazo, Ishongororo, Kamwenge and Rwamwanja. While Bettina Tumuhaise, his sister wears many hats; a farmer with a history in radio, having worked at KFM and Capital FM.  
  • Bettina has since relocated to Canada where she is a caseworker for services to the homeless and immigrants to achieve their goals. Edgar R. Batte talks to the siblings.

Bettina
How would you describe yourself to a stranger?

I am kind-hearted, joyful, loving, empathetic and compassionate person. Most of all, I am a loyal friend. 
When did you two last have a good laugh? 
That would be a few weeks ago when he bought a T-shirt on my behalf and gave it to our cousin and claimed it was from me.  We laughed so hard. 
What is your earliest memory of him? 
Charz was the dresser of the family. Our mum used to work so hard to buy for him the clothes in vogue. I remember shirts such as Azaro and the trendy jeans. Lord, Charz had to have them, and of course dad was not the type to buy such expensive things, so mum had to buy them. Another thing, Charz was like the baby of the family bamukuza ekyeejjo (he was pampered). He does not know how to do chores like my other brother Bernard and  I, do. 
When was the last time you ever saw him cry?
That would be when he lost his wife- Winnie, and months later, his business was facing challenges. He was hurting. 
What grew your friendship bond?
Some kind of respect that he has always given me. He always wants my opinion on things, and he listens. And whatever he is going through, I am the person he talks to and I listen but most of all, I tell him things that make him feel better. I think my purpose in life is to be a light in people’s lives. 
What nickname did you have for him? 
Charz and we still call him that. It is our short form for Charles. 
What is your favourite hangout?
We rarely hang out together, may be when we travel to the village but in Kampala, he either comes to my place and we chill or I go to his place. We have different tastes. 
What is he most scared of? 
Leaving his children,  our mother  and being broke. I remember when he suffered from Covid-19, he almost died because he thought he was using all the money he had saved for his children. 
What is the biggest test your friendship has had?
Nothing really. He supports me 100 percent. Growing up, he told me ‘wear whatever makes you happy even if you go naked as long as it makes you happy,  I will support you’. 
How do you  resolve differences? 
We have never had differences. I am the boss in our friendship. Basically, he cannot do anything unless I am 100 per cent fine with it.

Charles Baribuganda and his sister Bettina Tumuhaise. PHOTO/FILE

My mother may not be okay with something but if Charz does not want to do it, he will not. With me, he does not say much because I always have a better explanation for any thing that pops up. 
Did you ever team up to fight someone? 
Yes, when our mother was ridiculously asking us to restock her small shop we refused. 
What is the craziest thing you have done as siblings?
Investigating our mother’s abnormal expenditure behind her back. We found out that she had borrowed money from a lending scheme and gave it to someone who misused it, so she had to refund it. 

Charles 
How would you describe yourself to a stranger?

Laid back and quiet, but full of fun once I click with the stranger.
How would you describe your sister?
Being the only girl  from my mother, she was a queen at home, very talkative and energetic. As she got mature, she started taking life by the horns. She is a go-getter and is no mediocre. I want to call her a self-made millionaire and true hustler.
When did you two last have a good laugh?
Every time we talk on phone. Recently, a cousin requested me to tell Bettina to send a good designer T-shirt, I went to one of the malls in Kampala and bought what I believe served the purpose and delivered to our cousin claiming that it was Bettina who ‘sent’ it. 

Afterwards, I called my sister and told her about  the whole episode and requested her to confirm in the affirmative should she be called to be thanked for sending the T-Shirt. We really had a good laugh. 

What is the fondest memory of your mother?
When I was in village before end of August, I found our mum wearing a designer pair of shoes and I recalled that my sister had sent that pair of shoes months. Our mum was still excited about the pair of shoes.
What is the best thing that your sister ever did?
When Bettina joined media (KFM) her life changed and she has since never looked back.
What grew your friendship?
Being the only girl from a nucleus of three children made us grow closer to each other.  After  her O-Level I brought her to live with me in my two-roomed house in Kampala.
What  nickname did you have for her?
Our mum nicknamed her Nyabutikuli which means the nonstop talker or too talkative. 
What is your favourite hangout?
Before Covid-19, we used to hang out at Maama Ashanti in Nakasero,  400 in Bukoto and Signature or Club Vegas while in Mbarara. 
When I contracted Covid-19, I left the buzzing life.
What is she scared of the most?
Disappointments.

Bits...
How do you resolve differences? 

We have never had differences. I am the boss in our friendship. Basically, he cannot do anything unless I am 100 per cent fine with it.

My mother may not be okay with something but if Charz does not want to do it, he will not. With me, he does not say much because I always have a better explanation for any thing that pops up.  

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