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UGANDA: Re-living My Fools Day Experiences

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DENIS WABUYI – As a norm, I never even attempt to fool people on Fools Day since I quit high school. Maybe I will start later in life but not so soon. By saying this, I am also trying to shield myself from fools who would love to shove me into their herd; I tried a hand at ignorance and I failed to sustain it.

I however have vivid memories of people who have been fooled on this day and those who have fooled. The last time I tried a hand at fooling earned me a good number of strokes but also a sumbi and chapati worthy 300. Yes, there was once in our lifetime when a chapati cost 200/- and a sumbusa, 50/-, at that time when our money had started losing value while trying to catch up with the population; that time when elections could determine who leads you, not money. Before that, it even cost less; money was money.

On that fateful Tuesday morning, after the bell had rang for break, a teacher called and gave me a note of 1,000/- to buy for him “escort” for their tea worthy 700/- and return his change. Now, the last time I did this for a teacher, I didn’t receive anything in return for my servitude. Therefore, a combination of adolescence, past experience, hunger and excitement of Fools Day played so fast to my head and I decided to keep his change after telling him that his name had been recorded down and he can pick it himself from the wooden school canteen.

Of course, after sometime when he went to demand change and was denied, he went on rampage searching for me. Here is the coincidence; I had a namesake and height-mate. His name was Wambuzi Denis, mine Wabuyi Denis and what followed is history but I want to find Mr Anyiro Lawrence and give him his 300/- with all the accrued interest.

My story aside, one of the most horrible Fools Day pranks I ever witnessed was in 2010, in my last semester while I was working at a Mobile Money agency on part time. At that time Mobile Money had just begun and ours was the only outlet serving a stretch of around 20km2 from Magodes in Tororo to Bumbobi in Mbale, some parts of Butaleja and Manafa districts.

At around 11 am, a relatively young man in his late 30s (according to my estimate) came panting to my counter and asked whether I had enough money to give him 5 million. He said this planting the phone infront of me with the confidence of a well-to-do person displaying the Mobile Money message but coming from a private number and amount shabbily written as 50,00,000. Right away I told him this is a fake message and upon checking his account balance, he also confirmed. To call back on the number that had sent the message, it was off.

Here is the story; someone had called alleging to be a son of his neighbor who is working with Kakira Sugar works. He wanted to surprise his parents with a token of 5 million. And since this guy (Peter) was the one to deliver the money, he was promised 100,000/- as a token. Peter who was in his banana plantation in Nalusaga left the hoe in the garden with his wife and rushed to get a bodaboda to bring him to Busiu immediately. He had nothing in the pocket but assured of 100,000/-, that was not a problem.

After being revealed to him that it is Fools Day, hands fall by the side and he walked out wondering where he will get the money to pay for the bodaboda fair. After several negotiations, they agreed that he was to go back home, sell his hen and pay for the bodaboda which according to our conversation a month later confirmed that he did.

Out of a prank, this guy lost his chicken and later when he discovered that the person who had fooled him was actually not far from where he was, he also went and confiscated their goat in retaliation. What followed then was a protracted conflict between the two families that span into witchcraft and later physical fights forcing Peter to sell off his land and relocate to Munkaga in Mbale.

Almost every action has a reciprocal but for now, am not party to FOOLS PARTY. Like the one in King Lear, “I would have some of you beaten for getting old before your time. You’re not supposed to get old until you’re wise”

DENIS WABUYI

Published (Halifax Canada Time AST) on: April 03, 2018 at 08:54AM

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