Deo K Tumusiime
Wednesday, December 17, 2014
If it hadn’t been a taboo in their culture, the two Somali women I met at the Munyonyo Resort Tuesday, would have passionately spread out their arms to hug me---just because I am Ugandan! But the smile on their faces on seeing me with my daughters, spoke volumes.
Yes, on a cool evening, I drove to Munyonyo with my girls to chill out. As we strolled near the lake, we came across a group of Somalis enjoying their time too. Two Somali ladies instantly rose up from their seat and approached us.
The first thing they asked was, “Are you Ugandans?” I said “Yes, shuuuu”. They quickly chipped in in a chorus, “Wow, Uganda is our second home. We love Uganda; it has provided us accommodation and education”. It was obvious that these people are simply in love with Uganda-perhaps more patriotic about our country than some of us!
Hmmm… something for something! Not quite. I have once or twice visited the ‘concentration camp’ for Somalis in the Kampala slum area of Kisenyi; not the most decent of places to live; but these people are extremely excited just to live on UGANDAN soil.
If it were a love relationship from our conventional perspective, surely one would say that these Somalis are truly in love with Uganda. And from what I experienced with the two ladies, they do not only love Uganda, but they love Ugandans too.
Well, save for the troubles currently pertaining back home in Somalia, which obviously forced these people to take off for dear life, I so strongly believe that as the world continues to grow into a global village, we cannot but help to co-exist.
Uganda unlike other African countries is greatly endowed with one of the best weather conditions in the world, and is well known for being largely welcoming. Anyone can come here and instantly feel at home- something that has endeared Uganda to many from far and wide. However, many Ugandans have also travelled to various places in the world, Somalia inclusive; because they possess certain endowments that we might not have.
For the Nth time, I must reiterate the fact that God could never have made the mistake of creating more people than planet earth can accommodate. Well, ideally, if Uganda is “full”, let people go to Somalia or Rwanda or to Argentina or to the Netherlands or Trinidad and Tobago, name it.
But also far from limitation of physical space (which I do not foresee anyway), human beings should be able to search for jobs, get spouses and earn livelihood anywhere in the world. If there’s insurgency in Somalia or Syria or Egypt or what have you, let’s always receive God’s people with open hands and make them feel at home.
I quite love the song by the Backstreet Boys that says, “I don’t care who you are; where you’re from; or what you do, as long as you love me”. And yes, no matter what you call him; God, Allah, Ruhanga, Katonda, Mungu, Imaana, Lubanga, Deo, our God is one and the same; and so being, it therefore means that no matter which country or tribe or religion we come from; no matter how rich or poor, black or white, were are all brothers and sisters-the more reason why we must lovingly co-exist.
Even if Somalis are generally looked at with apathy because of the misbehavior of their kinsmen the Al-Shabaab, who have anchored the demise of thousands, many a Somali are quite amiable and full of life. Surely they deserve a place in our hearts.
Brief Background: Somalia is a Horn of Africa country blessed with one of the longest coastlines in Africa and by far one of the most beautiful. However, since the fall of the Siad Barre government in 1991, the country has struggled, faced with innumerable killings by the rebel group Al-Shabaab. Thanks to the ‘loving relationship’ with Uganda, the UPDF together with others have redeemed relative peace that has seen much of the country return back to life.
God bless Somalia.
For God and My country!
The writer is a communications consultant