Mukasa Sirajeh Katantazi
Maama Nakimu,as my mom is referred to by her friends is a no nonsense lady. She is tough like nails and will not stand for excuses.
Being the oldest of her children you would naturally expect that she would be referred to as Maama Sirajeh but alas my little sister took the honor and reason was I grew up between staying with her during holidays and my uncle during school time.
Although she never set the alarm(we had none), she would always be up by 5:30a.m and out of the house by 6:00 a.m to her grocery store in Nakawa Market.
Before she would leave, she would wake me up to close the door giving instructions on what to prepare for my siblings and what work we each had to do.
I would uninterestedly nod or make some voiceless interjections (Uh huh or um mmm) in my drowsy state of mind just to get back to sleep.
But somehow I would execute all the instructions lest I found myself nursing a few bruises.
As kids we would always hurriedly do the work a few hours before she returned in the evening having played all day(-primary holidays were enjoyable).
There were no gender lines on doing chores in her house,boys would cook just as much as girls.
She taught us the value of work drumming it into our consciousness that as long as one worked they would never fail to put food on the table.
And I have done my bit of hustles but will share one.
When I was teaching in Gombe S.S , I realized there was a vacuum for proteins ( meats specifically) so I identified a young man to roast sausages to supplement my income and provide a choice for the school kids and oh my what a kill I made.
Salaries would not worry me anymore and yes I remembered as long as you work ,…..you guessed it.
Only I learnt along the way that you can also work smart( Napoleon Hill’s Think and Grow Rich comes to mind).My mom’s life and purpose is her work.
She never complained and would religiously go everyday to fend for her children.I grew up idolizing her.I still do and she’s my hero (or is that heroine).
When the lockdown was imposed she couldn’t walk to her work station despite markets being permitted to open on account of her advanced age now. We have on many occasions asked her to tone down but she won’t hear of it.
My younger brother Moses now has the honour of picking and dropping her at her work place before he continues to his place of work and yes they leave at 6:00 a.m or a bit earlier.
That’s the work ethic she instilled in us all. Now that he has no sticker he can’t drive and neither can she walk and so she is stuck at home.
I literally feel her pain for not working every time I call.
This is the story of many workers whose lives have been disrupted by C19. For many their jobs will be forever lost.
For others they will have to agree to pay cuts so that each of them will have a chance not to lose their job.
The New Vision group has announced pay cuts of up to 60% to mitigate the possibility of laying of workers.
Barcelona players agreed a 70% wage cut to ensure other employees would still be paid amidst the pandemic.
Yet unfortunately many workers will not have a job to go back to as we emerge from the C19 devastation.
The Wall Street Journal reported that the sharp economic slowdown in China caused by the Pandemic forced businesses to resort to pay cuts and layoffs or risked shutting down.
An article in the UK reported that upto 70% of young lawyers may be out of work within Six months post C19. It may not be different here.
The economic forecast looks grim and workers are probably headed for some tough terrain but we will arise better and stronger .
To all those giving their best at their place of work-Happy Labour Day
Stay home, stay safe.