This is the part two and last of blog posts by Guest Blogger Micheal Harkin who is of English citizenship, sharing his thoughts and insights after watching the Queen of Katwe movie. The first one was published here.(Click link)

I have now been to see Queen of Katwe for myself. I can’t really comment on the film as to me, it was just like walking through the streets of Kampala in a dream that encompassed a lot of experiences I have had myself in Kampala.

As with all these types of dreams, it was so realistic that I kept waking up with a jolt, only to find myself still dreaming another section. I also had the ache about there being so much that needs to be done to help some people in Kampala yet individually there was little I could do to help the whole community.

The movie made me very home sick for Kampala.

A lot of visitors who come to Uganda hide in posh clubs and only come out to eat and drink. Then they go back home and give a completely wrong impression of the place to other people in their home country.

Due to my work and I believe my adventurism, when I was in Kampala and the rest of Uganda, I dug down to its roots to see the good and the bad. Some of the things that are shown in Queen of Katwe I have experienced personally through interaction with some of the people I met in Uganda; my wife passed away suddenly from cerebral malaria: I had problems with my Ugandan In laws over my daughter after her mother passed away: I had problems with my daughters schooling, I was the only white parent when I visited my daughter at her boarding and was discriminated against by some of the staff at the school: I had constant problems with travel; I considered myself Ugandan so traveled on Matatu when I was not in a hurry, only to be made fun of in Luganda, which I could understand and speak well. Naturally I blasted the people involved with all my best (worst) lugandan swear words and told them to take their shoes off and go back to their villages and stop stinking up Kampala.

But on the other side all my best friends are Ugandans. The list of good actions by these people is endless. Some I worked with; some I just met. I did not hide in posh clubs, although I might have lived in one (the old Kabira) at times. I worked on mobile networks for Celtel Ugandan(now Airtel Uganda) for some time. Sometimes I visited some radio towers which where in the worst parts of Kampala, like Katwe (they were put there because they gave good signal coverage) to fix things very late at night and I always went into the nearest local bar for a few beers when I had finished my work. The people there were great, very welcoming.


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Second, today, 31/10 is Halloween day in England. It is the day when ghosts are supposed to walk again. Children here go out in the street with home made lanterns. They make the lanterns by hollowing out a big fruit/vegetable called a PUMPKIN.
During Queen of Katwe, a lot of thing can be missed unless you have lived in Uganda as I have. One thing that can be missed, which I thought about this morning, is the fact that most people, especially those living in Europe, wouldn’t understand that the reason Phiona first goes to the chess club is not to increase her thinking power or anything like that; it is because her and her brother are malnourished and her brother has heard on the Katwe grapevine that you can get a cup of porridge if you go to the chess club.
When the chess teacher gives her a cup of porridge on her first visit, people around me in the cinema thought he was giving her a cup of tea.(they said “that is funny thick tea”)
Going back to Halloween in England; when the child has hollowed out the pumpkin they just throw the inside away, I.E waste it. Pumpkin can be used as a base for many dishes and is very nutritious and healthy. People here have no idea how much they waste while some parts of the world, like Uganda, have starving or malnourished people, especially children.
What I heard on the news broadcast this morning was SHOCKING! The reporter was talking to an English fruit/vegetable major distributor. He said that, in England, during the year you cant sell PUMPKIN at all, but in the four or five days around Halloween around 180,000 TONS are sold.
When asked what people do with the PUMPKIN, the guy said “they make lantern for the kids.” When asked what the people do with the fruit/vegetable inside he said “they throw it away.” When challenged on this being wasteful he said “It is not my problem, I just sell the stuff.”
To put this in perspective, as figures can confuse people. One delivery truck can carry about 40 tons of fruit/vegetables. If you do the maths you will see that four thousand, five hundred (4,500) trucks of fresh, nutritious fruit/vegetables are being thrown away in England in four days around Halloween.
To help you with this further; if you put these trunks in a line starting at Wandageya, the line would stretch right through Kampala town center and half way to Jinja.
He was born and educated in England, he is a telecommunications/data engineer who has worked all over Africa, including Uganda. He worked in Uganda for nearly 30 years and during his stay he meet and married a Ugandan Lady, who passed away from cerebral malaria in 2001.

Patricia Kahill

Patricia Kahill is a multipotentialite Christian entrepreneur, Content Marketing Coach and founder of the Content Marketing agency, Kahill Insights that helps business owners create engaging and interactive content items for digital platforms with a focus on returning a desired outcome. Patricia was the producer of SlamDunk Basketball Talk a show on House of Talent online TV, a former fellow at Harvest Institute for leadership and now an assessor there, and an alumnus of the YELP class of 2017. A member of the BNI Integrity chapter and African Women Entrepreneur Cooperative. She is driven by passion and curiosity, been taking every opportunity that has been given to her with an ambition of stamping her footprint on the world.

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