How to eat yams and other dingy lectures


JOLIE INTERVENTION: UNHCR Special Envoy, Angelina Jolie testifying before the UN about the plight of women in war zones. Photo: Getty Images

I grew up in a farming community. My first money making venture as a child was farming. I was still a child when I started hearing farmers complaining about single season seeds. No one understood the depth of this problem but all that was marketed before them were improved seeds.

My grandmother, in the same spirit and side eye treatment of new religions rejected these ‘improved’ seeds outrightly because she couldn’t find defects with the seeds she had. During the seasons people replanted ‘improved’ seeds only for the seeds not to sprout, she made good money. The crisis continued and slowly the ‘original’ seeds became gold.

Around this time I moved to the city to live with my mother and lost touch with that narrative. Then I moved to the United States.

In America, before I could recover properly from the fact that they do not sell passion juice in this country, I started seeing people who were fat. I knew it is impolite to stare, still it was hard not to steal a sweeping glance.

I remained puzzled. So one day, after apologizing and stating categorically that it is wrong to stare,  quietly I asked my host––why? Her answer was simple. ‘Burgers and all kinds of unhealthy food.’

I swore off Burgers, but did not understand the last bit completely. My naive understanding of unhealthy food was food gone bad.

Luckily enough my host introduced me to a grocery store that sold organic food. Organic expensive food. Organic, expensive, healthy, but little food.

In my second year at the University, I was tipped off about a grocery store that sold more for less. I got excited of course. At the organic grocery store for $2 dollars, one only gets a chicken thigh and a drumstick of a chicken. Why? These chickens are reared in a natural habitat, fed on organic corn and the chickens wantonly, feed themselves insects.

At the new store for less than $2, I could walk out with a cow and a calf suckling at its udders. You don’t want to know what these cows are fed on. When you see the size of these cows on youtube, you can’t help but wonder––are they crossbred with elephants? Cows with drone-like hips and twerking buttocks.

One year of buying more for less saw my butt-cheeks get rounder. I had no idea that was happening until I woke up and I failed to fit into a pair of trousers. When recycling that pair failed I picked another with no success. I was not excited about a rounder behind completely.

In addition, the trouble with the cheap food I was eating is that I was becoming it. Seemed like the chemicals/organisms in the drumsticks were taking on a new life of their own in my body. My thighs mutating into the shape of drumsticks. I swear there was a noticeable hump. A tad worse than a beer pot belly.

Then in the hot and humid 2013 summer, there was a discomforting feeling of my thighs rubbing against each other as I walked. So discomforting that in a way I was spreading out on the sidewalk to escape this feeling.

Eventually, I discovered all the items I was supposed not to pick off shelves in grocery stores. In quick succession I had to quit sugar. I am aware of the dilemma of having limited finances when it comes to buying healthy food, hard choices are constantly made.

Still, is it entirely poverty that is to blame for the presence of this poison? I don’t think so. What biochemically manufactured foods and whatnot do to people is criminal. The facts are evident.

In Uganda today, parliament is debating Genetically Modified Organisms otherwise known as Monsanto, introduced to Uganda as a lipsticked and double suited ‘Biotechnology Bill.’ Proponents of this bill argue that their intention is to alleviate poverty and aiding food safety.

Even if they had a valid point, is it yesterday that we learnt how to eat and grow yams that a crash course in yam farming becomes pertinent?

How do you mention food safety in the same sentence with things that cannot be recycled? From my nine year old experience, GMOs are the food equivalent of used condoms.

In an opinion piece that appeared in the Daily Monitor in May 2015 Ms. Barbara Karugonjo, a researcher detailed factors that proponents of GMOs need to consider in their push for GMOs. She quotes rules of procedure from the Cartagena Protocol. The mention of the Cartagena Protocol is what piqued my interest even confusion.

Earlier this year, Oxfam International revealed that ‘in 2016 the richest 1% will be richer than the 99% poor population.’ As damning as such findings are, I wondered what one can do to stop unfair distribution of resources. What does Oxfam expect who to do? Can the rich be asked to slow down on their acquisition of land worldwide at the expense of the poor? I do not know.

Considering that report, let me point out a fitting adversity going on in Northern Uganda. This is a region that is yet to recover fully from the effects of a two decade war. The guns stop blazing. People leave camps only to walk into gun trotting hands of land grabbers and ‘foreign’ investors aided by the government.

The victims’ only weapon against land grabbing is stripping naked. Tomorrow, after these people have been forced into surviving in wretchedness, United Nations and every Goodwill ambassador and their chihuahua will be flown into Uganda to assess the situation. Empathize. Report their findings to United Nations councils and all that. That is the drill.

I believe International Policy makers, Whistleblowers, Development Agencies, Human Rights agencies, America are aware of illicit dealings between the rich and their mercenary like–– puppet like friends in developing countries. If they can wiretap Angela Merkel. They know.

So why can’t they stop evil movements like Monsanto using International Protocols and whatnot? What is the point in the White House, Canada fighting for the rights of Uganda’s homosexuals  when they are okay with homosexuals eating poison like any other Ugandan? Is a slow death better than a quick firing squad or death at the hands of baying mobs?

How come there are never close call interventions? All we get are pretentious Band-Aid responses and Angelina Jolie induced packaged sympathy delivered to the UN.

The latter especially comes at a cost. Enormous cost for you don’t fly Ms. Jolie to Syria in a to whom it may concern fashion, I trust.

So what prevents them from preventing the tragedies they can prevent? Not the lack of money, surely. Sovereign boundaries? How about interdicting these businesses? They sure can put embargoes on countries like Zimbabwe, so why not outlaw Monsanto and sweat-shops and greedy corporations?

The farmer in me thinks we are caught up in this circle because we are ruled in a fashion of gentlemen’s strip clubs. Whatever that means.

Uganda on the other hand is known for decrying corrupting Western values, yet here we are talking about food; not an erectile dysfunction crisis that has a man asking his wife; ‘honey if we opt for Fifty Shades of Grey, do you think I can skip viagra’––but we are discussing ‘alternative’ food. Food is supposed to be food, not a cocktail of chemicals and organisms