Have you ever heard some one figuratively refer to prison as a “University of Understanding”?
To a lay-man, they would think or hypothesise that formal lessons are carried on therein jail which isn’t a wrong belief but it’s limited to a few sophiscated prisons.
The real interpretation though is that when in jail, one undergoes a very important transformation that eventually shapes the post-prison person you become. Whether you are sentensed to death row, life imprisonment or for just a few months, that enviroment impacts on your life drastically to cause a sudden change. That’s why death row criminals are pardoned and a case in point, Major Rwakasisi (UPC) who won a Presidential favour. I’m willing to bet my arm; the Rwakasisi that went in during the Post- Obote era is much more torelant than the one that just got free recently.
The point I’m driving at in all that preamble is that one learns life’s most important lessons in the most trying times but very few of the students of life benefit from the same lessons. Many tend to take them for granted which undermines the very essence of the lesson.
I’ll use my most influential friend (hate to call him that) as the primary example to illustrate this context. When Kenneth and I graduated from High School, we were over joyed and excited that not only had we reached significant stage in career development together, but also maintained and strengthened the nature of our bond from just academic collegue`s to Brotherhood. Kenneth, having attended a series of Secondary mixed schools, had much exposure, vulnelability to cope with peer vices which shaped him differently as opposed to myself that went to Missionary and Catholic Church founded Schools.
From his learning, Kenneth learnt to engage socially with the opposite sex more freely than I did, he was much popular and friendlier than I was that time (2009). In this engagement, Ken copped with smoking, a vice I found disturbing to torelate though I couldn’t show it to him directly but sooner or later I couldn’t help it. I officially pronounced myself as an anti-smoking individual pointing out it’s dangers both actively to him which he had no problems with and primarily passively to me and he seemed to listen.
I can assure you that the last time I had seen Kenneth let smoke dissolve from his hind head was on 18th February, 2011; the day we voted for the President and Parliamentarians at Nkokonjeru P/S polling station. Though he wasn’t a registered voter, Kenneth was popular amongst his co-peers that he just couldn’t miss checking them out. After that day, he quit. He told me, “Alex, to hell with this thing” and his word is his bond. He kept his word for 2 years and one month now i.e almost 700 days of clean lungs and a long life.
Results from our UACE Exams were released subsequently to the polls and Kenneth who had pursued sciences had passed and so did myself a liberal political marxist. We then embarked on a much more accute role of tertially learning that Kenneth unfortunately due to family constraints didn’t finally get there. This changed the brother’s life and from that day, he will never be the same again. The narration seems easy when you read it but I the writer, whenever I remember those times, tears flow out of my eyes without me even noticing.
How hurting it is for one to work that hard for 10 years and then lose the one thing that you were chasing 3 years to the finish line. Kenneth is strong, he’s a warrior, a fighter, a leader, a mentor than even when he was terribly knocked off his feet, he realised that losing a battle isn’t neccesarily losing the war, he got back up and found a divergent alternative of approaching life not the scholarstic one and thankfully, he still has the ultimate goal for life that we set moons ago. It’s been 3 years since the trauma was exerted unto him but he has never deviated, infact, he suprises us; why we are wasting millions in formal education yet there’s a much more hands on when dealing with real life? He continues to challenge us to look at the bright side of life.
I meant to write this piece for an hour but because I can’t exhaust the lessons I learnt and continue to learn from Kenneth’s way of life, I have already gone minutes passed just because I keep on adding more that the mind releases to make a complete description of one self-estemeed fellow. How I would admire to have a world of just Kenneth’s; determined, self-motivated chaps that never lose grip! The world, not Utopian though, is a real world.
I’m willing to forgive his errors, he’s human in making so it’s part of our daily responsibility to err. His downside is weak, he’s a control freak, his sex life isn’t the most cleanshit that in a period of just 3 years, he’s had about 6 spouses and he continues to do that, it’s apart of him.
Kenneth wishes a lot which makes me feel guilty in most cases, I feel like I’m not much to help out esp ” I wish I went to University with you,”