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Geoffrey T. Muhoozi is a Ugandan trained Public Relations Practitioner and Journalist. He Studied at Makerere University Kampala and read Mass Communication with a bias in Public Relations. In between the course, he studied the Art of Public Speaking. He joined Uganda’s Leading Daily, The New Vision during his second year and practiced journalism till he left for The United Kingdom.In the UK, he persued an NCC International Diploma in Computing at London College of Business Studies and Computing. He went on to do a Masters Degree in Business Administration [MBA]specialsing in Marketing. In spite of being in The United Kingdom, he still contributes for The New Vision and The Sunday Vision newspapers when time allows.

Friday, September 10, 2004

By Geoffrey Muhoozi in London

I once heard a saying that for everything you do, do in haste or better translated in Luganda as, buli kyokola, kola ngoyanguwa. Well, the saying is true to nkuba kyeyos and not adhering to it is the start of a long day of running after buses. Leave alone back home in Uganda where you do everything at your own pace and can catch a taxi every other time if one has just left. Not here in England or The UK as the British would like it called.

However obese or lazy you are you will have to learn running after buses and eating like the food is not yours or you’ve been starved for so long. A typical bad day begins with a bus chase in order to try and not miss it since it operates on a schedule and not like the matatus at home. It’s a Monday morning and as you wake up, you realise you overslept by about 10 minutes and may miss the 5.45am bus which could get you to the next stop where you are going to catch the 6.00am bus to Croydon bus station for the 6.30am bus which will drop you off at the Purley Way for your 7am to 4pm work shift.

Trouble has now begun! Since you have missed your first bus, you are going to miss all of them or you have to run for most of your journey chasing them. The bad news is seeing it just a few meters away from approaching the stop you are supposed to get on at and since there are traffic lights that may slim your chances of catching it, you ‘think’ fast and decide to get off the bus and run before it leaves. As you get there it takes of and you wave the driver but he ignores you and moves on. You have to wait for 15-30 minutes for the next one meaning you will be 15 or 30 minutes late for your shift.

My entire life, I remember only running or jogging as part of my P.E classes in the nursery school and the lower primary school but now I am regretting why I always laughed at people I always saw jogging whom I thought lacked what to do. Many nkuba kyeyos and I now have to learn it the hard way, on the streets of London. Good thing no one laughs at you as you chase the bus because almost every public means user does it and it is not funny at all.

The bus chasing besides, and having eventually gotten to work late and lost a 30 minutes pay yet you are only 15 minutes late, you are yet to accomplish a certain assignment which will entitle you to a certain wage and once accomplished on time do some overtime to earn more.

Break time is just a mere 30 minutes but in two 15 minutes instalments. Imagine running to a fast food joint at lunch time queuing up to get served and washing the Fish and Chips down your throat in just 15 minutes. That is record breaking, isn’t it? Usually the solutions to breaking this 15 minutes wash down record is to go back to work eating along the streets or hold a burger in one hand and a can of Pepsi in the other and walk gently on the street or get onto a bus chewing away your burger. This earned us a good beating at home

Mama always beat me saying eating on the move or along the road home was bad manners but I would bet she would do exactly the same thing. Time is money but the problem here is that once you are used to this thing of eating on the move or eating in record time is that you actually still do it at home even if there is no need to hurry and at times it can be humiliating because people may think you are glutton.

Talk about walking along the street even in your free time or from a bus stop to a train station, its like someone is after you. Reason: You have become accustomed to the fact that time is money and buli kyokola okikola oyanguwa or else you may be late and miss out on a lifetime opportunity just by seconds. This has many lessons to teach the Ugandans who even have what they call ‘Ugandan time’, where you set an appointment for 11.30am and one turns up an hour later giving silly excuses like ‘I thought you meant African time, which is an hour later than the said time.’ What a silly way to reason!

Here [the UK] 10.00am is that and nothing later than that and you can not be attended to before that scheduled time. That is why many Ugandans miss the buses and end up running the whole day because they have that stupid notion of Ugandan time yet for a bus 5.45am is that or earlier by a minute or two and its you to wait for it not the bus waiting for you like the taxi men do in Uganda to the extent of even driving back to ask a 10 year old going to fetch water, and wearing slippers if he is going.

So if any of you ardent readers is thinking of getting that most sought for item or that print in your passport that will allow you get here for some quick buck, learn time management and in case it is too late for you to take the lessons in time management, do some jogging to acquaint yourself with the skills because without time management you may always have to jog to work in a bid to chase the missed bus and not get to work late and always lose 30 minutes pay. But it isn’t good either to be branded a serial late comer or a poor time manager.