This is why you’ll find me these ends

A few years ago, an American friend invited a mixed crowd of Ugandans and Europeans to what she called ‘A whisky tasting’.

There were several arrays of bottles on the table which we were made to understand were special brands on their own. She then took us through the history of each bottle, the scent of the whisky, the aromas of each precious drop of liquid. Eventually a Ugandan man interrupted her.

“Listen”, he said. “This is what I see”. He begun to point at each bottle.

“That’s alcohol. That’s alcohol. That there is also alcohol. Can we now start drinking this alcohol!”

We laughed and the party begun. But there’s a lesson there. Ugandans love to drink but the appreciation of what they drink is somewhat lacking. Which is why – whether you like to hear the truth or not – we have an alcohol problem. We drink to get drunk.

I have categorised Ugandans into three drinking categories. The Responsible drinkers, the Irresponsible drinkers and the outright alcoholics.

Responsible drinkers 

These tend to have the discipline of the Queen of England. They have a brand of alcohol they like-gin and tonic, a particular beer or wine, and they stick to it. They also tend to stick to it responsibly without the sole intent of being unable to get back on their feet after a few minutes.

Irresponsible drinkers

I’m an irresponsible drinker, and that’s the truth. Whatever you put in front of me is what I’ll consume as long as it has ethanol. The irresponsible drinker is the guest who a concerned host tells, “I believe you drink wine. I’m so sorry but we only have poison”.

Bring it.

Outright alcoholics

You know yourselves and you should seek help. What makes Uganda a difficult country for the outright alcoholic is that all socialising revolves around alcohol. We don’t have picnic grounds to nibble on grapes or Blankets and Tea concerts.

Wanna become a responsible drinker socially?

Good luck with that. Uganda does not encourage that type of social progress. The alternatives for non-alcoholic drinks are the even more poisonous sodas, ridiculously expensive juices and mock-tails priced for one to need a savings account. The healthy stuff doesn’t come cheap. I am sick and tired of pots of tea (plain damn water mind you) costing 9,000 shillings at a cup and a half. In one special restaurant, a soda cost 4,000 shillings while the beer was 5,000.

The math, guys, the math.


This is why you’ll find me these ends 


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