Coming of Age Chronicles III: Leave the Nest Already.

School was over and customarily, Alex had to find a job and leave home. But while his shrewd classmates couldn’t wait to get out there and start minting money, to him, staying in school was an ideal way to buy time before plunging into the pool of unemployed youths. Had he been so privileged to have to have filthy rich ancestors, he would be coaxing his father for tuition to pursue a master’s degree in Oil and Gas Law or a MBA in the UK. But with the trail of siblings that tailed him and the kraal threatened by depletion, he had to whittle down his fantasies to an on-line scholarship in Human Rights, the kind that are offered to ambitious indigents in developing countries.

“So Alex what’s the plan?” his mother would ask at the dining table, “are you going to keep alternating between TV and “faceboard” as you wait for your internet scholarship? I think it’s high time you started thinking about finding a job.”

“But mummy you can’t find a legal job in Uganda without the Law Development Center transcript”

“Gwe muvubuka” his dad would interject “you left LDC in August saying your results won’t be released until mid next year, it’s four months now and you don’t show any signs of leaving this house. In any case, what are your plans in case you don’t pass? Last time I heard more than three quarters of the students failed that course and your level of devotion is not very promising.”

“Look,” his mom would shield in, “what your father is saying is that you need to show some level of responsibility and start thinking about a life outside this house. It’s not that we’re trying to throw you out of home or anything.”

Obviously, they were trying to nudge him out of the house, and for good reason. Here was a grown-ass man who still responded “wangi mummy” to his mother’s summons. He had spent four months at home doing nothing but watching Vampire Diaries, Pretty little liars and facebooking within the power-cut breaks. He was not only indifferent to the fact that he had no plans of getting a job, but also found no shame in asking his mother for airtime when he needed to pakalast his soon to be ex-girlfriend.

But airtime was the least of his mom’s concerns; while his father was hoping that Alex would soon start helping with his younger sister school fees, his mother’s urgent need was to see him as far away from the village as possible.

A year ago she had hosted a “small” graduation party of strictly family and close friends. It would later turn out that her definition of “close friends” was the whole catholic community, district main hospital staff (where she works as a nurse) and two thirds of the village; a congregation that would go back eh-maama-ring her for adding a lawyer on her queue of two “engineers and a doctor”.

However, while the doctor had long fled the country in pursuit of elusive greener pastures, and the rookie electronics technician was still struggling to bring ends together with the cruel joke he occasionally referred to as a job; the lawyer was becoming a common spectacle on the village and her “close friends” were increasingly becoming vocal with their curiosity.

With her festive season excuse about to expire and her drone excuse of a son seemingly oblivious of her predicament, she had to do whatever it took to send him away before he could worsen the situation by knocking up one of the village damsels who kept frequenting her house for movies.

“Have you considered moving in with your brother?” She once suggested.

“You know daddy sent me away from the shop, what would I do in Kampala?”

“I don’t know, find a job maybe? In any case your father sent you away from that shop because you seemed to be getting comfortable there and showed little enthusiasm for getting your own job. Why don’t you be like your brother?”

“But mummy I keep seeing you “lend” Ely money to pay rent one month after another.”

“If rent is the problem I can lend you too, you need to start thinking of ways of getting your own airtime.” Then she encored with her tired Luganda proverb of a bird that pecks at the chick that refuses to fly away having outgrown the nest. It would take him another month before he landed his first job interview.

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