Halfway There Blog 52 week challenge

Last Played: A Thousand Years – Christina Perry

Last Watched: One of Patricia Bright’s new videos

Last Read: BantuFam – On My Way Home

Disclaimer: This usually ends up being a long, easy read.

Happy 2018!

I decided to put this up today because, not only am I going to start writing on this blog again, but it’s going to become a kinda amalgamation of my succinct, well-writ (hopefully) thoughts on my many constantly varying interests. I just want to write to publish again, no matter what’s going on with the rest of my life or whatever.

So, I’ll start with one of the things I want to start the year with. I want to get better with my personal finance management. Particularly, saving money outside of my expense account. I used to be really good at this in boarding school, you’d think I’d get better as I got older. Alas.

In 2017, I started to really embrace living minimally in terms of closet and possessions. I guess I’m better than most people since I moved from being in boarding for more than half the year to studying abroad where you can’t really accumulate much outside what fits in your suitcases to pack. But I pared it down even more. Got rid of a LOT of clothes, and things. Especially things I hadn’t found a use for in a year or even longer that I held on to for (I hope) memories’ sake. I don’t have space for memories’ sake in my bags atm. If it’s not on my Google Drive…well. 🤷🏾‍♀️ So, when I cleared out the closet, I made a Google Sheet Closet tracker for all my clothing. I’m only keeping things I can remember owning. End of.

Ok, forget the detour above. Back to finances.

This year, I’m participating in one of those weekly challenge things. I phrased it like that because that’s what I used to call it too when I first saw it on my TL a long while back. But after following and RTing and admiring from afar all the “testimonies” on Kellie’s TL and blog, I’m jumping right in with a few people in my crew. It’s the 52-week money challenge.

Yep. 52 weeks means all year long challenge. The 52 Week Money Challenge involves saving up a cumulative amount every week of the year starting from the first week of January. It could be anything from 500/= to 5000/= or 10k. Whatever you fancy, it’s your money after all. What matters is being consistent all year round for your big reward at the end.

I made a template for it that I’ll share with you here that can help you see how much you could make at the end of the year if you started putting money away from the 1st week.

I will be doing the 1000/= challenge because, well I live on a student budget and studying abroad means most of my money isn’t on my Ugandan account most of the time. But I want to save in UGX for this particular round as it will make it harder for me to access the account I will be depositing in while away in China. If the first half of the year goes as planned, I hope to start a parallel weekly saving stream on one of my Chinese bank accounts as well later in the year to bolster these savings (and also because my Chinese banks do not have crazy bank charges like my Ugandan ones).

With the 1000/= challenge, I will have saved 1,387,000 ugx at the end of 2018. All from little money I’ll  have put away without causing a dent in my lifestyle. Money I would have spent on God knows what rubbish, fr.

It’s never too late, just start today.

Pro Tip (from Rookie Manager, I think), if you have more than the week’s amount don’t feel shy about putting it all away then when you can. For example, if I have 30k today that I could save, I’d save it today and I can tick the box for week 30 as accomplished. Or, (yes, issa flexible ting), I can save the 30k today and have 29,000/= more as my week 1 contribution and tick it as just week 1 completed. In the end, I’ll have not only gotten the 1,387,000/= that was my goal, but also all the extras from the weeks I was having a good one! 😉

I also figured this would only work if I had some accountability partners in place to remind me, and to remind. So I’ve got a cousin as my main accountability partner. We both have a tough first half of 2018 ahead and this will help us deal and keep our planned saving in check. I hope we do as well as we think we are going to.

If anyone reading this wants to join, let me know: in the comments, my DM @missnantongo or my email and we can definitely get into this together.

I plan to post updates on this blog about my progress every month, so please do check back to see how it’s going and join in.

It’s never too late, just start today.

Again, here’s the link to the template you can download and use. Also, feel free to save this checklist to help you each week.

Halfway There Blog 52 week challenge tracker

There’s been a time when your phone beeped and you hoped it was a Mobile Money alert or a cute Good morning! text from the crush only to find a wedding meeting reminder. Sigh.

A series of angrily murmured responses always follows:

“Broke men shouldn’t be proposing.”

 “Why want to hold a wedding bigger than Beyoncé’s yet your husband-to-be isn’t Jay-Z?”

“I can only contribute if I’m entitled to join in the honeymoon!”


Yes, that wedding meeting message is nowadays dreaded even more than the landlord’s reminders. Especially when you get to a certain age. So what can one do for this situation where money still can’t be downloaded and the wedding budget won’t fund itself? Couples should let their creativity run a little wilder and away from the should-be-retired wedding meeting routine.


Here are four ideas to try:


  1. Bonfire Party.

How about converting the wedding meeting launch to a cozy event with a fire pit, barbecue, buffet and drinks station in your backyard? Throw in a few dance contests, auctions, tug-of-war and heave ho! Your guests will make merry as they raise money for your big day. Remember, a great DJ will keep guests on their feet till the wee hours.


  1. Talent Show.

If you are looking to engage more of your friends as your guests, this could be your winning idea. Round up a number of people who will perform and make a cool short video inviting people for the mini show or concert. You can charge an entry fee or place a donation bowl at the entrance. Friends with a celebrity artist ready to perform? That’s a plus!


  1. Football Night.

Let the men chip in. Let the “boys be boys”. Let the guys enjoy football season. Let the grooms’ entourage gather friends at their fave sports bar for a fun evening. The rules could be; fans of the losing team contribute more than the winners. Or for every goal scored, money is collected from everyone. Their evening, their rules.


  1. Grocery delivery.

Be sure to have your organisational skills put to test with this idea. It’s the only fundraiser on this list where people’s contributions are collected at their residences or offices. It is pre-order based and involves volunteers, affordable wholesalers, a set specific date for delivery e.g. every Tuesday evening or Saturday morning, a minimum delivery charge and reliable payment system. You will definitely do some research to pull this off. It’s worth it. Think of it as offering a service to your friends to make that extra wedding buck!


Happy Fundraising!

she is your girl

but sometimes you wonder

you think, “Do I really know her?”

the movies tell you that your girl

will do this, that and that

but your girl doesn’t

she’s not the girl in the Cosmo mag

nor the type that your boys last dated

your girl is your girl

the one you choose each morning you rise

your girl is not an open book

she’s your favourite arcade game

you’ve never reached the highest level

probably never will

but you’ll always keep trying


it depends on the day

but most times, you still want to play

your girl is that epic adventure

your odyssey

that you probably never want to end

 and how could it

when everyday there’s something

something new she’s showing

telling and saying

she’s that familiar unknown

it’s why she is

your girl

like the sea meets the green

and leaves a splurge

my body shimmies

how can I yield

to man’s demands

when mine titillating self

is the most unique thing

I have ever seen

I didn’t get on the podcast train as early as some people did. I stumbled upon my first when I was looking for audiobooks and audio discussions to listen to during commutes or when I’m too tired to watch anything on a screen. I got so into Startup that I decided podcasts were a thing I needed in my life. They are very convenient for me so I listen to ALT’s Vogue podcast, the regular IMF and China-Africa Project ones as well as my biggest interest – always trying out black-hosted or African-based podcasts. A bunch of entertaining ones have cropped out of Uganda these past few months so I thought it was time to have them listed somewhere for easy finding. PS: This is not a review in any way of these podcasts. That will be for way later on. For now, it’s only a #DidYouKnow post. If you’ve been listening to any others that aren’t listed below, please feel free to comment with the link and I’ll include it. Also, let me know, what are your favourites? What would you like a podcast on?

Happy listening!



Conversations With Kylie

This is a lifestyle podcast hosted by Kylie Namugga where she discusses a wide range of topics of interest to pretty much everyone. Seriously. Kylie (her voice too) appeals to both sexes, young and middle-aged alike. She’s usually joined by a couple of her friends, so much so that sometimes you feel like there’s group inside jokes you’re getting initiated to as you listen in. But it’s alright cause the stuff that comes up during these episodes is what makes it really cool. It’s like tapping the conversation of the cool inner circle and finding out that sometimes, you don’t have to be of the same opinion to be friends.


The Opinionated Stooges With A Playlist

First of all, I love the name and the time that was taken into designing the graphics for this podcast. The stooges are 3 guys in uni (as of August 2016) with an opinion on a lot of things but mostly film, TV and music. The podcast is hosted by Kevin Abuka, Wadda Moses and Odong Samuel, with regular visitors to switch things up. I’d recommend this for anyone heavily invested in appreciating music and television, you’ll definitely learn something new each episode and maybe even discover kindred spirits. Also did I mention, they are funny as hell?


Touch The Dial

I’m not sure how to explain Touch The Dial just yet. I think Duncan Ngabirano (aka ThaDropout) is still figuring that out still. Or maybe not. I first discovered this channel when ThaDropout was hosting an audio series with Caroline Ampaire called Break The Ice. I liked listening but updates weren’t regular. Right now, TTD is the home for the all-new (and refreshingly short) music show: SessionOne. It’s everything you want it to be with guest musicians and good Ugandan music conversation. Hoping it keeps true to its word – “Before The Mainstream. Beyond The Mainstream.



Daily Monitor

No need for an introduction. It’s the Daily Monitor. The podcasts cover everything from Parliamentary week round-ups, one-minute news-bites to full reporting and audio interviews.


Africa Centre For Media Excellence

ACME is a Kampala-based independent organisation that aims to make the media a more effective platform for the provision of information on public affairs. The podcasts are in the form of news, programs and documentaries from participants in ACME‘s journalism training seminars and workshops.



Random Chaps

Forever funny guy Ernest Bazanye once had a really great podcast with Rudende Moses aka Rudy of XFM. The episodes were the ultimate joke destination to hear about current affairs and anything really with a twist. If you ever read this, Baz & Rudy, PLLLLEEAAASSSSSEEEEE do come back to the scene. The sound and mixing was clean, and I’m sure it’s not just me that still plays some of these even in 2016. The episodes are short, concise and again, hilarious! Check it out!

there you have it, a long night of the full moon

s’high upon our beloved human skies

luna impassioned sings my hometown croon

deny your exploits, play to that guise

live with the illusion that it’s not you

anything, but your actions, control the tide

there’s the horoscope; stargazing, it’s true

celestials on planets taking us for a ride

HiiiPoWer, some may call it, SuperPower

and yet I wonder, yonder place I’m not at yet

do the suprêmes reversely blame us that cower

before them in bid of an absolvent pet?


volte-face by missnantongo

went to bed

in a black & white TV box

woke up today

to a world in technicolor

Did you get the memo?

cause i did not

but my stomach’s aflutter

at the possibilities


I only just turned around

except there’s the usual


yet would it be better

if I had in fact

gotten the memo

would it?


hypoxia by missnantongo

drowned in a sea of emotions

incapable of escaping situation

i can’t breathe

i don’t know how to

there’s too much

down here of everything

i don’t know

how to survive


¿Qué Pasa? is a question in Spanish, a kinda greeting to say What’s Up? But, it’s also a new-ish restaurant in Kampala (at least according Kampala Restaurant Awards). I’ve been there twice and I’ve had such vastly different experiences each time that I told my friend Leticia I’d never go back. But maybe I was overreacting and will go back, they do say Three’s The Charm after all.

See Que Pasa is a Mexican Restaurant, the only one of its kind in Kampala that I knew of during my summer this year (now after some research and yada-yada, I know that The Little Donkey and Lotus Mexican Cantina also exist). I only even found it because as I’ve said lots of times before, I am in Acacia area A helluva LOT. We saw it across the road, and I said we need to try it because I didn’t know Kampala had Mexican places. That alone should tell you exactly how much of a failed foodie I am! Haha.

We get into the restaurant and I’m delighted by how much work was put into getting the whole Mexican theme going. It reminded me of this little place in Jing’An, Shanghai. The decor’s not really the same, but it inspired hope in me I guess. The waiter that seats us is friendly and welcoming. I encourage my friend to try out a Mexican dish, but they’re reluctant and would rather stick to a “safe” choice. I don’t know what about fish at a restaurant sounds safe but the meal did turn out great, with popping avocado, and fries on the side. I chose the chicken fajitas and I thought that was the safe choice! If only…



Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t terrible. It’s just that for a Mexican place, the meal was underwhelming. I had figured they couldn’t get it wrong with basic tortillas and a kinda stir-fry. But that tortilla was so dry it almost bordered on Indian chapati (Indian chapati is harder and drier than the East African version which is more like paratha). I ate most of it, and the waiter only noticed that I din’t touch the cheese. I might or might not have made a comment on the texture of the tortillas. Not sure.

What I do remember is asking to see the drinks menu, and exclaiming rather loudly that “What good is a Mexican restaurant without sangria?” Yep, there wasn’t any sangria on their menu, the waiter didn’t even know what it was. I let it pass. (And yes, I know Sangria is Spanish…buttttt!)



What I didn’t let pass though was my shock at the quality of the meal the next time I showed up with another friend. It was dinner this time. The place was close to empty, as seemed to be the norm. Yet, our waiter didn’t seem to be hell-bent on being at our beck and call. In fact, she got off work (presumably her shift was done) halfway through our meal. I didn’t know that was a thing. We’d ordered the Fillet of Fish again (is fish really a safe dish, though?) and passed on the Mexican in favour of Southern Fried Chicken. And a glass of house red. Why is there still no sangria?!

Well, the chicken was passable, the fries were the best part of the dish. The fish (and accompaniments) looked nothing like the one my other friend had gotten during the lunch. I was confused…did the menu have more than one fish dish? It looked different, and it tasted spoilt when I took a bite. The lemon wedge didn’t help. The meal was entirely inedible!

With my recent tooth extraction, it was too difficult for me to eat crunchy, breaded fried chicken. So I look around for our waitress to send back the fish, and she’s gone! Another one approaches, and lets us know she’ll help instead. I point to the plate and ask why they gave us old, or even spoilt fish. She carries the plate away to the kitchen, and returns FIVE minutes later to let us know that it isn’t in fact spoilt. Sure! In a sympathising tone, she tells me that the fish only tastes strange to me because it isn’t the Tilapia I’m used to. See, they use Nile Perch and a selection of seasonings that I’m not used to because it’s a foreign dish. Yes, they’ve had customers complain about it, but that’s only because it’s different. Except, I have eaten Nile Perch before, and I’m not too sure that was the problem. Also, I have eaten Mexican food an uncountable number of times. The main reason I didn’t even order a typical Mexican dish that night was because the first one wasn’t good enough! So what exactly was she saying? Was spoilt fish a Mexican delicacy they enjoyed at Que Pasa that I was new to?

That night, I got no replacement for the plate she took to the kitchen and never brought back, we got no apology for the taste of the meal nor was there any effort taken to try to make our meal worth it after the mishap. Heck, even our original waitress left early! So you can see where my reluctance to step foot again in Que Pasa stems from. I won’t be going back. Not for a while anyway.

And yet, I still have hope for it. It’s a quaint idea and it’s in the perfect location. But unless they are going to put more effort in their main meals, I’d say they’d do much better being a drinks bar. With tapas to eat and a wider range of drinks i.e please get sangria, pisco and more South American drinks on that menu! Maybe then, I’ll pass by for drinks one day in like 2 years.


menu_1 menu_2 drinks_2 drinks_1


21 Cooper Road Kisementi

+256 783 874469


I’d like to start this off with a couple of disclaimers and caveats about how one should read my post. But maybe whoever is reading this should read it with their eyes, not mine. Maybe if you feel strongly about the matter you’ll respond with an opinion of your own. Maybe not. For now, let’s keep it to the basic: this is my opinion.

It’s been two days since I woke up to the news of the shootings in Paris. My first thought was that this is happening way too often. Why all the recent attacks on the French capital? Then I thought of my classmates who are studying abroad in Paris this semester. (They all checked in as safe, thanks to Facebook). And alas back to Twitter I was, skimming through tweets and retweets to learn as much as I could about what happened. There was a lot. One of the coordinated shootings occurred at the Bataclan. U2 cancelled their Parisian gig in respect. Same with Steven Spielberg and Natalie Portman’s film premieres. But maybe that isn’t nearly as important as the fact that the rest of the world joined France in mourning and condemning the tragedy. Most major city monuments had their colours turned to the French blue-white-red in a show of solidarity. Many of us took to twitter to #PrayForParis.

But interlaced with the images and tweets and prayers flooding my TL, were a number of defiant questions. Why pray for Paris when we’re not praying for Burundi, for Lebanon, for Syria, for my country Uganda? Why pray for Paris when we’re not tweeting about the #BlackLivesMatter, #FeesMustFall campaigns? Why pray for Paris when we can’t even pray for ourselves?

I’ll admit, I was a bit miffed with the fact that these were appearing way too often amidst the tweets on the Parisian tragedy. I felt like they were taking away from the conversation. But, it was early Saturday morning. I didn’t want to engage. I didn’t want to sound angry. In short, I knew where these type of conversations always ended on Twitter. And yet, it’s a thing. Each time something tragic happens elsewhere in the “western world”, a whole bunch of people are going to say we shouldn’t care. That’s their problem because they don’t care about our problems,

But see, why shouldn’t I care? When a shooting goes down in a city like Paris, it’s not a government facility that’s razed down. It’s not French military equipment that was destroyed. Heck, it wasn’t even Euros that were burnt up in their National Treasury. (Money, of course can be re-minted, but that’s not the point.) No, when a shooting like the one we woke up to happens; it is 129 people killed, more than 300 injured and countless many other families destroyed. People who just so happen to have their lives happening in Paris, and were in these places at this exact time. Sure, some might have been long overdue for some retribution, maybe a certain loss will spur a government official into some “good” action but majority of the dead will be everyday people struggling just as I am. My close friend at uni has more than 5 of her family members living or studying in France – that thing most of us Africans do where we go to our former colonialists’ countries because they have the best universities. Two years ago, my older sister would have been one of those. The everyday people who make up contemporary Paris are not hell-bent aloof, Europeans that look down at foreigners. Yes, as the stereotype suggest, those exist. But Paris, as any other metropolitan city, is made up of human beings. Natives with old connections, recent immigrants,  black, white or brown, Moslem, Catholic or Jewish. These are the people who are hurting. Of course I’ll mourn right along with them, because at that moment in time, it’s not the “establishment” that is hurt the most. It’s a person, breathing just like you and me.

But still, I understand the anger. Let’s bring this back home. Why is no one else talking about Burundi, you ask? Or of the brutality and impunity in Uganda? My instinctive reply seems to be that the western world will care about the western world. They’ll cover Parisian news because their audience will care more about the going-ons in Paris. We can’t force it. Paris, France and the European Union all have way more active Twitter users than Uganda has, than Burundi. While we can get by-the-second coverage of events in Europe, and the U.S. through social media, we can’t expect the same for our East African countries. Even if data wasn’t so expensive, we just don’t have the numbers nor the scale. And yet, maybe that shouldn’t matter if you care.

If you’re the average Twitter user (insert other social media outlets here), you’ll learn of a tragedy through your feed. You’ll repost it, or even make your own post acknowledging the fact that you know. If you’re religious, you’ll send up a short prayer to God as you scroll on to other things. While you’ll think about the issue now and then, you won’t do much beyond that, and tomorrow they’ll be something new to retweet or “engage” with.

If maybe, you’re the affronted kind that doesn’t really want to be praying for other humans that have lost their lives when your neighbours are suffering too, but are not yet xenophobic, I am appealing to you. Lose not the empathy you hold towards people. Tragedy is tragedy is tragedy IS TRAGEDY. No need being selective about who we feel sorry for, whose pain we feel. As someone said, we don’t have to have fought for #BlackLivesMatter to #PrayForParis, I don’t have to have been an AIDS activist to legitimate my #CancerUg tweets. What matters is I care. I have a sense of empathy. I want to take part in the conversation, here and now.

Now here’s my disclaimer: this was exactly 1000 words, asante bwana .