Friends are Family

“What is a family?” , our teachers would ask in Primary School. Our answer was always,”a family is the smallest unit of society composed of father, mother and children”.We then would draw up stick figures of Father, Mother and children. Then we were taught of nuclear and extended families. That then was my freedom to naivety,as I grow older, I am beginning to unlearn alot of things like the true definition of family, Family is not blood but those who bleed for you at the time of need

Whereas this may seem like an antithesis to the general definition of a family, some blood relations may not offer the much needed support and help in times of need. In the good book, Jesus redefined who a brother/sister is.”For whosoever shall do the will of God, the same is my brother, sister and mother” Mark 3:34-35 . Recently a colleague Connie Dia asked for my part and it hit me that friends are family. There’s a saying about friends who stick more than brothers/sisters. Today I will zero in on two and explain why friends are family. Lots of folks are amazed at the way I am under the water but continue breathing fine, well , it’s a combination of many factors.A strong support system is what I bank on.Many times language is influenced by societal norms, that is why friends comes after family. It’s only Luganda that puts it abenganda nemikwano literally saying relatives and friends. In runyankole,it is abanyamubuzare nabanyamikago meaning relatives and friends. Whereas that is how society has perceived it, we can demystify the notion that seeks to place friends as being second after kinship.

My story of family begins in Washington DC April 2013, we had a law competition to participate in Washington DC.These brothers would later be influential in my journey with stroke.These two reminded me of who I was and I had to fight on. The last time these two came together to check on me was in April 2019, when I had lost my cousin and caretaker, she woke up normally, made me breakfast, went out to wash and that’s the last time, I saw her alive, the next I saw her was her lifeless body being carried to the bedroom and a police van coming to take her to Mulago, so I have literally seen days, it’s the most high who strengthens me, the cause of death was heart related. Let’s continue with the two comrades in brain. They came on a Saturday and I was listening to the Capital Gang because radio is life for me. There’s a UCC advert of an old man digging who says,”my radio is my best friend”, that is me .

Herman, Mwene, Silver at the spot where Martin Luther King stood to give the speech.

Herman: This was the good guy,he was the Papa of the Law fellowship and a comrade in brains. There is a theory that I have though I am still gathering data to publish it. Brainy People have a healthy respect for each other,it may have assumptions but that is it. The opponents we faced in different universities are still in touch Herman is a fellow bibliophile and knowing me,got me a copy of Charles Onyango Obbo’s,”Uganda’s Poorly Kept Secrets”. Herman told me some time ago that I have,”elephantine memory”and I had to google search it. Much as he has received awards of young Lawyers association,he is humble enough not to employ hard dictum as Mukasa Mbidde, he is a strong believer in the Very Possible Network ( VPN) and you will get him on the Zuckerber platform doing arm chair commentary,he laces his posts with humor and keeps the Psiphon brigade alive. Herman I suppose was the first friend to know about the illness, my cousin works with him and called him. To describe what happened after the call is that he stopped what he was doing and drove to the hospital with Esther, the wife. In 2016, Herman invited me to be part of the entourage for the traditional ceremony and I recall the conversation, I said I would be with him after listening to the Capital Gang,a program I have listened to for twenty years. Herman does arm chair commentary his latest piece is on the Taliban He came to the rehabilitation and wrote in the visitors book,”we have got our behind on you”reminding me of the late Seya.

Herman (l) Mwene (m).

Silver ; This is another comrade in brains, we were a super duo in moots at Law School and we were writers as well, infact I have his legal opinion on the digital migration in Uganda on my blog,he is one of the youngest partners at a Law Firm in Kampala. When Silver was going for a masters at University of Pretoria,he called me to escort him to the airport as he went to South Africa , that is powerful, most people would invite their kin and relatives, in this case however he chose to call a friend, that is deep. Silver is the one who encouraged me to do the things I loved doing in perfect health in order to recover and writing was what I loved and that’s why you are reading this.

The old man with Silver at Entebbe,2015

We should demystify family and friends. I believe that family is not blood but those who bleed for you when need arises and friends have literally bled for me.Herman got in touch with Silver who contacted the Quantum group.

The Quantum group,old man (m) crosslegged

The Quantum group; “Friendship is everything. Friendship is more than talent. It is more than the government. It is almost the equal of family.- Don Corleone” ― Mario Puzo, The Godfather. p41. It’s commonly said that our networks are our net worth, I belong to a social group of friends who started a fundraiser on Facebook and it raised over 14m UGX which covered the hospital bills and rehabilitation.The first meeting was at Forest Mall and a decision to fundraise was reached. About two years ago, I suffered stroke related convulsions that left me unconscious for three days and the hospital bills were covered by friends led by JP What am I getting at? Without Friends, I probably wouldn’t be alive but they have unpacked the heavy financial and emotional burden and my hopes are high for hope is a good thing perhaps the best of things and no good thing dies and I am still keeping on so when I say that friends are family, I know what I am writing about.It takes character to cultivate such friendships so perhaps, I must have done something right in perfect health to deserve the love, empathy and support of friends and this would not have been possible if it were not for the two brothers so friends are family. Munno mu kabi ye munno ddala A friend in need is a friend indeed so value friendships, nurture them and let them thrive because friends are family.

The Quantum group meeting that started a fundraiser.

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