“I tell you don’t worry,” so said Suubi to his wife, Njala who was generally pessimistic about anything she did. “The land we have just bought is good and we couldn’t have struck a better deal.”
Soon after the end of the long war in Luwero which had left many parts once teaming with people inhabited, Suubi learnt of a family that was selling over 35 acres of land there in Lutete. He had just retired after a long career as a public servant. After receiving his gratuity and social security savings he had decided to invest some of it in land, trusting that would not only yield fruits but also appreciate in value. Besides, Suubi had long realized that his ancestral home in Busiro had a lot of interpersonal conflicts, which he wanted to avoid. “Each time I go back to my birth place my family members are quarreling over something,” so often he had lamented to his wife. “They even quarrel about who gets buried where. I wish I could get my own place.”
“When shall we ever leave those people,” agreed his sour wife Njala, who had never warmed up to her in laws. “Besides, the land in Busiro is so dry and infertile.”
So, once the opportunity came, Suubi did not even bother consulting Njala. After his lawyer had searched and found there was no encumbrance upon the land in Lutete he hurried off and talked to the owner, Salongo, a grey haired man whom he found dressed in his kanzu dress. On Salongo discovering that Suubi was from the mpolologoma (lion) clan, which happened to be of his late mother too, he took to an immediate liking to him. “Even if you pay me slowly you are my mother after all,” Salongo said. He signed off the title, and went about to introduce him to his neighbors. “He is now the owner of all that land.” The neighbors who had much respect for Salongo gladly welcomed their new neighbor.
Suubi settled in fast. He arranged to plant a lusuku (plantation) of banana gardens of about 20 acres; a field of pineapples of about 5 acres; coffee trees of about 5 acres and he left 5 acres for his country residence, including burial grounds. “I am now freed from that old dry place in Busiro and their constant quarrels.”
However, when Suubi shared the news with Njala, came rapid fire. Njala was mad that she had not been consulted before the purchase. “That place is so far away,” she decided without first visiting. When she eventually did, almost after a year, she had no kind words for Suubi. “How could you buy such a dry piece of land,” Njala moaned. “I saw that soil and it can’t yield a single crop you are talking about. I looked at those neighbors and they all seemed evil. At least the people in Busiro knew and respected your family. But now you have decided to move among these Lutete strangers. I hear they practice a lot of witchcraft there as well!”
Suubi was disappointed to hear that stinker. But after getting over the fact that Njala had finally found something good about his old family land in Busiro, for he had never heard her say a good thing ever since he took her to where “we come from!”; he defended his purchase. “But can’t you be happy for once!” He knew Njala was always negative, and, perhaps for that, he had a tendency to do certain things without consulting her. “After all if I tell her,” he sometimes mused, “she will just look at the bad side and never the bright side.”
Having exhausted himself in defending the Lutete land, Suubi went ahead and hired a mupakasi ( gardener) to tend after it. The deal was that the mupakasi would first bring home any produce from the land before finding a market for the rest. The initial yields were not that good, which gave Njala an opportunity to vent, “See, I told you that land is no good. We are just wasting our money there.”
But Suubi held on to the land, though each time Njala made a sour remark he grew more discouraged. He was also not happy with the yields, especially from the banana plantation. Sometimes he found himself taking money to the village for the mupakasi, whom he was now maintaining. The mupakasi was aware that Njala despised Lutete as too dry for farming. So, whenever he came up with a poor yield, he would blame it on the poor soil. However, in truth the land was very productive, except he was swindling the owners and selling most of the produce to his gain.
One day Suubi got reports from a concerned neighbor about his duplicity. He decided to drive to Lutete without notice. Arriving before sunrise he found the mupakasi loading a pick up with bananas and pineapples. “So, this guy has been cheating me all this time!” He fired him.
Back home he shared with Njala about this theft. “See, I told you,” she quickly shot back. “Let’s start looking for another piece of land with better soils and neighbors, than there.”
Suubi was ageing and tired of constantly fighting Njala. He agreed she looks up a new piece of land. When news got out that he had lost interest in Lutete it didn’t take long for a buyer to show up. Suubi sold and waited for Njala to find a new piece of land to purchase.
Njala contacted some land brokers who started taking her around the country for land. However, it seemed like she would find an issue with each land they came up. “That one is too far,” she pushed off one. “Too dry!” she scoffed at another. “Who can live among those people,” she dismissed yet another.
Meanwhile Suubi was visibly getting upset as a year rolled without any land of his own, a dream he had long nursed. He started pressing Njala to buy anything. “We shall manage,” he advised. Finally Njala came across 15 acres of land that stretched near a stream of water, covered with a rich vegetation. “This is what I wanted all along,” she declared, urging Suubi to purchase. He discovered that here while it was less than his old land, in Lutete, it was double the price. Nonetheless he bought.
No sooner had Suubi settled here than a new claimant came up with a title for the land. Suubi was shocked and decided to go court, where he spent good money proving he had the right title. But just as he had settled that case, then he found there were some family members claiming the same land on account it was still part of the family estate. Suubi now started battling with this vicious family. It was such a nuisance that on occasion Suubi would drive to the village to find all his crops leveled to the ground because of their animosity.
“I wish we had remained in Lutete,” one day Njala lamented, after receiving news that yet another person had served court papers to Suubi also claiming this land. “We never had these issues in either Lutete nor your birth place in Busiro.”
“Excuse me!” Suubi blew up. “You never had anything positive to say wherever we have been. You only start seeing the positive things after discarding off what we used to enjoy. Maybe it is about time you started being a bit more positive with whatever we have.”
Pessimism is one of that human habit, amply possessed of others, just as some other people have boundless optimism. The pessimist tends to see only the negative side of things; while the optimist searches for the brighter side. If there is a dark cloud, the pessimist will mourn of coming floods with impassable roads. If there is a dark cloud, the optimist will cheer for the coming rains that will produce a great harvest and anticipate the smell of flowers.
There are cases where the pessimists due to their worrisome nature can forestall one from disaster with forewarning. However, left unchecked, the pessimist can lead one astray or even into the very dangerous waters they sought to escape, because they imagine a world without problems, which is yet to exist. A familiar vocabulary of pessimist is, “Look, I know it can’t work!” However, when they are proven wrong, and it so often happens, silence is their answer, or, “ Look, you just wait and see!”
But how would mankind have progressed to this day, if she was only worried over the worst. In the end it is the optimist who can achieve anything worthwhile and enduring, because he does not seek to avoid adversity, but rather embrace challenges with an optimistic and positive spirit.
Next time you encounter a pessimist listing an alphabet of disasters to strike, and why you must not take on a new challenge or give up because of encountering a roadblock, just pause, smile back and say, with a twinkle in your eye, “The sun will shine in the morning!” Then go up.
@ Turning Point is authored by Dr Martin M. Lwanga with the purpose to inspire by reflecting on life through personal experiences and life observations. The first collection will be out in the last quarter of 2021 under the title of “Who is my Friend!” Those interested can book for an early copy on Whatsup # 0772401774 @ 30,000 UGX ONLY!