A year back on this day, I boarded a Ntinda-bound taxi, on my own, for the very first time, heading to a destination I only knew by the phone call I was attending to.
Ntinda, a famed hub for pork joints, is a no different rendition of other Kampala suburbs, potholed roads, torn down buildings painted on the corners of each road side often punctuated by a high rise mansion, many of these NGO offices though!
That morning had been a kind of the two different ones I had woken up to, enthusiastic to break the unemployment code amongst my buddies. Only that, the others would turn out to be a mere puff where I had to deal with a lot of patience with my soon-to-be employer.
Writing news can be such a good job, sit behind a computer hit Google, watch the tweets and get it written down, I so thought!
The above thoughts, I surely would love to disassociate myself from today!
So let’s say that the taxi slowly ground to a halt at ‘Super Supermarket’ after I’d parted my wallet of 1,500 shillings and the phone call resumed this time in a more enthusiastic spirit for I was longing to see what a newsroom looked like.
“Turn right at the dusty pathway, then turn left at its extreme end, slope till you see a signpost” simple directions, thanks to Sam, my new boss, my now dust-pilled shoes were directly opposite an army-green gate. I raised my eyes to be sure the signpost I was reading was ‘UGANDA RADIO NETWORK’ lest I fall short of a competent student journalist, as they preferably called me then.
On the gallop of the green gate emerged an ear-to-ear grin of Sam as he grabbed my hand with not even a welcome pleasantry leading me to a computer-filled room with a noticeable man I’d earlier met, Wilson. I was to later learn that he would be my editor alongside Ahmed, who sat directly opposite him with headphones hugged to his head and Machrine, an invisible figure who I only met by the scary e-mails sent whenever I messed up a story.
The newsroom was a parade of computers with books hovering every desk I cast my glance to, not even looking up would save me for there, hung a flurry of awards the newsroom had earlier on got. It didn’t give the feel of a rush as I’d expected but surely behind the empty seats I was seeing, were people rushing in the field to get stories done.
“What are you good at?” asked Wilson.
That’s not the kind of interview I was expecting, I’d prepared myself for questions like who is the M.P of what district, what was the trending topic in the news last week? What is the GDP of Uganda’s economy? How could all those have skipped you to land at that?” my mind trailed in mazes
Later on, I would find out the newsroom tests you every day, every morning your ability to understand situations is put to test.
I have since then come to appreciate news, not as a one-off but a dotted line of documenting history to the record. A perfect experience of what it feels to live and breathe and above all a centre of knowledge!
The newsroom in a year has been a mixture of kicks, teargas, a few detentions, fun times and above all LIFE!
There is no place better than it!
TOAST TO A YEAR IN THE NEWSROOM, TOAST TO LIFE!