Newsrooms are like kitchens. The heat comes not from fire but deadlines. And it gets hotter on days when exam results [like today’s Primary Leaving Exams] are released. You have to work extra hard, extra careful and take the paper to bed in one sweet piece.
You don’t want to annoy a child by writing Aggregate 14 instead of 4 as a score. The kid wants to become a pilot for heaven’s sake! Others dream of becoming engineers, doctors or surgeons.
But we enjoy these exam moments too. The smiles from the stars are bright like the future they dream about. We marvel at their dreams – dreams so huge and so innocent we wonder for how long they hold onto them.
Gulu’s best eyes engineering
Jinja’s star wants to treat patients
Kalema wants to fight corruption
And these children know Uganda’s problems by the way, so they won’t stop at saying they want to become doctors. They’ll tell you poor pay is making all doctors go for greener pasture, but they’ll stick around and treat patients, right here at home. How noble!
Then others will tell you how corruption is a bad thing, that’s why they want to become lawyers and fight the vice. It doesn’t matter that we have so many lawyers already.
And of course there are those who want to emulate their parents, so they will become engineers, surgeons, pharmacists, just like their parents.
And they will remind you that success does not come easy, hard work pays, they will say and obstacles shouldn’t stop you either;
Not even malaria could deter Masaka’s best from excelling
Kapelebyong orphan boy beat all odds
Arua’s best did not have money for fees
Gulu’s best was a street child
And they never forget to be grateful.
God never let me down
My parents paid school fees on time
My teachers and classmates encouraged me to work hard
So at the end of the day, you’ll smile. Not that the kitchen gets less hot, but, well, it’s journalism you chose. And after all, the heat in the kitchen is followed by a meal – the results of the work of your hands.
And we won’t mind much because none of these stars want to become journalist s– see, it’s not easy dodging the men in uniform during a riot; and no one enjoys ‘eating’ teargas either. Besides, looking for news makers and sources isn’t easy either – a desk job seems much easier. Besides, you don’t have to put up with the President calling you a rumour monger!
You won’t mind much, after all the stars also don’t want to become politicians, they don’t like businesses either or teaching and joining technical schools – it’s too much work!
But you and I know that tomorrow writes its own stories, dreams its own dreams and life takes its own course. All we do is a little tweaking of what the day offers.