Let’s throw fistfuls of color at each other.

When I first learnt about the color fest, I was vacant eyed and slack jawed from hunger. All I could think about was the sandwich that one of Endiro’s waiters was supposed to be packing for me. In fact, I only picked up a flyer to fan dry the sweat that had dappled my forehead, a sign that my hunger was about to turn me into a whining monstrosity. Munange that’s what extreme hunger does to me. I’m generally very nice.

Anyway as I was fanning, I internalized some of the information, which was that there would be a color fest on the 6th of July and it would cost adults 15 bob to get in. I was like no way, what for?

Probably, if I had known that this money was to go towards making the lives of our prisoners less animal-like, I would have thought about it.

If it hadn’t been for Darlyne, a lover of life and fun activities, I would have spent Saturday at work or something. But she posted a call for attendees and considering what I had seen on the internet about color fests, and also that I had just been paid, I was like why not?

painted

We were to gather at Kati Kati, at 9am sharp. This didn’t happen and it was about 10 that the entire group set off. We were to walk a total of 3 Km through Kololo and round back to Kati Kati. Now I am a lover of fitness and all that jazz, but I resent exercise that comes out of nowhere. I have to prepare mentally for it, you know?

If it hadn’t been for the hundreds of children in brilliant blue uniforms around me, also attendants of this fest, I would have complained the entire time. They kept me entertained and grateful that finally, I was an adult who didn’t have to wear uniform or get bossed around by a prefect.

babies

There were three stations on our route where we’d stop to learn a fact or play a game about how the people in our prisons live. At the end, colored gel would then be thrown at people by the facilitators. It was slippery and looked very suspicious when dry, so I steered clear of it.

Some of the things I learnt were:

Every prisoner is entitled to a 10 by 10 cm space, but many times, more than 10 people are packed into it.

color-fest-uganda-prison-cell

Water is both a luxury and the bane of their existence, considering how long they have to walk to access it.

color-fest-uganda-water-games

When I first heard this one, I was like, well, hard labor and discomfort comes with the territory of being a prisoner, amiright? But no I was not right because so many people get shoved into the prison system on the strength of jealousy, spite, competition and our failing justice system. We have too many innocents in there.

Also, whether or not a person is guilty of stealing a phone, they are still a person.

Rapists and murderers and violent thieves should be put into an underground camp, that feels the earthquake before any of us do. Nga they just stay there doing NOTHING but waiting for the next earthquake, so that they can feel alive. Yea. Those are my suggestions.

During the last leg of our walk, we encountered color rebels, who sprung out of the shrubbery and blasted us with handfuls of colored chalk. It was mayhem, you guys. Of the best kind.

color-fest-uganda-color-rebels

We were finally led back to Kati Kati where the APP team and kids from Kololo SS, City High and Israel junior danced like crazy. It was great watching people get so hyper without the help of intoxicants.

color-fest-uganda-dance-time

At some point, some of the wazungu facilitators attempted choreography.but that bombed because they had zero coordination and lost the kids’ attention too quickly. They did manage to orchestrate some great games, that as you can see, some adults were keen to be a part of.

color-fest-uganda-game-time

Kati Kati became one huge dance party at noon, NOON and people got to painting their faces, drinking soda and being generally happy.

There was an Indian lady selling the actual high-color powder that’s used in the Holi festivals that this one was inspired by. I used some of her powder to achieve this look, which I’m sure does people from my mother planet proud.

color-fest-uganda-mildred

Proceeds from this fest went to supporting programs that allow prisoners and prison staff to become more empowered and live better lives.

To view more awesome pictures from this event, head over to our Facebook page and enjoy the full gallery.

Written by Mildred Apenyo

Apenyo is a writer and a lover of most kinds of silliness. When she’s not stringing words together, she’s either reading or dancing. You can find more of her via her blog. As you may or may not know, She is participating in a writing competition called writivism. Click here to go to her page on their website . And this is a video they made of her speaking about why she writes

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