Preparation were done three days before the actual night of New Year’s Eve. We gathered and drew plans for the night; what was needed, the routes for the activities, duties assigned and targets acquired.
Items needed included Tyres, Cypress Christmas trees – these were the ones hanging in our sitting rooms waiting for this particular night and activity -, match boxes and paraffin. The routes chosen were to take an hour to and from our destination and the group consisted of children not more than 15 years and younger than 10 years old.
I received my assignment – to find a lorry tyre that can burn for more than one hour – and set out to find the items. I had to travel by foot from Lubya Hill in Kasubi to Nakulabye and far down to Wandegeye entering garages asking for the tyres and if they could give them to me for fee or for a chore.
My efforts were a total fail, and our group leader for that year was a tough bully boy who took failure as excuses for lack of commitment to the group. If you received your assignment you were to excute it to the best of your knowledge or end up being banished from the group for the whole New Year.
I pleaded with my dad to help me and he came through with three. I was praised for doing so well, got favored throughout the whole year during games we played, I was the special member who wasn’t be touched.
With all the items in hand, and the day fast approaching, we sat down and examined our route plan again to see how solid it was and who was going to be available to excute it, and for how long in the one hour we had them.
On the D-day, permissions were requested from parents to go out at 11:40 pm to be able to get the right spots to watch the firework that shoot from the top of Sheraton Hotel. By evening, dinner was eaten, adventure clothes ready and the Cypress Christmas tree set to be taken out. Everyone who had a tree in their home was mandated to carry it to our meeting place.
The idea was to burn the trees alongside the tyre and then drag the burning tyre throughout Munaku town to Kasubi then Nakulabya and back to Munaku through Kiyaye town. But because we hand more tyres this time around, we expanded our route for the drag and continued down to Lugala via Lubya, through Mapeera to Nabulagala, then back to Manuka and then did a bonfire at the Lubya Hill junction.
We pulled in crowds who followed the burning materials, singing and dancing, cars hooting and others drumming and shouting. My friends and I, filled with excitement that we had achieved our aim, bringing such joy among our neighbors on such a special day.
Now days, it’s not done like that. Children have no such fun on such nights. Most of them end up being dragged to the crowded City center town to watch firework at Sheraton and other places. Then some end up entering bars and clubs. Others go to church for the first few hours before 00:00 and after it, find a bar or club and do the same as the first people, drown the years. Those who start in church dance themselves stupid to silly until morning. Others just stay in and consider the night the same as others.
Anyway, welcome to 2017 hope you are ready for it.