Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Oh, Uganda (Good-Bye)

For now, that is. I'll be back. I've come back before. I won't mourn or dwell on our parting, however. There are exciting things promised on the horizon.

I am horrible with good-byes. When confronted with the responsibility of leaving someone I call either a friend or acquaintance, I do not know what is expected of me. Do I make promises that I will write very often, either by email or by post? I know myself: with my poor track record of regular correspondence that would be an outright lie. Swear I will never forget them? That we will meet again, regardless of what the future brings? I will not make promises based on outcomes I cannot possibly know.

The real problem is that I an uncomfortable with confrontation and, ultimately, that's what saying good-bye is (though hopefully with friendly tones.) I prefer a simple "See you later!", where "later"holds so many possibilities: it could be tomorrow or two years from now; why qualify it? And then I just slip away - gone. No time to create reasons for future guilt. Of the people we encounter in life, some are remembered vividly, others vaguely, while still others are completely forgotten - why prolong them with false promises of eternity?

I write this with a knowledge of my own slippery character. My vanity is not so large as to suppose I am indelibly imposed in the minds of all I meet. We are all passing acquaintances to someone, so it is better to focus on the now, rather than dwell on the future or even the past. What does "good-bye"do but close forever the possibilities of now, forcing us out of the act of living and into the static realm of memory?

So no "good-bye"or even "until next time", but rather breathe in the forever prospects of "later".

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Oh, Uganda (4)

Oh, Francis' Joint, how I will miss your chips/liver! Seriously, when I was in Kuwait over the Christmas holidays I found myself craving the muchomo from this place, so I can imagine how bad it will be for the first couple of months after leaving.

Francis' Joint: the best chips in Kabale. I could eat here for several days in a row (and have.) Unfortunately this means Francis' Joint is also partially to blame for the few pounds I've put on since September, but that's what happens when you're eating french fries all the time.

But it's not just that the food is delicious - it's also cheap. 2,000 shillings for chips/liver, chips/beef or chips/egg - not even a dollar. Add to the fact that a cold (or somehow cold) Eagle is only 1,400ugx and you'll easily understand how this is the perfect meal.

However, as I tend to eat lunch here, the beer has the unfortunate side-effect of putting me to sleep for several hours. Therefore, in addition to weight gain, I also lay partial blame of my recent workplace inefficiency on this joint.

Luckily, the beer is cheap enough that I can just drink another and forget about work completely. Pretty damn efficient, actually.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Oh, Uganda (3)

Pooing. Out and out (quite literally) pooing. This isn't Uganda so much as it's Kabale. Kabale just hates me. I've gotten worms twice since I came last year. One of those times was visiting Sipi Falls with Seth and we had to pay for a private taxi to get back to Kampala, just so he would stop the every thirty minutes or so I needed to poo. And some of the places I had to use made me so ashamed - me! - I tried to hide my face from the flies buzzing around.

I'll even admit this to you: I've actually shit myself. What? Worms are hell.

Though there are many things I will miss about Uganda, lack of solid poo is not one of them. It's not only worms; maybe I don't boil my drinking water long enough? Regardless, shit sucks.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Oh, Uganda (2)

Candles. Oh, so-very-useful candles. For the constant blackouts in Kabale. Like the recent - oh, wait, no, make that current - one which has lasted for almost 24 hours. At least not 4 days. Yet.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Oh, Uganda

Because I am a shameless, shameless thief, I am copying Foxy by Nature and giving you some photos of the Uganda I know and love as I prepare to leave (again). And because it's an easy way to publish a post while I work on deeper thoughts.

Here are some beginning swimmers (Bufuka Primary School, Lake Bunyonyi), practicing the art of blowing air through one's nose.

Zimbabwe and Stuff

I have met scores of travelers here in Uganda, largley due to the fact that my office is in a hostel and, until about a month ago, I lived in one. This encounters have been both pleasant and unfortunate, which can only be expected within the wide spectrum of people who decide to "explore the continent." Naturally the pleasant encounters aren't all that interesting or exciting - when are they ever? - but the unfortunate, or douchebag, encounters are almost always memorable.

Recently a young(ish) American male came to Kabale. He was traveling alone, having begun in South Africa and slowly making his way to Egypt. He had been able to spend a few weeks in each country, so naturally we (I and others around) were in the presence of a great Africanist. According to this seasoned scholar, the whole Mugabe-dictator-problems-in-Zimbabwe-thing is all just a Western media construct (Yes, he used that word!), because he was just there and in Harare there was food and people were smiling when he greeted them. So, you know, you could just tell they were happy and stuff.

My god, we've been fooled all along.