Thursday, June 07, 2007

My Lump

Awkward moment of the week: I was leaving my residence the other day to go running wearing my gray Champion shorts. They are made of light-weight, synthetic material that is loose and lays against my body, extremely comfortable, great for running. So I was walking down the steps of my flat into the parking lot, the wind was blowing a little, and a man walking by looked up in my face and ask, "Do you always walk with your 'batoon'?" I wasn't quite sure what he said, so I asked, "What?"

"Your 'batoon', do you always walk around with your 'batoon'?"

I got it that time; I've seen the Red Pepper enough times to understand his word choice. I was caught off-guard and taken aback by his question, and it was not one of those days where witty counter-comments, such as, "Of course, I never know when I'll need it," came easily, so I did something quite lame like make a sarcastic laughing sound and kept on walking.

Thanks for noticin' me.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

4 Cel

The priceless moment of the day came in the form of a song being played by the DJ at the former location of Bamboo Nest in Bugolobi where a new joint has opened, commonly called: Old Bamboo. (No one knows the real name of the place, and the new name is quite irrelevant as far as the local patrons are concerned.)

Dawn is slowly breaking.
Our friends have all gone home.
You and I are waiting
For Santa Claus to come.

Yes, it’s June. Yes, I was in a bar. Yes, they were blasting Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton’s contribution to the Country Christmas Songs album. That, alone, is not what brought a smile to my face or caused me to laugh out loud. It was the fond memory of preparations for a very Samoan Christmas in 2005 as two Palagi women rehearsed their dance routine that would never be seen in public in their small apartment. The intricate hand motions of Samoan dance. The perfect rhythm. And of course: the lip syncing. What a shame someone got sick before church that faithful day. Maybe it was the kind way of saying: You suck! And there is no way I’m gonna let you embarrass me in from of the whole congregation.

(I love the part of the Christmas story when Santa arrives in his sleigh.)

There’s a present by the tree,
Stockings on the wall.
And knowing you’re in love with me
Is the greatest gift of all.


How funky is your chicken?

Monday, June 04, 2007


but too much to do to be lazy.

My weekend so far has been full of diverse activities. I’m lovin’ it. I got an early start yesterday—beginning with a yummy, homemade pancake breakfast; and including everything thing from money transfers, photo developing, an embassy rummage sale, washing my whites—and I didn’t make it to (my own) bed (alone) until 4:30am! It was a fun night. The Uganda Cranes finally didn’t disappoint their fans and defeated the Nigerian football team, and last night was a night of celebration around Kampala. I was on Kampala Road when the supporters made their way back into town from Namboole on the back of boda-bodas tooting on their yellow plastic horns. The screech of whistles was on-going; traffic police didn’t stand a chance in the excitement. As much as I hate to admit it, I’ve inherited many of my fathers preferences and dislikes. As infectious as the enthusiasm of the revellers was, the crowd and commotion made me nervous. I was the proverbial long-tailed cat, and the party downtown was my room full of rocking chairs. I quickly made it to the restaurant where some of my friends were meeting for dinner.

I had planned an early night, and was making my way home at 12, but I was intercepted on Bandali Rise by two friends I had not seen in several weeks. Of course that means I climbed into the backseat of the car and was off to Kololo and several hours more of a good time. Despite all the noise and the crowds, I really enjoyed the next four hours. Surprisingly, some good conversations were had with a few drinks and some dancing.

Sunday morning: I got up when planned. 11:30. Feeling great. I really like a good breakfast, so I try to cook at least one big one on the weekends. It’s always better when there is someone to share it with. I plan to make a good pot of soup later today. Fingers are crossed for uninterrupted electricity.

Ukrainian Tractors.jpgI’ve taken advantage of the early afternoon to get into a new book: A Short History of Tractors in Ukranian. When I first saw it on the shelf at Aristoc, the name drew me to it. I opened the book and read the first paragraph: Two years after my mother died, my father fell in love with a glamorous blonde Ukranian divorcee. He was eighty-four and she was thirty-six. She exploded into our lives like a fluffy pink grenade… I was hooked. Who could say ‘no’ to a book that starts off like that? I just didn’t have the 24,500 shillings to buy the book that day, so I convinced a friend that it was a must-read. She bought it, and it’s been passed on to me.

I really have so much to do that I do not want to do. I’ve go reports to write for school. I have five more to do. They are due on Friday, but I want to break my habit of procrastination, so I want to get as many finished today as I can. You can tell how much I want to get them done. I’m making this post, using my brain juices, when I could be describing how well so and so’s understands and is able to apply the conept of fair test. I’ll never finish something I don’t begin.

I hand-washed two big towels today. I'm gonna be sporting two massive forearms if I keep this up. That should be the maximum amount of work anyone is allowed to do on a Sunday.
Note: I've had issues with accessing the internet. This post is a week old. Enjoy.

Oh, Joy!

It’s the most wonderful time of the year: the end of the school year. There are both sincerity and sarcasm expressed in that statement. While it is great, and kind of a relief, that the school year is winding down (four weeks to go!), it is a crazy, crazy time. I used to compare my status to treading water—just keeping my head above the surface. Now I feel like I’m a couple of feet under, and occasionally I get to break the surface to gasp for air, but then I’m back under again for another bout: plans, supply orders, reports. Crunch time with no six-pack results.

Last week, we had a brief two-day break. I was asked to house-sit while a colleague went on holiday with her family to the Kenyan coast (lucky her). They just moved from Nakasero to Mbuya and totally traded up as far as houses are concerned. Their new house is up on the hill and has one of the most amazing views of Lake Victoria, plus there are also two swimming pools on the compound. I thought I’d spend four days there lounging around the pool catching up on some reading.

No luck

It often rains of my parade. Above is a photo of the best my view of the lake ever got during my stint as house-sitter, and it was too cold to be comfortable around the pool. There was also DSTV and internet at their house (both of which I don’t have at mine) but Mbuya has some of the worst load shedding in the area (much worse than neighbouring Bugolobi), and I felt bed having the generator switched on just for me and my recreation, so my viewing of the true Hollywood story behind Sex and the City and the amazing accomplishments and struggles of Mary-Kate and Ashley was sporadic and often interrupted before finished.

The silver lining of the cloudy weekend came in the form of a stacked washer and dryer. I’ve gotten used to washing my clothes by hand. I spent two years in Brazil too poor to employ help and then three years as a Peace Corps Volunteer. I find washing clothes a bit therapeutic—washing away the grime of the week, plus instant results. However, laundry can pile up to a monstrosity of a task, and jeans and towels are hell on the hands.

I’m in a better financial place than before, and I could employ someone to wash for me (which I am considering); however, I’ve seen too many disasters with knits. The average person hired to help out in a home can wash clothes made of woven fabric just fine, but knits are pulled, rung and stretched from here to Timbuktu. I like my t-shirts to fit. It is amazing what a little extra soap and soaking time can do: really save your knits.

My friend finally left for Vietnam last Sunday. Keeping up with my habit of correspondence, I’ve not sent her an e-mail yet. We had yet another farewell party for her on Saturday night. The food was good but there were some issues with the music and the not-so-friendly or considerate owners/management of the venue. Otherwise, I was happy.

Happy now.jpg

I’m happy and I can thank myself...