Thursday, July 2, 2009

Blast from the Past: Part 2

That's right. It was so exciting the first time that I'm doing it again!
June 29th
Mission statement: ‘Wait for Phillip’. He got in at 7:30am only to discover that his luggage had been left in London. So between filling out all of his lost luggage forms, renting a car, getting caught in the atrocious entity that is rush hour traffic here and running the errands for Ssubi that he had to in town he didn’t make it to us until the evening.
The kids were totally jazzed to see Uncle Phil, and you could tell that he was glad to have made it. It sounds like at some point I’m helping him out with something in downtown Kampala. ‘Down, downtown Kampala’. I have only a vague idea of what that could mean but when asked he smiled widely and merely said that it would be an excellent story for the blog.
Brenda and I had our own errands to run, however. I arrived on a Saturday, so most of the businesses closed at 1:00pm. Then none were open Sunday. This means that getting my hands on some shillings has been a bit delayed. We fixed that today. The interesting part of this was that it was my first time walking around the neighborhood instead of being in a vehicle with the rest of the family. As I’m sure you got from the razor wire, electric wire and broken glass that rings the top of the concrete fence, it’s not exactly common for the kids to go outside and play.
As Brenda and I left on our mission to the bank, I drew many stares. Not so common to see a muzungu in this area, I think. Out of the neighborhood and onto the main road. Across from us was a long line of boda-bodas waiting for customers. They were mostly speaking Luganda with ‘muzungu’ thrown in every once in a while, smiling and calling at us. Then the one on the far left stood up on his bike and yelled at me: “Lady! I cannot tell you how much I love you!”
Brenda looked at me and shrugged. We had crossed the road and were walking in front of them now. I couldn’t just let the fellow down by ignoring his professions of love. I faced him and walked backwards for a moment so that I could reply. “ And I would love you too! ... But not today!”
The boda-bodas were thrilled. The whole line laughed and the fellow on the end smiled. Brenda was shocked, and then laughed as well. It was a good start to our banking errand.
The issue of colour here is interesting. Muzungu’s are usually charged more by vendors and stores because they are seen as foreigners. Even Fred, who has been here for well over 20 years between his youth and being married to Brenda, is charged more. As we walked to the bank Brenda was laughing because traffic would yield and let me cross if I was already halfway into the road. This is not normal. Normal procedure is to run over the pedestrian and honk because they are in the way. But no, not a muzungu. “You are my ticket to everything!” Brenda giggled, then quickly added. “Unless we are buying something, then you stand to the side and pretend you are not with me!” Oh we laughed.
I am so lucky to be staying with people like these.

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