About Me

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I teach abroad and continue to pursue the life I was given as if it was my last. Many people think it is. In my spare time, I enjoy lapping up ice cream, reading spy novels, and euthanizing manta rays.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

God's Campus

The 14-seat taxi drove past my "stop" this evening as I came back from dinner. Once I realized this, two women dressed in traditional Ugandan wedding attire yelled "MAH-sao!" or "STOP!" to the driver. It was too late and the only recourse during expanded rush hour (which is from 6 am till 4 am until further notice) was for me to enter through the back entrance of the university. So I got out, paid my 25 cent cab fare and started walking down the mile stretch of black asphalt and blacker sky toward the campus.

 I passed a boda-boda ('no eye contact, no eye contact...') and a omenous looking range rover. I passed the examination board and youth hostel, the plasticware factory and the cricket field.
Kyambogo's cricket field

Then, when I came upon the entrance to campus proper, I could make out a man yelling vehemently over a loudspeaker or megaphone. As I walked under dimly lit street lamps headed up the hill towards the main barracks (er dorm rooms) and towards lecture halls and the Protestant chapel, the voice became louder and even more animated. Was it military training? A tae kwon do class? Tony Robbins on speed balls?

No, it was a large African preacher, standing on a temporary pulpit, delivering a sermon to his outdoor congregation seated on folding chairs. As I came upon the clearing and saw the mass, they rose to their feet. Not to greet me, but rather because their leader had begun singing "Amazing grace". Men, women and children swayed to the rhythm of the gospel hymn as I stood and listened under an innocuous mango tree near the entrance to the main street on campus. After the song I crossed the intersection and headed home. It was after ten p.m. and two hundred-plus were listening to the word of God on a Saturday night. Of their own volition. On a Saturday night. Voluntarily.

Turning left and up the hill a classroom was lit and several heads were seated in rickety chairs, singing choir songs not a hundred yards from the Catholic chapel in preparation for the three services tomorrow morning. The sounds of Christianity echo through the grounds seven days a week here at Kyambogo. Once I learn the music, I might just have to pop in for an entire mass if I can stomach two hours of pews, kneeling, and the Nicene creed.

Here are some random pics from the week in Kampala and at my house.

Fruit market on the streets of Kampala
Another nameless market area en route to Kampala

my bed and mosquito net


  1. Phenomenal post, my friend. And great pictures!

  2. Sounds good. Can't you get DVDs at some street market over there? I suppose the Catholic faith gives them courage to make it through tough days. The West has it so much easy by comparison.
    Maybe Church is a lot more than just a ritual celebration. It has to be the focal point of the campus there. Well, looks like you're going to be spending some time singing gospel hymns.

  3. I was expecting to see you sprawled out on the bed.