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.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Children and Jerry Cans

I missed the millipedes, moths, the spiders and gnats, and ants, and safari ants, and...well, even the mosquitoes. They are everywhere now that the dry season is here. I sit and read in the grass, flies attack my knee caps. I stand on the patio...ants use my big toe as a snowboarder uses a mogul. Sit on my couch in the evening to read? Mosquitoes and moths surround me.

Meanwhile, outside is a virtual tour of Frogger 2.0. The skies are filtered with bugs and birds. We have three roosters circling the compound now, too: one cock and two females. That cock is mine! It wakes me up every frickin' three hours with the cock-a-doodle-doo. There is a myth that roosters only crow at dawn. Nope, all day. All day and all night if need be. I'm listening to it right now and it's 4:30 in the afternoon.

The bats of Kyambogo have nearly quadrupled overnight. Thousands of them flutter and taunt the locals at dusk, circling the jackfruit trees on the campuses main drag, screaming lungs and venom soaked fangs aimed right at the locusts they prey upon. Where did they come from? And more importantly, how can we get rid of them?

It's warm outside. Mid-eightees with a 30 percent chance of rooster droppings turning to spider bites by the evening. The sun owns my skin, attacking the moles and freckles on my extremities like a Kardashian attacks a male athlete. I drink lots of water at night, rest during the middle of the day, and try to drink as little caffeine as possible before walking around town. Students are starting to mill around campus, registering for classes, checking last semester's grades, inquiring about electives, and attending meetings with their advisors for academic planning.

The police are out, too. They are now prohibiting all bodas from entering campus, forcing me to walk ten to fifteen minutes to pick up a ride. Elections are a month away, el Shabab is supposedly living and breathing all over Kampala, and the acting President and parliament want no hiccups in the run up to February 18th. I'll be calling in sick that day. Sleeping. Or pretending to.

I had a meeting earlier this week about the semester workshops I am to lead. Connie, Dorothy, and Dok were present. It was a game of verbal tag between the latter two, often jockeying for supremacy and air space with which to voice their opinions and enact their vision on both workshops. Dorothy advocates for the literature department, Dok for the students' writing. I offer my opinion when asked, but mainly wonder what it is these people really hope to accomplish in these conferences? The second workshop's theme morphed from a teacher-training workshop on writing to a political advocation of the importance of literature on college campuses. By the way, guys: I'm not a literature professor. Why am I the keynote speaker in this thing if we are going to call on the Minister of Education to pledge his support of Literature funding? Where exactly do I fit in??

I took a walk this morning and shot these photos of local kids going to the well for water. Hope you enjoy them!


  1. Great pictures, Matt! I miss our chats. Let's connect soon!

  2. Those kids are super cute. I totally understand why Madonna stole a couple of them.