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, August 20, 2011

The Timeless art of Introduction

This is best viewed with 3D sunglasses in a darkroom. The colors are blinding.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Year Two

I'm back in Uganda. On one hand I feel far removed from this place after two months in first world countries. On the other hand, it's like I never left...thunderstorms, mind-splitting R&B music at all hours of the day, bird watching.

Getting picked up by an Embassy driver is the way to go. Something nice about seeing your own name coming through that glass door after customs, knowing all I have to do is sit back and enjoy the ride home.

I arrived at eight on Monday morning. A thunderstorm had relented hours earlier and the bright early morning sunshine contrasted with the remnants of the earlier torrential downpour. Entebbe was still as a mouse. Unattended jets at the UN airport, boarded-up kiosks, empty beaches along Lake Victoria's modest lakefront.

Tuesday morning I got up around four and read until dawn. By nine I realized two granola bars and cold pizza from the prior night's delivery man wouldn't suffice for the week. I motivated into town on a boda (what else?)  with my original driver, Tom (nostalgic) and got everything I needed for the house and, more importantly, the fridge (power strip and extension cord, batteries, shampoo, shower gel, ground coffee, milk, eggs, juice and sugar. But when I got to aisle six there was something missing.

Me: Excuse me, miss. I can't find the sugar.
Miss: It is finished.
Me: Yeah right...
Miss: (smiling knowingly): No, there is no sugar.
Me: I don't believe you. I'll ask someone else.
Miss: Please do.

(Moving over to Aisle 8)
Me: Sir, I'm looking for sugar...
Sir: No sugar.
Me: In the store?
Sir: In Uganda.
Me: (blank stare)
Sir: It is national crisis, sir. We have no sugar. You see in Uganda...
Me:  I- wha-...but...

Back on campus, I asked Sister Frances about the sugar and the clerks' stories were confirmed. So, no sugar. At least at retail outlets or shopping malls. More on this to come.


I reported back to Kyambogo University because this is the first week of classes, which means of course there are no classes. Just department lackeys trying to coordinate classrooms and times while students and teachers idle by and wait. The Campus Bazaar is going on from 7 am till 11 pm every day two hundred yards from my front door. They crank up the bass and sub woofers about thirty minutes after the weavers and kingfishers wake up. Being in my house is a little like being trapped inside Shaq's SUV cruising South Beach. It seems they have the same 18 songs on a loop for fifteen hours straight. "NNNNNNEW YORK!" by Alicia Keys, "AlejandroooOO!!!!,"Black and Yellow" featuring Snoop Dogg, Ugandan rap. My ear plugs have really come in handy.


This morning I was in the bathroom and had shut the front door. I hardly ever do that by the way. A nice little breeze is appreciated. A minute later in the bath tub I heard a thud near the front. Bird, I thought to myself. Or squirrel. I'll go check on it once I'm dressed. 

In fact, there were six monkeys, pawing, prying, spying, swinging, and frolicking on my patio, roof, shrubbery and surrounding trees. Thank God I shut the door or I would have had a serious mess (not to mention a mild bowel movement). Monkeys have an uncanny way of exposing human reflex deficiency. Blink and they're gone, or on top of you, or in your fruit basket. The family stayed around for a good twenty minutes, jumping from tree to roof, roof to roof, bush to vine and across the sprawling playground that is our compound.