Pretty sure this is Uganda? Also…. when will I finish my travel blogging? Your guess is as good as mine. But it’s been 4 months. So maybe October needs to be the month this happens.
I am going to sum up the end of my Uganda experience in about five posts. This is Part One! I’m constructing these from my camera memory, my own memory, and my journal entries. You’re lucky—I’m subtracting most of the angst and complaining from my diary and just giving you the parts that are informative.
Whine, whine, whine, small detail, small triumph….
March was a good month for travel and shenanigans. I went to Rwanda for a weekend by Jaguar Coach to visit one of my favorite fellows, Stephanie. When I got to the station, I randomly saw my Administrative Officer’s brother who works in Kigali (or “Chi-gali,” as many Ugandans say), and we had a nice talk and I felt pretty good about the ride. Like, if anything happens, at least I had an acquaintance there to… protect me? Defend my honor? Who knows. After 14 hours, I found myself in the Chi-gali bus park. I really did expect to get to utilize some of my French, despite Stephanie’s repeated warnings to lower my expectations and my fellow fellow David’s expressed disappointment at the Anglophonism… but it was not the case. Kinyarwanda, English, or you’re outta luck. Oh, well. We’ll always have Dakar…
Stephanie picked me up, dropped me off at her adorable house, and went to work. Kigali was really green and really clean. And the bodas (motos?) carry extra helmets for you by law!
Friendly neighborhood conducteur du moto! This isn’t my photo but I’m pretty sure I rode with this guy, it’s all good.
I had heard stories of how Kigali is clean because everyone volunteers once a month to clean the streets. I thought that was pretty awesome. Stephanie also disabused me of that notion, or at least helped me be more realistic. Apparently many families send one representative, their domestic servant, to do their street cleaning. And a lot of the work is also done by former sex workers who are supposed to show how reformed they are. Womp. Before our bus crossed the border from Kigali to Rwanda, very gruff women (who spoke neither French nor English) went through all my luggage to make sure I didn’t have any kaveeras (plastic bags), since those aren’t allowed in the country. That goes a long way to keeping “the little K”* clean, too.
When Stephanie came home from work, we went to a really cute restaurant with the other fellow in Kigali, Kelly, I think it was New Cactus. The service was slow, even by Kampala standards, but the food was great and it’s always good to get a little PiAf bonding time. Plus, Rwandan beer is great, so we were entertained. I am team Mutzig, although Primus is also great.
La première bière du Kigali!
The day before I left, Stephanie and I took a mini-road trip out to Lake Muhazi. The bus park men brought us nothing but giggles (and over-attentiveness. But that’s par for the course/bus park/gare routière as a foreigner.) At one point, we were playing cards while we waited for the bus to come, and we literally had a crowd form around us. So there’s that. We went to a lakeside restaurant called Seeds of Peace, and even though we got rained on a bit, it was beautiful.
So much greenery.
I am so bad at landscape photography. Nate and I were talking about how you can never really capture that kind of atmospheric beauty without more training, and I really that that’s true. Anyway, this is Lake Muhazi.
So as we were catching up, eating fried fish, and posing for photographs, Seeds of Peace suddenly became the place to be. First a big church service began. Then a wedding party filed in to another gazebo. Everyone looked really beautiful, and I felt awkward about being out of dress code (cargo pants are not exactly black tie.) We watched for a little while, before taking motos back to the bus park to head back to Little K.
Stephanie and I at Lake Muhazi. Isn’t she cute?!
This one’s for my grandma. Hopefully she also says “Isn’t she cute?!”
Other things happened in Kigali, too. Stephanie and I went to the Kigali Genocide Memorial Centre, which was really informative and obviously, sobering. I was interested in how they presented an overall history of genocides around the world, putting it in context. I learned quite a bit, like about German genocide in Namibia. There’s so much I don’t know about African history. But I’m working on it. I tried to earn my keep/stay by cooking Stephanie and Kelly some mutter paneer. It came out pretty well! Especially considering I was cooking in the dark, since the power went out. Most importantly, I got to see people I really like, and experience a new city. It’s always good to be around other young feminists, and Stephanie has some great books in her house. All in all, it was a great week!
*Little K is my nickname for Kigali. Clearly Kampala is the Big K. C’mon.
Last Uganda posts are still a-laggin’, but today I was in an Independence Day parade with my family down the main road in our town. Our “delegation” threw out candy (okay, threw candy at children, but I was tryin’ my best) on behalf of my dad’s elected officialdom. I think that’s what you call it. Then we had a pretty hilarious breakfast at IHOP. The breakfast was very Ugandan in the sense that our waitress was surly as all get out and it took a really long time. But not very Ugandan in that there was ice and free refills on water. Also, when we left a clown showed up, which is random and whimsical/scary enough to feel like Kampala Livin’. Happy Fourth of July!
I live at the beach really.
Florida lyfe. The Atlantic Ocean is no Lake Victoria (where’s the Bilharzia??? And the never-ending lakeside beach party where everyone wears clothes into the water) but, to each her own, right?
I left Uganda about three weeks ago. My year was up! I have thoughts. And I have pictures. And my goal this month is to sum it all up and post all the things, so brace yourself. For now, I have moved home to Fort Lauderdale and am applying for jobs. And when I’m done posting, I’m moving back to the Thursty Blog and getting my non-travel groove on. To the posting cave? Y/y
I have a million photos (Easter, Rwanda, Zambia, Ssezibwe, last field visits) that I haven’t posted or written about because…I have been busy doing them and not processing them. Or at least, cropping them for your viewing pleasure. So! I will probably do my last few updates from home, which is kind of lame but also, at least makes it so I can look back on them
when if I’m feeling nostalgic.
Tiny update: Of course I find a new yoga class to love and my house adopts a cat that loves me the most right as I’m on my way out! It’s the worst! He’s so cute! The cat. Not the yoga class.