Sunday, February 27, 2011

A Ugandan Saturday in London

Dear World,

Oh, how I love Saturdays! It's only on some Saturday mornings that I really feel a connection to home. That is because I can sometimes spend my saturdays in London, almost how I spend them in Kampala - as long as I stay indoors!

In Kampala, on a lazy Saturday morning, I start by treating myself to an extra doze of sleep - catching up on beauty sleep - they call it. Today, it wasn't difficult to do just that, especially after attending a Kuwait Liberation day party last night, thrown by Ahmed, my jolly Kutwaiti neighbour.

I had brunch at about midday. On the menue was boiled cassava (manioc) with beans fried in palm oil. As I cooked brunch, my German housemate looked on and asked questions about the food and somehow, we went way 'off-topic'.

I ended up telling her how at my grandad's place, we re-did the front compund and now everyone is falling overthemselves to plant a tree there - I planted 3 shade trees. The trees are little - about 6 feet at most but at this rate, in 5 years time, we'll have an impenetrable forest if every member of the family wants to leave their mark by planting about three or more of their favourite trees wherever they want and too close to the next tree - my little cousins especially.

Anyway, I told her about how we have a total of about 5 papaya (pawpaw) trees in the front and
back compound and that there is one whose shade my grandad loves, as he often sits there in the late afternoons. Moreover, the fruit of that pawpaw tree is reserved for only him. The rest of us eat from the other trees. Why? Well, I hate to burst your bubble but it is for no particular reason. One day, someone just said that pawpaws from that tree are for Baba and that was it.

Besides, there are so many other trees, we couldn't be bothered if one tree is exclusively for him. Hmmm, I doubt he even knows that the pawpaw he is served is from an exclusive tree!
That conversation made me nostalgic. That - talking over food - is what I would have be doing if I were at my grandad's home in Arua on a Saturday morning.

After branch, I was 'transported' back to London. I tried to 'remain' in Uganda so I called my aunt back at home in Arua and talked for almost an hour, catching up on especially the election gossip - she even told me who in the village cast an invalid vote (I wonder how they know such things lol)!

After talking to my aunt , I decided to catch the official news from Ugandan and international online newspapers and listen to my favourite - BBC's Focus on Africa - I needed to know what was new in especially Lybia and Cote d'Ivoire.

After that, number 1 out of 8 on my 'to do' list was to write my column for The Beaver.
I normally get inspiration from the news or salient personal events of the previous week. Yes, I loved the Kuwaiti party and thought I would write about it but with the killings in Lybia, and the protection issues for the the stranded sub- Suharan Africans in Libya whose countries have not organised any evacuation plans for them yet some Lybians are targeting and accusing them of being mercenaries just knocked the festive mood of last night out of me.

There was just so much going on in the world and in my mind, I didnt know what to focus on for the column! My therapy in such situations is to relax. Nothing does it better than music. Music? check. Headphones? Check. Since I was still feeling the need to be close to home, I played some Ugandan hits and found myself moving in my chair. Oh - Saturday indeed . The food, the music, the converstation, no hurry... oh, so typical of a lazy Saturday at home in Uganda!

Oh boy! With the music, I got so much inspiration that I exceeded my word limit by 250 words. Those extra words were soooo hot, I couldnt decide which to strike out so I sent the story to my editor and appologised concurently- there is always room for one more - I mean, 200-ish more words - just reduce the size of the picture that normally also graces the Social page and every word will fit. :)


Ky said...

hey gal, this is so interesting... its weird how much we take home for granted when we're here.. complaining about roads etc... its nice to appreciate it once in a while.. love your blog.. kyom

Sheila said...

An interesting read. Keep them coming!! And I'll be on the look out for the Beaver...

Jackline A. Olanya said...

Thank you to all my 'silent readers'.
For those that commented:
@Kyom, thanks so much Kyom... It's always a pleasure to be read and understood!!
@ Sheila, thanks. I wont be surprised if you are writing for the Beaver yourself!