One of my bags is missing when I arrive in
I wander around the buildings lost in reverie. I kept a piece of bright patterned African jinja cloth, the sturdy local cotton used for school uniforms, from that period for years and wonder where it is now. Recalling this vibrant piece of colourful material tugs out of hiding other visual memories and I am able to reconstruct the room and people of that time in great detail. If memories are lodged in muscle, I wonder what mechanism it is that sets loose such a cascading sequence from a single strong visual image.
We pick up the delayed bag at 9 pm the next night and head for
We drive by Rubaga Cathedral on our way out of town. Huge crowds streaming up the hill to the cathedral remind me it is Sunday.
It is a four hour drive to Mbarara through the lush countryside adjacent to
Just outside of Kampala, on the way to Masaka, the capital of the Baganda tribe, the Kiganda drum makers are clustered in small jerry-built structures near the road. Pleased to show you their wares and the process of making them, they specialize in Kiganda drums, a tall one called engalabi covered on the top with monitor lizard skin and the elegant engoma made from cow hide. Engoma come in all sizes, some of the biggest reside in the cathedrals in Kampala. Tiny souvenir drums are available but their business here is making the real McCoy with full-bodied sound.
We pass the wayside markets with matooke (cooking banana), charcoal, tomatoes, papaya, onions, beans, watermelon, avocados, potatoes and sweet bananas. At first glance to an outsider like me, the markets all seem similar, some bigger, some smaller but all seem full of the same stuff. The drivers know better. We get a phone call enroute from one of our colleagues asking us to pick up yams. I quickly agree.
But the driver says, "Yams, not possible. We have passed the place where we can get good yams."
There are several Muslim towns enroute to Mbarara. I wouldn’t ordinarily notice that they were predominantly Muslim but today is the day before Eid il Fitre, the big celebration at the end of Ramadan. In
It begins briefly to rain. Ugandans say there is a wet season and a rainy season or short rains and long rains. This ensures plenty of rain and several excellent growing seasons here along the edge of
"Kulika yo. Naway kulika" Welcome back, the driver and I greet each other when we arrive at the Guest House. It feels great to be here in what Winston Churchill called, the Pearl of Africa.
Photos: flowers, turaco, whaleheaded stock, white rhino,Rubaga Cathedral, drum maker in shop, meat market before Eid, and lad with banana leaf rain hat.