Skip to main content

Les Journaux Africains: Staffroom, Kigezi High School, Kabale, Uganda - 12.45 09/04/2010

This was another hectic morning that involved getting down to Edirisa early-doors to carry on the decorating work. The plastering of holes was all but finished off yesterday, but one small corner still needed my attention. I was armed with my radio this morning and so, like a real builder, I drank tea, listened to Ugandan pop music and made a mess of my clothes.

A few of our students were on hand with Frankie being sent on regular trips to the hardware store, Sarah (who is very tall) painting the ceiling and the rest of the students attacking the walls. A notable absentee was Ruth who appeared to be running on what I hear so often called 'Ugandan Time' - late!

After a while, my job was completed. Still on my schedule for the day was to give out prizes for the poetry competition and to attend the inaugural 'Jimmy Cup' five-a-side football tournament up at the school.

During my first Fanta break of the day, I realised that Charlotte had been waiting patiently for me to finish my work, rather than interrupting me mid-plastering.

All photos © Jeff Vanderpool
We had a chat for a while and talked about how life had been treating her back home near Mbrarara. It seemed like geography was insignificant as I heard of the ups and downs of a young high school leaver finding her way in the big, bad world. Conversation naturally turned to money and chances of sponsorship. Would she ever be able to afford to get into University? How could I help?

The nature of the beast is that these conversations often turn to money. As ever, I say that I will see what I can do, fully aware of the problems that come with breeding and cultivating a culture of financial dependency.

After purchasing a banana at an inflated price - voluntarily I might add because the four-year-old seller was so polite - I headed to the Royal Supermarket. My mission here was to buy prizes for the poetry contest, but knowing that we are soon to be cut-off from civilisation when we head to Lake Bunyonyi, I took the opportunity to stock up on Pringles too.

After a crafty sidestep of the children begging at the door attempting to barracade me into the shop, I ran over the road to a group of boda-bodas and headed, like a crazed cowboy, up the hill to the school.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Atay Maghrebi: The Slow Train to Tangier

Marrakech station is an architecturally magnificent mixture of older Moroccan motifs combined with modern palatial glass windows. It shimmers in Marrakshi tones of gold and umber even in the half-light of dawn, slowly waking up as weary passengers emerge from taxis in all directions.

The first time I had taken the train from Marrakech, it was on the earliest departure of the day, shortly after 6am. I was shocked at how dark the place had been. A few low lights were on in the building, but the railway carriages had sat in perfect darkness.
Being on a tighter budget, on my first journey northwards in 2016 I had booked a standard class ticket and hadn’t bothered to check the length of the journey. Ten hours later, having run out of cash, my back had been aching and I was massively dehydrated. I wouldn’t be making the same mistake again.
This time I’d opted for a departure during daylight, albeit still early enough to accommodate the massive journey time, and I had treated myself to an…

From a Crooked Rib by Nuruddin Farah

I stumbled across Nuruddin Farah’s novels when searching for something written by a Somali author. Perhaps due to the conflict that has raged for years in Somalia, it is very difficult to find much from Somali writers published in English.
From a Crooked Rib was published in 1970 and tells the story of Ebla, a young, orphaned, illiterate nomadic girl, who runs away from her encampment. She takes the decision to leave upon learning of her Grandfather’s intention to marry her off to an older man within their Jes (a group of families living in an encampment together).
She firstly escapes to a town, Belet Amin, where she finds her cousin and his pregnant wife. She also finds a guide and confidante in a character known only as the widow. Things seem settled until, yet again, Ebla finds her freedom compromised by a male character – this time her cousin, whose wife and child Ebla has been nursing.
In her haste she leaves Belet Amin with the widow’s nephew, bound for Mogadishu – still called

Iconic Places: Cliffs of Moher, Ireland.

On the train to Galway, I had the suspicion that something was going on. I had been talking about almost every topic under the sun with two men from Athenry for the majority of the journey out of Dublin Heuston station: Brexit, health, whiskey, the Irish border and brands of tea.
All around us, there were young Irish guys and girls, drinking vociferously and listening to music out of Bluetooth speakers. No one seemed to notice. Other passengers seemed to just ignore it. I was beginning to think that Ionród Éireann (Irish Rail) might be some strange mobile party company. After all, it was only a Tuesday afternoon.
Arriving at Galway Ceannt station, the train unleashed a herd of youngsters onto the platform resembling a migratory stampede of wildebeest. What was going on? 
In the intermittent rain, I walked towards Salthill, a small resort on the outskirts of Galway City and into the Nest Boutique Hostel.
“Ah,” the receptionist said, “it’s Donegal Tuesday.”
“But we’re in Galway,” I res…