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Showing posts from December, 2011

The Bakiga Window: Basketball at Sundown

Any sporting spectacle becomes twice as spectacular when you’re out in the African heat. Having exerted myself once this week during Tuesday’s staff versus students football match, I am happy this time to be sat on the grass as a mere spectator. 
It is Friday 15th April and I am nestled in amongst an ever-increasing crowd of students, watching teh twisting narrative of a basketball tournament unfold in the afternoon sunshine. The tournament, organised by one of my students, Frank, started just a little after 3pm and is slowly, but surely, reaching its climax. 
The teams are comprised of groups of boys from different dormitories, or form classes. Each team arrived full of eagerness and anticipation at around 2.30pm to the empty court positioned on a sun-baked hillside. By the time that the tournament had got underway, a crowd of around thirty students had assembled behind the backboards. 
This setting for a basketball competition has to be amongst the best in the world. I know that th…

Hercule Poirot’s Christmas by Agatha Christie

 Christmas in the Kelly household means a few things: seeing Gran in the morning, a midday trip to the Falcon Inn, a mountain of food, an animated film, sleeping, drinking and then a Poirot murder mystery on TV. This year, being on the Agatha Christie binge that I am, I figured that I would have a read of a Poirot novel to get me in the mood.
Having focused my Poirot reading on the Middle-Eastern mysteries so far with the intrigue that they present to the reader, Hercule Poirot’s Christmas is a much more traditional Christie novel. All the necessary elements are there: the big house in the countryside, a rich old man, the ‘black sheep’ of the family returning, mysterious strangers, jewels and a squabbling family.
The story starts on December 22nd and centres on a family Christmas to be hosted by Simeon Lee, a millionaire who made his money in South Africa as a diamond miner. Alfred and Lydia Lee, his son and daughter-in-law respectively, live with him in a large country house as…

The Bakiga Window: Don't Piss Off The Fish!

The air is always surprisingly crisp around the edges of Lake Bunyonyi first thing in the morning. The sun starts to come up around 6.30am, but the heat takes a short while longer to break through the low-lying mist and clouds. 
It is Tuesday 19th April and I am lazily dangling my feet into the cool waters of Lake Bunyonyi, from a jetty on Itambira Island. This time of the day is the most peaceful on the island and at first the only other noise is the lapping of the lake's deep blue waters against the legs of the jetty. 
After a few minutes of acclimatising my legs to the exceedingly cool water, I slip into the lake and momentarily my breath is knocked out of my lungs. The extreme contrast with the early morning air temperature comes as a serious shock to the system – but it makes you feel alive. I give myself a few minutes of splashing around, just long enough to kick start my body, before I emerge once more from the water to take in the view. 
The time passes slowly and after a…

The Bakiga Window: Your Life is a Product of Your Decisions

As you move through life, you realise that moral teachings come in a variety of forms and from multitudinous sources. It maybe from a particular holy book, or even from a wise village elder – it may even be that the writing is on the wall.
It is Friday 15th April and I am taking an hour or so out of the day to wander around the Kigezi High School compound, to talk to a few students about their experiences here and to keep an eye on what my own students are up to.
As I cast my eyes about, I notice that in a slight change from last year, the messages promoting good moral values are no longer just on miniature signposts planted into the flowerbeds; they are now painted using stencils onto the walls of the classrooms around the main central quadrant.
The sign that imidiately catches the eye of most tells students to, “avoid pornographic films.” Indeed, I am later to learn that there is a photograph, taken by one of my own students, with that very message in the background and me…