My husband is my hero. He gets out of bed before us and Birkenstock raised high above his head, he searches the bathrooms for roaches. As soon as I hear the crunch, I know I am safe. Then we all get up, peel away the mosquito nets and get ready to start our day. He also searches the apartment before we enter, checking if it is roach safe. This, in my mind, is the definition of love.
Today I went to the police station to complete my security check. This is to ensure that I am safe to teach children and that I have no murky criminal past. All the new teachers squeezed into the school bus with some trepidation, fearing that this might take some time. I quickly discovered that Ugandans have a somewhat different sense of time and efficiency than the Trinis. It is a welcome change. However the experience was not without its particular version of charm.
When we arrived we first parked on a football pitch where lots of sweet children came running up to look at the white people. Then we realized we were in the police training center and got back into the bus to climb further up the hill. Once we parked, yet again, we had some difficulty locating the correct building. They all looked pretty shabby, and rather non-police-like but what did I know? We were finally directed to a creaky staircase than ran outside next to a collection of mud huts with people washing clothes and children chasing a tire. I thought that maybe this was police housing, but I never found out. Once inside we followed the signs for Interpol which were hand written and stuck beside arrows all along the hall way. I was dying to take a photo but didn’t want to get into any trouble with the Uganda authorities. Not yet, anyway.
Once we found the correct room we were asked to fill out a few forms, hand in some photos, pay 12,000 shillings ( $6) and write a letter stating that we were of good moral standing. Then we were fingerprinted, each finger twice but the thumbs only once. I was directed to a bathroom that resembled a Turkish prison ( in my imagination) to wash our hands with a bar of blue soap.
That was it! Done. Back in the bus and back to school before schedule. We find out on Friday if Interpol has anything on us.
The afternoon was spent furniture and appliance shopping downtown. We are moving out of the cockroach palace into a new two bedroom house in a few days and we need to buy essential items such as beds and a fridge. Everything has to be paid for in cash so it takes some time to withdraw all the funds. The fridges here are small, the ovens are also mini and are attached to a gas tank, the beds are fitted with firm foam mattresses. It was an unusual but very friendly shopping experience but the best part was the journey home. This is when I lost my Boda virginity. A Boda Boda is a motorcyle and they are all over the streets, being the easiest and cheapest form of transport. My eldest daughter who I will from this point forth call Trooper ( in contrast to her younger sister who we shall call Princess) climbed onto the Boda between her dad and the driver. I got my very own Boda. (Princess was not with us, thank God!) Without helmets and with my stomach in my mouth we set off. “Be careful This is my first time!” I yelled into the driver’s ear.
It was thrilling, a little scary, but we all arrived safe and sound. Two Bodas. Three passengers. Cost 3500 shillings. ($1.75). A bargain and a cheaper thrill than a roller coaster.
Now I am writing this in the dark. There is a power strike brought on by a ferocious rain storm. I am dripping, my jeans are dripping, but at least I am no longer dusty.
Photos will be forthcoming but will take patience and some high speed internet.