Kampala Nights

I don’t sleep well here, not yet anyway. I need my shipping to arrive so that I can have two pillows, one to sleep on and one to put over my head. Either that or I will be investing in a pair of ear plugs.

Once I am awoken by some noise, the buzzing of a mosquito, the coughing of a husband, I am awake and there is nothing I can do about it. I simply lie there listening to the sounds of the night. I am of the opinion that one of the main disadvantages to marriage is the sharing of sleep. If one person sleeps badly the other does too. In Trinidad we had one of those incredible bowling ball beds (so called because if a bowling ball were rolled next to you, you would not feel it. I have no idea who thought that anyone would be bowling on a bed at night, but there you have it.) In any case, the bed was amazing and my sleep was good. The mattress we have now is called orthopedic, translation: hard as hell foam that is like sleeping on the floor and therefore good for your back. I will get used to it in time but what may take longer are the sounds of the night.

It is so tempting in these first weeks to think back to our previous life and compare. I don’t vocalize these thoughts as I am intent on staying positive and making sure everyone is up beat and cheerful most of the time. We are not keen on complaining and morose behaviour is discouraged. Did you hear that Princess?

However, I cannot help, while lying awake for hours at night, but to compare the sounds of a Trini night to one in Kampala. Nights in Trinidad were accompanied by a chorus of frogs, high pitched chirping tiny frogs that went on and on and on. Crickets played their part too. Mostly the sounds were drowned out by the white noise of the air conditioner. It was a pleasant atmosphere in which to sleep.

A Kampala night, in our new house where our bed lies under a open window, is a whole different story. There is a loud African disco that play quite intriguing African music until about 10pm. Then the dogs start. It seems every dog in Kampala conducts some massive conversation back and forth between the hills. It reminds me of the scene in 101 Dalmatians when the dogs invent a help line over the country side.

In addition to the dogs we live very close to a Mosque. Need I say more? The Mosques here are not synchronized so often we can hear the calls to prayer overlapping in stereo, some from afar and one very near. I am pleased to say that the voice calling the Muslims to awake is far gentler than those in Indonesia that seem to scream “GET UP YOU LAZY LOT AND START TO PRAY!!!!!”  This foghorn projects a slightly different tone. More of the: “OK. Time to roll over, get up and come over to pray.” As you can see I have had the occasion to listen carefully to all the intonations.

Then the birds start and at about the same time, the Roosters. It is still not light yet but the animals think it is wise to get a head start.  Once the dawn breaks the smell of burning charcoal wafts into our room as people in the mud and brick houses all around us begin to cook breakfast.

By the time my alarm goes off I am finally fast asleep.


Filed under Uganda

5 responses to “Kampala Nights

  1. MaryAnn Harrison

    Hello Samantha
    Just to say that I love your blog. It is just like reading a short story everyday. It is vivid, emotions and images and senses.
    One evening Jill read me around 3 different blogs. England, and your arrival. I cooked my dinner as Jill read to me(thanks to handsfree phone) and it was just as good as listening to my favorite music.
    You and your family are on an amazing life adventure. You are brave and strong. Thanks for sharing. I will look often. Hello to Francois

  2. caryn ferguson

    why not put on white noise on your ipod? or drink plenty, plenty wine so you have no choice to fall in a deep slumber or run like forest gump did so by the time you hit your floor, i mean bed you’ll drift off into lala land. thats a bummer. i know how precious sleep is. i hope you find it soon. xx

  3. You are aware that there are pillows sold in Kampala, aren’t you? Lots and lots and lots of cheap, comfy pillows.

    And earplugs.

    And mosquito nets.

    And literally everything else.

    • 3limes

      So there is another insomniac in Uganda I see! Yes I have seen the pillows and nets and plugs….But with some poetic license and my shipping arriving in a day or two I should be fine. I am very happy and impressed by Kampala so far. As you can see I am a newbie to the town.

  4. Oh well. Welcome to Uganda. May your stay be nothing less than you expected … and nothing more?

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