Yesterday was a most frustrating day. I suddenly felt trapped, overwhelmed and generally in need of a Starbucks, a decent shoe shop and a group of girl friends all piled into a living room, wine and laughter a- plenty. I know there will be days like this, I am aware that my rose tinted glasses may smudge now and again, I just need to distract myself until the ennui passes.
My extremely patient husband offered an excellent distraction by way of a drive around the neighbourhood. Between work, the grocery stores and home, I haven’t let myself out of the cage much recently. And this drive was an eye opener. When I lived in Trinidad one of the greatest frustrations was my inability to walk anywhere. I was car bound, and (and here it is: confession time) I was a total wimp about driving there so really I was house bound and dependant on rides. Terrible. Anyway here my frustrations are similar in that Kampala is not a walking city. Whenever we want to go out, we need to take the Beast. Anyone from the burbs will be familiar with this concept, but as a true inner city girl, this hurts.
So back to the point. Yesterday I carried my bad mood into the car and as we drove around and observed life around us, the mood slowly started to slip off. Mere minutes from our house, life is very non urban. In fact, it closely resembles an African village and it is easy to see how anyone who has made the move from the country side to Kampala could feel instantly at home. It emphasizes my previous point about Kampala being a place of two cities.
Turning left outside our gates the road continued on its bumpy route for a very long way. So long in fact that we needed to turn the Beast around rather than continue and risk getting lost. Without pause there were small shops, stalls and many children lining the road, alongside sleeping dogs and the odd bemused looking horned cow. The little girls here, who mainly wear the clothes that children in the Big West neither want nor fit, were by and large attired in what seemed to be old party frocks. The clothes that we saved so lovingly for that special occasion are now mud splattered yet happily worn by smiling children who yell “Hello Muzungu!” to each and every foreigner that drives past.
By the time I got home, I felt refreshingly alive and freed from the dusty cobwebs of my grumpy mood. I was reminded that I live in Africa, and no matter how cross I may get, I love the fact that each and every day an eye opening world exists right outside my gate.