I confess I am not terribly engaged with current events here in Uganda. I am not political; I am not saving the world, working for VSO or an NGO. I am a teacher living a predominantly expat life style here in Kampala. I have nothing to apologize for, this is just the way it has worked and how I choose to live. I am aware, very aware of my surroundings and perhaps if I were more engaged with the reality around me I would not be able to live here, as I do. It is a hard place, rife with corruption and people living a hand to mouth existence. So I leave all the newspaper reading to Handsome Husband and I stick to my IB literature texts.
Obviously I am aware that there is an election looming, it is impossible not be aware of the congestion during the political rallies, the posters everywhere, the game people play guessing the date. The latest is February 18th. Some people are worried; some say nothing will change while some say nothing should change. I am staying detached; to live otherwise would be too difficult for me. Not for everyone, just for me. It is very tricky to teach your children that we live in a democracy where an election may very well be a foregone conclusion. There are issues associated with this that I cannot discuss here, there are students I teach who are personally connected to the people who hold the reins of power here, so I will not write about it.
What I will write about is the funnier side to living in Uganda. Funny for some.
Like the teacher who can no longer use her printer because a mouse crawled in and died. Only after she could no longer ignore the disgusting smell did she figure out what had happened.
Or the small droplet of mouse poo I found on my desk when I came into school today. Maybe I will choose to live in denial and pretend that it was a scrap of black eraser flake. Yes, that works, it must be that.
Or the mysterious hole in our garden that we really hope has nothing to do with a snake.
Or the sweet baby gecko that lives next to my tooth brush.
Or the fact that a Boda Boda crashed into the car and broke the rear light.
Or the dog I pass everyday whose nipples are scraping the red dust as she walks.
No instead I will focus on the gorgeous red light that makes me up every morning, the sun breaking through in a haze of pink optimism; or the chatterbox bird that has a long story to tell each morning while I drink my coffee. I will think about those Vervet Monkeys that hop around while we rehearse the pantomime, leaping from tree to tree and cackling to each other as we stand outside during the warm and sudden sunset. It will be the tiny children who carry their Jerry Cans filled with water, without complaint, laughing with each other while barefoot they run home to help their mother’s with the chores.
These are the images I will keep in my mind. Not the mouse poo, dead mice or elections.