Monthly Archives: April 2011

Cases from the Uganda Strange Files.

What have I seen recently?

1. An owl perched on a ledge above the school Bursar’s office. It was asleep but I swear it was still staring at me. It was just fast asleep staring. It was beautiful, all tucked up into itself, furry and tempting to touch. The Ugandans were concerned as apparently an owl is an omen of death. However those of us who do not believe in owl omens were transfixed.

2.  A moth. I killed it, I confess, as it was eating my curtains. I kid you not, within 5 minutes a whole troop of ants appeared out of nowhere, surrounded the dead moth, picked it up and carried it away. Okay I confess I disturbed the parade of the dead moth about half way across the room as it was attracting more ants and it was starting to be ugly. So I swept ants and dead moth into the bin. I hope they are all happy.

3. A police man stopped my car at a security check, opened up the most obvious place I would keep a bomb, the glove compartment, and then proceeded to ask me to buy him lunch.

4. A deluge. It rained so much one night that I literally had to drive through a brand new lake in the morning. The girls asked me to drive “really fast and make a huge splash” but I, always the sensible one, and mindful of the condition of the car I will need to sell really soon, erred on the side of caution and drove really slowly. The water still covered all four tires. Crazy rain. By 4.30pm it was gone.

5. My fridge had been broken for 2 weeks, only staying cold intermittently. I had no idea how to go about fixing a fridge. There is no yellow pages here, no handy number to call. What is a girl with spoilt milk to do? Driving home from the grocery store with Trooper we realized we were just behind a blue pickup truck with the words Mr. Chilly painted in white along the back. Below was the number clearly written for ease of viewing.

“Call it!” I instructed Trooper, trying not to sound as excited as a person who just saw her favourite and much coveted Prada boots on sale.

She did. He stopped to answer the phone. I pulled up alongside his truck, waved frantically at him while he was answering my call.

“Do you fix fridges” I asked in exactly the same tone I would use to ask “are those boots really only $399 and in my size?”

He answered yes. I asked if he was busy right now and he said no.

So he followed me home and fixed my fridge. Easy peasy.

And that is the tale of how I picked up Mr. Chilly on the way home.

TIA.

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Filed under Uganda

Twisted tree roots and water child carry

This is not going to be a full look at the search engines, we will save that for another time when we need a lot of cheering up. But two things did catch my eye today, more for their poetic imagery and tone than anything else.

twisted tree roots

Now I can only imagine what led you to type this. You woke up feeling a little out of sorts; you looked outside and saw only concrete, steel and traffic. You could imagine the noise of the city while you were quietly sealed up behind the window and you suddenly longed for a walk in a forest, a park, a place where nature’s knotty membranes would speak to you more than the man made rush outside. It is disconcerting to feel so apart from our surroundings, a sense of not belonging, a disjointed oxymoron.

When you want to run your hands over nature’s knotty membranes

And not the salty city metal bars

When you prefer the shade of an ancient tree

over the plaster of another man’s house

when you prefer the rain soaked dark earth

to the slippery slick concrete

when you search for solace in twisted tree roots.

So for you there is this:

water child carry

I love the idea of a water child, some small innocent nymph like creature with webbed toes and effervescent skin. My imagination is running circles around this one.

Water child carry me

to your hidden world

of whispering reeds

dancing to the silent  aqueous tune

water child carry our drenched thoughts

down deeper into your deep blue bath

But I think you mean the water a child carries, every day, on her back, her shoulders and sometimes on her head. The community of children who walk and fetch and carry water every evening from the broken pipe down the hill to the shack she calls a home.

For you there is this:

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Filed under pen and paper, Photography

The tale of my birthday cake

Funny story. Regular readers of 3limes might be familiar with the quintessential Uganda Cake story. It was a sober warning to many not to trust a cake that comes from the hands of a Ugandan Patisserie, no, far better to bake your own. Well as I mentioned just yesterday my sweet girls had made me a chocolate cheese cake, showed it to me at breakfast time and then we  spent most of the day in anticipation of the wonderful after school treat that was to come.

Princess carefully sliced three portions, placed them on plates and solemnly carried them to the dining room table. They looked at each other with shifty eyes, one of them shrugged; I think I heard a “shhh”.

Then we took a bite and the truth was out, the cat was out of the bag, the jig was up, the spell was broken.

“This tastes like onion.” I said, trying not to sound too surprised.

“The texture is lovely, the chocolate so smooth and yummy but after the first hit of cocoa on the tongue something is wrong.” I said, trying to sound intrigued.

Turns out there was quite a story behind the cake.

In order to make the cheese cake they had to ask Sarah our amazing beyond words house keeper to buy cream cheese for them while they were at school. Princess handed over her pocket money and off Sarah went, to four different shops (this is Kampala) on four different bodas and finally found some. Only the cream cheese she found was cream cheese with onions and chives. Sarah, not being familiar with chocolate cheesecake, let alone the hummingbird cafe Chocolate cheesecake, had no idea what cream cheese even was.

The girls immediately saw the problem but were too embarrassed to tell Sarah that she had erred in her choice of cream cheese, since she has gone to so much trouble. So they made it anyway. Two thirds regular cream cheese (that we already had in the fridge) and one third onion and chives.

And let me tell you: chocolate might go well with chilli, orange, or even rosemary, so I hear, but it does not marry well with the sharp sour taste of onion.

We need to wait until Sarah takes her day off on Saturday before we can toss it in the bin.

Handsome Husband laughed. “Looks like you got Ugandan Birthday Cake too!’

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Filed under Family Stuff, Might be funny