Tag Archives: commute

Chasing Sunrise

It is the little things, the sunrises, the sunsets, the gasp of cool air, the unexpected summer shower, the splash of colour in an otherwise dark day, the clouds that appear to dance.

The first time I really noticed the sunrise I gasped. “Look at that sky girls!” I said as I was driving. The sky was tumbled rose, the sun was rising slowly above a mist, hardly touching the palm trees but casting a shy pink glance over the desert. I came to school and told some of my students about it. Most of them had never noticed the sunrise, driving to school with eyes closed and ears locked into their private music. One asked me why I hadn’t stopped and taken a photo. I explained I didn’t want to be late.

And I heard myself and promised that the next day I would stop the car for a moment. Breathe, grab the sunrise by its shoulders and say hello.

And I did.

Four times so far. Four sunrises. My prize for getting up that early. And I have learnt to be thankful for my drive to school. I have no traffic, living at the nether end of the Sandy Desert Isle. And we have no ugliness, which is why I chose a house where I did. Because you have to find the pretty where you can.

And I started thinking about all the morning drives I have done. How different they are, my ‘school runs”

When they were tiny, we walked to pre-school, and in the winter I pulled a sled. Then a change of school and a typical Montreal drive that started out with the striking beauty as I crossed the mountain and ended with a nonsensical and mental breakdown inducing red traffic light.

And another change of school and this time a short drive through slush and slippery roads, grey and heavy with winter in the cold, and a sunny, happy walk in the summer, past a park and trees laden with green.

And did we really change schools again? This time a longer drive, to three schools, one for each of us.No sunrise between the tall buildings, traffic lights, crowded roads with lines upon lines of cars waiting to arrive.

In Trinidad we lived on the same street as our school and won the shortest commute in history prize. We walked swiftly past the cars waiting to turn into school, waving at classmates and bouncing our backpacks on our backs.

In Uganda it was a winding drive, over potholes or past goats and chickens and for a time we walked.

And now it is the sunrise and the desert; the open spaces where our eyes can see as far as they wish.

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Filed under Family Stuff, Finding the Pretty

Come walk with me


So let’s start at the very beginning. This is very a small shop that I pass at the start of my walk. Notice the gorgeous early morning light, the men making their early morning deliveries.

Blue skies, billboards, traffic.

This is the Boda Boda stand. Every morning they see me walking and every morning they offer me a ride.  Boda drivers sit and wait for customers on corners just like this all over Kampala.

And I as brave the traffic and the nasty blue and white Matatous ( taxis) I look wistfully about for a pavement, a sidewalk, a scrap of concrete to call my own.

A fruit stand is being set up, getting ready for the day.

Here is the Traffic Police Woman. Everyone is scared of her power and her uncanny ability to keep her uniform sparkling white despite all this red dust.

I’m not sure what time Sahid opens up for business. I have never seen him. I fear his beard trimming days might be over.

A patient and non-nonplussed Trooper waits as I lag behind snapping photos with my iphone. This is the spot that Handsome Husband calls The Soup. There is no logic to the movement of traffic in this spot; it is a war of metal and wheels.

Matoke. Sold any time. This is the busy market corner that seems to never sleep. No matter what time of day, Matoke is being sold.

Now were are getting to the worst bit of the walk. This is the last leg ( excuse the pun but I do worry about losing a leg on a daily basis) and the hairiest part of the walk. Not only do we have no sidewalk but we have a deep ditch; the thought of falling keeps me on my toes.  Cars here drive fast and I have no doubt whatsoever that they would knock me into the ditch without a second’s thought.

Fanta, jerry can, ditch…

Minutes away, the walk is almost over.

I never walk if it has rained over night; the red dust will be mud and my chances of slipping into a putrid ditch would double.  Despite the traffic, the speed, the ditch, and the smell I have grown to love my walk. Ear phones in and 25 minutes later I arrive at school.

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Filed under Uganda