Tag Archives: elections

Popcorn time, Emma Bovary and Elections

Quiet lazy days at home as school is closed for a mid term break. Museveni, fondly known here at M7 has been re elected and so far the streets have been calm and troubles averted. The police and military presence has been thick; last night we saw men in full camouflage garb, flak jackets, operation helmets and guns at the ready lining the streets and circling the roundabouts. There are few cars on the street and the city feels tense yet quiet.


We have been profiting from quiet days at home to catch up on reading and movies and some gentle socializing. A friendly BBQ found us sitting round a table on a lovely deck, candle light tucked into hurricane lamps and flowing wine. The children lolled on sofas watching Harry Potter while we talked and talked and talked some more.


Then yesterday, pool side at some good friends, sipping frozen Margaritas, I discovered the perfect way to spend a Sunday afternoon. Happy children dipped in and out of the pool and we talked and talked some more.


I have finished Madame Bovary for the second time. With a separation of 15 years between readings I had forgotten the details, vaguely remembering a rocking horse drawn cab, lots of black ruched taffeta, Emma’s luscious hair and her bumbling and ineffectual husband. I will be teaching the trials of Emma when I return to school and hope the students found it as romantic and exacting as I did. I am convinced they will have read nothing like it before and it will surely push their intellectual buttons.


There has been a lot of popcorn and movie time, some old favourites revisited and some new. I watched Toy Story 3 for the first time and shyly hid my tears at the end lest my family think me insane. Out of Africa, in a darkened room on a sunny African afternoon was splendid yet tragically sad. Princess lay on the carpet afterwards and asked why we had watched such a sad film. “ The saddest movie I have ever seen”, she declared. Then Stealing Beauty transported me to the divine Tuscan country side and the idyllic nature of beauty both physical and transient. I adored for the second time Liv Tyler’s wide eyed innocence and that house, my dream house. I rued the day I had lost the sound track, although come to think of it, it was on cassette so where would I play it now anyway?


The King’s Speech: had to be seen before the predicted Oscar win that he so deserves. What a fine and tender film. 127 Hours, harrowing and unforgettable but a slice of extraordinary film making and acting. Princess was out at a sleep over, obviously this was not a film for her sweet eyes, but Trooper admitted it was far more terrifying and disturbing than Friday the 13th that she had watched with a friend earlier this week.


Tomorrow evening I am setting off on a business trip, as Handsome Husband amusingly referrers to it. It is a spot of Professional Development. I am to be the student for once and am being sent on a course in Nairobi. I will be gone 2 nights and when I return I am going camping. Somehow I have been led astray once again. I have been persuaded to set foot in a tent, less than two months after the last time in Tsavo. How is this possible? I have been bribed with a large campfire and plenty of champagne. I am simply a tart, what can I say?



Filed under Family Stuff

How many days until the Election of 2011?

Seen in the newspapers this Sunday:

Not a good start if the newspapers can’t agree.

The election will be held on February 18th.  Many people are fleeing the country for the slopes of Switzerland, the wines of Capetown, the cold of England or the plains of Ethiopia. Those that are staying here are stocking up on canned food, water and tucking cash into emergency envelopes. I am buying lots of DVDs and baking chocolate in preparation for long days at home.

I am optimistic that things will be calm and sane. I hope the newspapers sort themselves out. The first editions of the above papers that came out Saturday night read 13 days and 11 days. The Vision (the government sponsored paper) actually corrected itself before Sunday early morning, amending the countdown days to 12.

You’d think the government would know.

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Filed under Uganda

Choosing what I want to see

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.


Filed under When the rose tint fades