Tag Archives: green

Countdown days and goodbye eyes

I hit Kampala with the ground running and it has been full steam ahead as term 3 is underway. Princess has created a countdown calendar, sadly not with colourful markers and giant paper but rather on the computer; in any case there is a calendar that she dutifully crosses off each day. It is entitled “Days Until We See Daddy” and we have 51 days to go.
There is huge relief all round that we went to Bahrain, saw it, explored it, ( it is tiny and doesn’t take too long to see nearly ALL if it), visited the school, saw our future house, imagined how often we could eat at Johnny Rockets without getting fat, things like that. There is some comfort in knowing what things look like and where we are going.
Of course this also means that I am very aware of what I am leaving. I have returned looking at Kampala with “goodbye eyes” and see the green so much sharper, the colour so much brighter. Our drive home from the airport seemed to be in Technicolor. Princess said “look at that lady with all the eggs on her head!” That is not a line we will ever hear in Bahrain.
So I resolve to love my last days here and soak up all the best of Kampala and brush off the frustrations. I now have one foot in the desert and one in the jungle; I am split in two. So in these last days I will eat as much sweet pineapple as possible, laugh with my friends, walk the dusty streets, see the eggs atop the heads, rise above the pot holes and boda jams. They will all too soon be a memory. I am imprinting these last images onto my mind for safekeeping.

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Give you my sweet soul dreams

 

There is some music that follows you through different chapters. Or some music that when you hear it is sharply poignant of a particular time.

Recently I have been listening to one of my favorite all time albums, Goodbye Jumbo by World Party. It takes me back to a time, to a place soft with the taste of regret wrapped in hope and now it is following me again, like a warm hand keeping me safe.

 

I have had a strange time of it lately, too strange to wrap words around and yet too strange to write about anything else. There are times in life when everything changes, or tilts, and life and the way you see things is never the same again. The older you get, the more moments like this you have and yet they are so very few. Giving birth, losing a parent, having an accident, these are events that somehow shift you internally and leave things unbalanced for a time, as if the pinball machine has tilted and is not yet right.  And I wonder as I walk the aisles of the grocery store, how many other people who appear normal on the outside have tiny fissures cracking on the inside. But through it all comes a taste of change, of the chrysalis unravelling and something new being born.

 

And so my sweet soul dreams follow me in the car, tipping over sloping hills, catching the golden light as it bounces on the lush green. Kampala is sexy green at the moment, fertile and fecund land, mulched earth and dripping wet gigantic leaves. Everything is sprouting, growing and changing.

 

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Leaving the dust behind

Ok so now I get it. After 6 weeks of smelly and loud, very loud Kampala we finally climbed aboard the Beast and headed to Jinja. Jinja is the second biggest town in Uganda, it is about an hour and a half from Kampala and it sits on the mouth of the Nile. A backpacking industry has gathered on the banks of the Nile, offering world class river rafting, kayaking, horse back riding, Quad biking and for the people who do not envy those young overly imbibed 20 somethings, the gentle relaxation of a glass of wine beside an astonishing view. Within 20 minutes of leaving Kampala I was confronted with the colour green. Suddenly a land of green and plenty, gentle rolling hills of tea and sugar cane dotted with small villages and the bluest widest sky loomed ahead. This was a different Uganda.

fields of green

I met my husband on the Red Sea but we fell in love on the Nile. Literally. We sailed a Feluka from Aswan to Luxor under a still giant moon. That was a gentle long Nile, not very wide, but teeming with life. We were constantly amazed at how small children swam and submerged themselves in the filthy water. The Nile was a water highway, filled with boats, large and small.

17 and a half years later we were back at the Nile, but this Nile was wide, mighty and wild. Its waters licked the red earth and strained to reach the green pastures. It groaned as it pressed against the Owen Dam, angry that is was refused entry to the wilder rapids beyond. Egrets and Cormorant birds flew from rock to rock while the Nile perch and Tilapia played deep below. It was marvelous to imagine that each drop of water would eventually spill into the Mediterranean 4132 miles away.

Our hotel was perched rather precariously on a cliff. We booked ourselves into a family Banda ( small house ) but once the infestation of cockroaches was revealed we stomped out with all the indignation that Trooper and Princess could muster. Cockroaches, I was brave about, but cockroaches inside the mosquito nets was a deal breaker. Once the flouncing and stomping ended we were directed by management to new quarters. We spent the night squeezed into a magical tent. All zipped up and tucked into bed; we could hear the roar of the Nile nearly a mile below. My outside shower faced an expanse of water that caressed two banks. It is a truly peaceful and happy place.

On the way back home, after a few hours spent swimming in the Nile, paddling on a raft and looking at some wild rapids known as Bujogali falls, it was a shock to the senses to hit the smog and congestion of Kampala streets. Just before the turn off to the spanking new high way that wraps around the Northern end of the city, a large truck sat on the Beast. The driver, realizing that he has just missed the turn, decided to reverse his truck to remedy the situation. Unfortunately for all concerned, he reversed straight into us until a chunk of truck was sitting on our bonnet. Poor Beast. As if it wasn’t ugly enough.

Nile view

I have glimpsed the Pearl of Africa and I can’t wait to go back and explore. Find me the next long weekend and show me the way.

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