Field Notes: Uganda

Relayed to Division Street from a loyal reader:

Mutembe (how are you?),

I just have to share with you my day yesterday . . . we headed to the heart of Kampala to catch a bus to Kigumba (the final destination on the grant distribution, yay!). The walk to the bus park winds into the heart of the city and as we walked through the crowded marketplace many people looked at us, but instead of saying muzungoo (white guy) as usual, they said “Obama” with expectant looks. We responded with “Obama!!!” and then we’d yell “Obama” together practically jumping up and down. Soon crowds of people were shaking our hands and the name Obama moved like waves through the market stalls. It was amazing, people wanted to celebrate with us, assuming we were Americans (and for once I didn’t qualify my response to that assumption).

They seemed as happy as I was and though I know the sailing ahead will not always be smooth it was asthough that single word, Obama, conveyed something more than language could. My 20 mins of sleep didn’t hinder my enjoyment of the day in the least.

Upon arriving in Kigumba (after 7 hours on a very hot bus on pretty bumpy roads) we were directed to an inn called the White House, I didn’t think twice about it, but sure enough, it had a presidential theme. We are literally in the middle of nowhere in Western Uganda and I happen to walk into a place with every room named after a US president on the day after the US election, life is incredible sometimes. We stayed in the Habraham Lincoln Room (ha!) and it even had an en suite bathroom; cement room with a porcelain hole in the ground (oddly it felt almost luxurious). As I left this morning the owner told me to pick which room would become the Obama Room (I broke the good news to him the day before) and can you guess which I chose . . .

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