On Goodbye #Kampala and Being Equatorial

Today is my last day in Uganda and with all major engagements dealt with, I decided to go see more of the country outside of Kampala.

At the Equator Restaurant
At the Equator Restaurant

Sheila arrived at about 9 a.m. and my preference was to go to Jinja, which is where the Blue Nile and the White Nile meet. But we first had to go to Nakirebe, where Mugisha’s school was having a Visiting Day. Nakirebe is about an hour and a half out of Kampala. Good main road, which turned into a tricky path up and down the clayey side of hills. We used motorbikes for this second stretch. Met Mugisha, he’d scored an amazing 98/100 in mathematics this term. Tall kid, all angles, looks like his sister.

It was a bit too late to start heading to Jinja so that destination was shelved in favour of Mpigi. Mpigi is where the Equator runs through Uganda, dividing the world into northern and southern hemispheres. My fixation with lines and the complexity of the many lines that intersect within me, intersect as my many me’s, my entire sense of cardinality, made this a destination to look forward to.

We arrived Mpigi and it promptly started raining. Luckily it was just a notch above a drizzle and was done by the time we polished off lunch at the Equator Restaurant—spaghetti and chicken for me, chips and sausage for small madam.

There were a number of mzungus there, taking photos, as well as Asians most likely Chinese. We went shopping for gifts items–easy and very efficient tourism operation going on at Mpigi. I bought myself a gorilla. Finally, we took photos. I lost the gorilla on the way back to Kampala though so I hope the Kenyans can furnish me with a  similar primate?

Uganda is a lot like central Nigeria, especially my native Jos, with hills of earth where mine are hills of rocks. The weather has been cool and the people have been warm.

As I prepare to head to Nairobi where I will be attending the second year anniversary celebrations of the Jalada Writer’s Cooperative, of which I am a proud member, I wish to thank all the people who have made this visit to Kampala memorable. In no particular order—Alazar Desta and his staff for the hospitality at the Acacia Hotel, Chijioke Amu-Nnadi who is my friend and one of the finest poets now writing and who has shared Kampala with me, Saddiq Dzukogi for coming along with us so far away from home and comfort to expand his horizons bravely, Michael Afenfia, whose novel about the Beautiful Game we published and which you must read, my host Beverley Nambozo Nsengiyunva, and to Bwesigye Mwesigire and Naseemah Mohammed—who organized the Writivism Festival 2015. To Sheila Abaho. And the old friends re-met, new friends found and faces and smiles added to names known from cyberspace and other arena in which I have immersed, and impressed, myself.

Finally—to every person with a good heart who carries a pen in their hand. Salutes and solidarity.


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