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my favourite part of kampala (standard:other, 2165 words)
Author: DAVID TUMUSIIMEAdded: Feb 21 2003Views/Reads: 2354/1178Story vote: 0.00 (0 votes)
some say it is a story, others say it is an essay. what do you think it is?
 



MY FAVOURITE PART OF KAMPALA DAVID TUMUSIIME 

In my favourite part of our Kampala city the men sit on both sides of
the road under shop shades talking and scratching their genitals in the 
lunch hour and in the afternoon time. The women wear blue scarves on 
their heads and aprons round their waists and carry food trays before 
them. The children walk with upturned faces, backpacks slung on their 
shoulders, staring at everything. 

In my favourite part of our city there is never a boring moment if you
have the eyes to see, the nose to smell, the tongue to taste, the ears 
to listen. 

In the early morning, while all the other parts of the city still sleep,
school children struggle groggy-eyed from bed, opening a window, you 
can hear the casual labourer-men cursing greeting each other of how is 
the morning.  They are strong men and they show their strength in their 
shirtless chests and the bellowing strength of their voices that come 
strong and clear from their chests and singsong like church organ 
music.  The women came earlier, are already working hard, the aluminum 
saucepans they use to prepare breakfast tickering nosily as they are 
washed, banged against each other. 

The rest of the city still sleeps but this part is awake. Up country
travelers who slept in the buses that will shortly take them there 
stumble out them squinting and groaning and stretching their limbs. The 
men complain they are hungry and shout for breakfast. The women look 
for the bathrooms and check their luggage and count their money once 
again. The buses stand dumb in the sparsely peopled park like 
tree-leaning elephants and their drivers are hardly to be seen, a 
worrying sign as the journey up country is long and is started early. 
Everyone keeps a lookout for his or her bus driver and those in the 
park are followed reverently. 

The vagrants that sleep the night on the shop fronts sit up in their
squalor staring around them with undazed eyes, not quite ready to wake 
up, resentful. They yawn and scratch themselves and do not expect any 
food. 

Wives and house girls stand in the windows and in their doorways yelling
at the men they sent for water to prepare breakfast. The men can not 
come faster, groaning up the stairs of the flats, water splashing on 
the stairs from the jerrycans, their black chests glittering. The men 
mutter under their breath what they think of these women, straining up 
the stairs with a full jerrycan in each taut hand. 

The boys in their shorts and girls in their pinafores trudge silently in
the street in the mist, backpacks slung on their bending backs. They 
talk little, their voices strange in the silence, their shoes tramping 
on the cement pavements. They must be in school by seven o'clock. 

The women have been cooking in the market and now the air smells
strongly of frying cassava, pancakes, there is the soft but 
unmistakable smell of blueband on bread.  There is black tea being 
served, hot and steaming in the saucepan. There is black tea with milk, 
coffee. To eat there is the cassava, on good days, maize cobs. 

Eating now is the primal instinct. It does not matter how, food must be
entering the mouth, chewed and swallowed. Those with seats and tables 
before them bend close to their plates and drink their tea and coffee 
hunched protectively over it. 

When the first people to eat finish, workers eat first, work begins.  In
this area the buildings are almost all flats, the least a building is 
is two storied. In all these flats the first floor is for shops, 
commercial business. There are restaurants, dry goods shops, office 
stationary shops, clothes' shops, vehicle repair garages, money forex 
bureaus.  The shops on the first floors open up one after the other 
like people yawning and stretching and getting out of bed slowly.  The 
great iron welded doors clang loudly on their rusty hinges as they open 
inwards or outwards. Early morning light rushes in. Rats on top of 
counters and shelves squeaking with scratching feet scatter to hide. 

The shop proprietors stand in front of their shops, big-bellied men and
big-breasted women, shouting for runners.  The runners are like errand 


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