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december! december! (standard:non fiction, 532 words)
Author: DAVID TUMUSIIMEAdded: Jan 11 2005Views/Reads: 1815/0Story vote: 0.00 (0 votes)
the lovely charm of december in kampala, uganda
 



December! December! 

December is here! December is here! And the month where you'll not once
find me glum begins! Christmas is in December but Christmas is not why 
I love December so much. Nor is it for the school holidays. I have 
loved December before I knew any of these. 

Only in December when the rains come is the sky filled with green
falling grasshoppers sweeter than roast maize, softer than the breast 
of any chicken. RAIN! RAIN! In December. Not the tantalising little 
showers of other months.  Real rain! 

Rain in the afternoon. Rain roaring so loudly that radio and TV tuned
high are inaudible. Rain whining. Rain angry. Rain all afternoon and me 
in one room listening. Looking. 

Three sweaters when this rain is over and I'll still feel the cold.
Shivering, dribbly nose, the few teeth left in my mouth chattering, 
chilled. No bleaker sky after rain than a December sky. Still, still, 
there's Wandegeya! Wandegeya and a certain bar! 

I'll walk to Wandegeya not because I can't pay the taxi fare but because
along Bombo road in December is a petrol station that early is gaily 
decorated for Christmas. Hideous tarmac, evilly yellow petrol pumps 
with Shell slashed on their foreheads like a bleeding cut morph in the 
rare green of the artificial Christmas tree and the joyful pink, 
purple, blue twinkling lights in the evening. 

I'll walk because in December in the silence the streets in Kampala are
good for thinking. Thoughts waft and linger in the mind without effort 
turning playfully like the bright coloured sweets wrappings dancing in 
the swirling gusts of dust blown along the cracked deserted pavements 
on an unseen giant's slumbering breath. 

Other thoughts disappear abruptly round a sharp corner. Like impatient
buses leaving Kampala for long highways. Why does casually meandering 
in Luwum Street, Nasser Road, Nkrumah Road, the lanes, even on a late 
Sunday leave one so breathless? 

Why is the sight of Sambo Restaurant shuttered and shut up forever,
weeds looping through the rusting iron hinges of the closed door so 
sad?  In this street are restaurants, Internet cafes, salons, garages, 
vendors, signposts like any other so why is this the street of my 
sadness, especially in December? 

There's that bar in Wandegeya! Before I get there I'll be laughing,
before I pay the obscene song-singing musicians in sweaty ragged brown 
coats in Wandegeya I'll be chuckling, having passed though Mutaasa 
Kafeero building gawking at the pageant of wealth my indignation won't 
stop me from enjoying. The phones in their shiny silver casings, high 
mounted TVs displaying pebbleless gorgeous gold-sanded beaches with 
bluer skies than I've ever seen, whiter than snow feather handbags, 
crocodile skin shoes matched by suits with razor blade sharp creases 
all at discount prices I'll never afford. 

The beer will be frostily refreshing, sparkling gold yellow in the dusk
on my white plastic table in the outrageously sized glass tumbler. The 
company I'll remember when I'm in a taxi on my way home looking out of 
the window at a red garbed black man standing outside an exclusive 
boutique with a cotton, white beard and smile at a witticism I'm only 
just then comprehending. December! 


   


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