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A Sunday Moonlit Stroll Through Kampala (standard:drama, 1439 words)
Author: DAVID TUMUSIIMEAdded: Aug 13 2005Views/Reads: 1896/1139Story vote: 0.00 (0 votes)
Strange things can happen once you decide to walk unguided in Kampala. What happened.
 



This was not a work assignment. I can't make excuses. I was in the
middle of Kampala on a Sunday because I had nothing better to do. I had 
realised that if stayed one more hour in my bachelor house listening to 
the radio music that was no longer soothing but nerve wracking in it's 
monotony I was going to go crazy! I simply had to get out! 

A bachelor pad to those outside looking in may conjure up raunchy images
of weekly threesomes, dawn breaking barbecues and dusk beach strolls. 
How could I have a bachelor pad and be desperate to get away from mine? 
There are things like rent, overdrawn bank accounts and sulking 
girlfriends. 

That's how I ended up in the center of Kampala with absolutely nothing
to do on a Sunday with a sky darkening into night holding me 
spellbound. I live to see this furious splendour in the sky as dusk 
falls. This gorgeous last burst of colour that is unleashed in the 
clouds before the sky darkens, this frenzy of colour that dies down 
before one's eyes into quiet pink and purple so silently and with a 
wordless sigh that if it had a taste I have no doubt would taste like 
mellow wine. 

I was lost in watching this glory which is probably why I never noticed
the darkness creeping up on me. When I looked about and realised I 
could not read the time on the clock opposite Caltex service station on 
Parliamentary Avenue, I was shocked. Not with the bittersweet 
realisation that my next paycheck is going to my optician. Okay, that 
was part of it. But the main thing that shocked me was realizing that I 
had never been in Kampala late at night on a Sunday on foot. Somehow 
this insomniac had never toured Kampala on a Sunday night! 

A good thing I was alone because I was embarrassed to make such an
admission even to myself. It was too shaming! But not as shocking as 
being tugged from my maloo of the sky by a beseeching hand emerging 
from a stinking, crumply pile of something on the pavement. I was 
almost straight away going to hurriedly cross the road to the other 
side where such... such ...vermin would not soil me when I saw that it 
was actually a female human being. I was also simultaneously struck by 
how lonely popular Mateos and Nandos looked today from where I was 
standing. 

The loneliest I have ever seen either Mateos or Nandos before was on a
Saturday afternoon that happened to coincide with a public holiday. 
Even on that memorable Saturday when I had just solemnly sworn never to 
write again for unappreciative Ugandans, there had been a couple of 
bored rich youthful corporate types dressed for fun in shorts and 
tee-shirts who were arguing about whether to patronise either 
establishment or not. They had decided on Resort beach Entebbe and I 
called up my former enemy and editor that night and begged to be taken 
back. 

But on this Sunday the loneliness was different. There was no boredom
about it. It was a wistful loneliness like the despondent waiters were 
thinking of somewhere they should be on this Sunday and were not. I had 
nowhere to be so I was here looking at them and inwardly glowing 
because broke as I was and looking it, unlike in former times if I went 
there today I would be treated like royalty. 

I hang onto that thought but I had no intention of finding out whether
it's true that if you eat in a restaurant or hotel and fail to pay, you 
are led to the kitchens and clean and wash dishes worth your bill. I 
wanted to see Kampala at night so I walked on along Parliamentary 
Avenue seeing the most number of whites I have ever seen together in 
Uganda spread all over Café Pap's terrace like human flowers in their 
gaily coloured clothes, dinning. I wasn't in the least bit envious. 

I was even thinking usefully on seeing no lines at the British High
Commission that if Makerere University had innovatively introduced 
night classes, couldn't these guys do the same for the desperate busy 
Ugandans seeking their services? This smart thought was terminated when 
for the first time in my life when I did not need their services I saw 
that there were no lines either at the Nile Bank ATM on former IPS 
Building. Drat! 

There was no activity at the Uganda parliament. But then many people
will ask you if there ever is any. Parliament Avenue is irresistible on 


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