The following is an unapologetically disjointed collection of observations, opinions, images, and accounts of recent events. Enjoy.
1. Justification for 12x optical zoom in a consumer grade camera: the President of Uganda decides to sit a few rows up from you at a football match. By the way, he wears that goofy hat everywhere. Rumor has it that it's bulletproof.
2. I finally picked up a can of Bop insecticide and obliterated the out-of-control insect population in my house. No longer will the flavor of my morning coffee contain hints of cockroach!
3. On Saturday, my friend Meg came to visit me in Kiziranfumbi. Meg is an American who works for a Hoima-based NGO called Innovations for Poverty Action, and is the only other white person I know in the area. Meg and I decided to go throw a frisbee around on the large field across the street from my house. Immediately, we were joined by hordes of village kids who were intrigued by "the plastic plate". We tossed the disc with them for a bit, until a mix of primary and secondary school students showed up with some drums, something I call "butt-shaking half skirts" (no clue what they're actually called, but I doubt the local name could compete with mine for descriptiveness), and these shin guard-like things with bead-filled wooden bells attached to them (your dancing becomes percussion music with these strapped to your legs). We put the frisbee down and went over to watch the performance. The kids sang, drummed, and danced, and Meg and I were captivated. They were fantastic! And the songs and rhythms were really catchy; way better than the crappy reggaeton on the radio. I started listening carefully to the words in Runyoro. One song was about being nice to sick people and the message of the next one could be summarized as, "Women and girls, AIDS is bad. AIDS kills. You must wait [to have sex]". It turned out that the singers and dancers were part of a troupe that travels around the area, promoting sexual abstinence as a way to reduce the spread of HIV/AIDS. I imagine their campaign is pretty effective, given the repetitive, yet catchy-sounding lyrics.
4. Ugandans do the "come here" hand gesture upside down. Instead of motioning towards himself with the index finger, palm facing up, a Ugandan turns his palm down and repeatedly draws all four fingers towards himself. Weird! I'm still trying to kick the habit of doing it the American way.
5. Clowns are terrifying.
6. On the equator, the moon's crescent appears under the dark part of the moon, instead of to the side.
7. I wish my headmaster would stop dismissing students from school the day before exams for not paying their school fees. I walked into my S1 math class last Wednesday to hold an hour-long review session and like 80% of the kids were missing. Eighty percent! I will not be the least bit surprised if that many fail the midterm (though my fingers are crossed for marginally better results).
8. Some bars have better names than others. However, I defy you to come up with a better one than "Tactical Headquarter Hoima Cave".
9. Check out this sweet mud hut up the road from my house:
10. Dogs here seem to be nocturnal. They spend all day passed out in the heat, then wake up shortly after the last kerosene lantern flickers out to howl the night away. Look at this demi-bear snoozing at the Red Chili Hideaway (a hostel I often stay at in Kampala):
11. Speaking of Red Chili, they also have a rather ginormous pig:
13. Last but not least, Arwen has freaky deaky monkey feet.