A Quiet Saturday in Kampala

4 January 2020

It’s been a lovely quiet day. I’ve had time to do laundry and work on both my course preparation for next semester’s classes which begin 21 January as well as work on the pharmaceutical care project protocol.

Through my numerous trips to Uganda, I’ve gotten in the habit of bringing powdered laundry soap and washing my own clothes so that was one of the plans for today. I had checked ahead of time to make sure it was ok to use the clothesline out back and so this morning, I washed and hung out my clothes to dry. By the way, I also always bring clothespins. The day was bright and sunny and hot- very different than the cool weather back in NY. I hung out the clothes then settled down at my computer to work. A few hours later I heard a sound and looked up. It had started to rain, even though it is supposed to be dry season, and the ground was quite wet. In my focus on work, I hadn’t actually heard the start of the rain. I quickly donned a rain hat and went out to grab the clothes off the lines hoping they weren’t too wet. I’m sure I made quite a site- a muzungu* who did her own laundry and then frantically tore the clothes off the line in a rush with a weird looking rain hat. You decide- see the photo.

This is the front of the lower guest house at Mulago Guest House where I’m staying

I’m sure I was quite a site and it makes me laugh to think of it. So once back inside, I spread the clothes out on my bed and hung some on hangars to dry. Fortunately, they were probably already dry when the rain started so they were only damp. Then I want back to work. Later, though, I looked outside and what did I see? The sun!! It had come out and everything was now dry- the lawn, the walkways, and I bet, my clothes- if I had just let them be. I has forgotten that brief rain showers are common in Uganda, even in dry season.

This is the view from the front porch. I believe the building below is a school

This is the side view- you can see part of Kampala in the distance

This is the view to the right of looking straight while on the porch and is a huge new, since 2018, Mulago Women’s Hospital. It seems beautiful but empty, likely due to the fact that patient’s have to pay for services rather than the usual free services at all other Government hospitals

I decided that tonight was the night for me to go to one of my favorite Kampala restaurants. This would be a nice treat after my long day of hard, productive work. Mediterraneo is an Italian restaurant that has a lovely decor, and is like being outside on a covered deck ensconced with green plants. There are some parts that are open to the sky, but I sat under cover this evening. The streets of Kampala are busy, loud, and filled with sounds of cars and boda-boda but when inside Mediterraneo, you can forget you are in the middle of a busy city. Tonight it was pretty busy and the restaurant was filled with the sounds of conversations and enjoyment. The Italian food is very delicious. I found this place on my first trip to Kampala back in 2011 and was so surprised at he quality and availability of such fine cuisine. I have now learned that one will never want for excellent food in Kampala. You name it and you can find any ethic type of food. Now going into the rural areas is a different story…tonight’s meal started with sparkling water, a glass of the house Chianti, and a delicious salad with mozzarella, avocados, tomatoes, greens. This was followed homemade spinach ravioli with tomato sauce rich with lumps of tomatoes. I savored every bite. I’m ending the meal with chocolate moose. Yes, I’m already kind of full, but I just had to go for it. One of my 2020 New Years intentions is to be more mindful of every moment of my life. You know the saying, “you need to stop and smell the roses”. Well tonight I ate very slowly and turned my meal into a greater than 2-hour feast of my senses. (Mostly focused on taste. 😊)

Tomorrow I’m looking forward to attending church with one of my Ugandan friends. She is not related to my pharmacy work but is a Seconday School superintendent and the wife of a physician I met during my Fulbright time in Uganda. It’s always so nice to catch up when I come to Uganda.

*Muzungu is the name used for white people. It is not a derogatory word and is thought to come from Swahili meaning European. If you are out walking around in Uganda and pass by little children, it is common for them to yell out “muzungu” as if a taunt. But this is not meant as name calling – the children are interested to see someone different from themselves.

About kbohan

Professor, Department of Pharmacy Practice Binghamton University School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences Binghamton, NY USA
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