We sat in traffic jams last night for two and a half hours inching our way forward after a craft shopping adventure near 1000 cups coffee house. The president of Uganda never has to sit in jams. The police station of each area is informed when his convoy of twenty cars is coming so they stop traffic and open the roads for him to pass. We watched this occur last night. It isn’t the first time I’ve been inconvenienced by his authority on the roads. I was happy at least to know that I had a novel to read on my phone. I was able to remove myself from the feeling of impatience that overcomes me with jams because the book was entertaining.
I avoid going into town as much as possible. I’m over it. It’s smelly with diesel fumes, crowded with boda bikes, vans, cars, and pedestrians. All sorts of interesting life practices are on display to see. I’ve just seen it so much by now it ceases to surprise me. A preacher will appear at our window with his bible open and scream that we are all going to hell if we don’t accept Christ as savior now. Children in tatters, barefoot with babies on their hip will beg while their mothers watch from the corner. Men ogle the beautifully dressed women whose heads are too high to notice the stares. Ladies carry food in large baskets on their heads and sway with full hips through the crowd. People crowded into taxi vans stare at me in the front seat with my red hair, blue eyes and mzungu skin.
While we sit in traffic many vendors come to our window to sell bananas on the head, household items, clothing, shoes, bras, anything can appear for sale at the window. At one point someone knocked hard into the right side of the van, the driver’s side, and everyone looked out the window to see what it was, at the same time someone reached into my window and stole my phone right out of my hands. I screamed, poked my head out and watched him run. Then I made eye contact with the police on the side of the road who remained still, did nothing. People everywhere stared.
We were able to contact Craig who was thirty minutes away from making a presentation to the board members of the company where he works, and he was able to call our provider and cancel our service. I can just imagine my straight and businesslike husband, “excuse me, my wife is in Africa and someone just took her phone right out the car window. I need to make a call and suspend her service.” I must be some kind a character in their eyes. Well, I am, and they’ve all met me, so they already know how unusual my life is.
When I returned home I used my computer to change all the passwords on my accounts. According to Phiona and Robert he won’t be able to use my iphone here because it doesn’t have a sim card. He’ll end up throwing it away. What a waste and inconvenience for me. Worst of all I had to spend two hours in the car with absolutely nothing to do but try to forgive that guy and this desperate society. I feel squirmy because my privacy has been violated. Someone can see my photos, read my notes, and have access to my contacts. It’s terribly disturbing.
Oh well. What do you do? No one is hurt and that’s the important thing.
We neared home at nine o’clock, hunger pains were rumbling even though chocolate cake was passed around at the coffee shop. Christopher has introduced us to “rolex”. He’s a confessed addict. When he returns to America he will suffer withdrawal from more than the kids, his stomach will cry for his rolex. There seems to be a trigger that shifts at a certain time in the day when it becomes necessary to follow the scent to the rolex stand and indulge. A rolex is a chipote (pan fried seasoned flat bread) topped with fried eggs, sliced tomato a bit of onion all rolled up for a meal, served hot. It costs about seventy cents. It is rumored Christopher can eat three of them! I have yet to see that. There is a stand just down the street from the apartment. Christopher is such a good customer they know each other by name and are fast becoming friends. He introduced Erica and Jack the first day. The next day Erica bought rolex for all the kids. After our traffic jam frustration we stopped at the stand but they were finished for the night. Cries exploded through the van. Robert offered to drive Christopher to another place to satisfy the craving in our apartment. So we ended our day with a delicious meal, laughter, and good stories.