A saunter down South…seeing more of the homeland, soaking up more art.

Almost a month ago now, I was blessed to spend time in another part of the continent by visiting some more treasures of this earth in South Africa. I had been invited as part of a birthday celebration and for the opportunity to get to know some wonderful people in person, rather than simply through the form of cyber-space.

Admittedly, the journey began with trepidation on my part, as I had been very ill for the time leading up to it. The flights however were already booked, my health was gradually improving and not only that, when feeling a bit forlorn, what better way to feel significantly better than to go on a holiday and be around loved ones. Continue reading “A saunter down South…seeing more of the homeland, soaking up more art.”

Twists and turns of Africa

As I have been stating on more than one occasion, I have been developing a love affair with Uganda and all that it has brought into my life and before my eyes.

I have made conections with a multitude of people, and feel blessed to have so many dear friends around me, especially given that I am only just entering my fourth month here.

It  has been such a joy, especially after some turbulent times in work situations, to experience yoga on the hill at sundown, to share supper with a friend and his sons, to sit on the veranda of a South African friend’s and partake in a Braii amongst friends, to go and dance and soak up art and culture with my Ugandan friends, to meander around markets and start to finally get offered items at their actual prices rather than the mzungu price, to zip around town on the back of a boda with the wind in my hair and the sun on my face, to listen to beautiful music whilst I watch the birds overhead as I sit on the rooftop of my apartment, and so on.  Let alone to consider all of the amazing trips I have been so lucky to have already been on, with relative ease of last-minute decision making and minimal costs.

However, when illnes strikes, all of this fades into the background. Continue reading “Twists and turns of Africa”

Quirks of Kampala

Having now been here in Uganda for what feels like longer than I can remember (apparently it has only been just under three months, which doesn’t seem at all comprehendable to me), I thought it may be time to step back and reflect on what it looks like to “live” here.

It is far removed from any life that I’ve known before, yet as I also follow a Monday-Friday (sometimes Saturdays too) work schedule, in some ways one can also forget that there is any difference at all … Continue reading “Quirks of Kampala”

A city of artists

Festivals, as I mentioned in a previous blog, are close to my heart: through the fact that they allow a meeting of like-minded souls and trusting open connections; an expansion of enjoying life itself; through celebration of all that is on offer, which is generally a plethora of magic, music and jollities.

I adore them and so you can imagine my delight that all of a sudden I seem to be swept up in a series of different festival events occurring over on this side of the globe.

A lovely Ugandan friend of mine, (that I met at Nyege Nyege), had told me of the upcoming Bayimba festival as we headed back to Kampala after dancing the weekend away. It was to be hosted at Kampala’s National Theatre, and he insisted that not only would I love it but that I must be there! And of course that was true. Continue reading “A city of artists”

A search for tranquility … a discovery of mishaps

Work has been very busy here, and although I have been used to having a half-term break between the September – December school term, my current workplace here in Uganda does not have that.  So the idea of working straight through from August 15th to December 16th was quite a change to my routine.

Needless to say, when we received a very last minute email to inform staff that we had Monday 12th September off, due to Eid-al-Adha, I felt a huge excitement wash over me and a huge smile landed itself on my face.

img_2539

I began the long weekend with a Braai, enjoying time with new friends as the fire slowly roasted our meat and the smell of delicious tastes wafted through the air. Continue reading “A search for tranquility … a discovery of mishaps”

Nyege nyege – the feeling of a sudden uncontrollable urge to move, shake or dance

One of the main things that has excited me about a new home in Africa, has been the opprtunity to see/hear the amazing music firsthand. Over the past few years I have been going to more and more African music events, and I have repeatedly felt the rhythms and sounds stir within my blood. I do not, as yet, have the freedom and fluidity of many African dancing styles, but I am a dancer all the same. One of my singing teachers used to frequently refer to an African phrase – “If you can walk, you dance.  If you can talk, you can sing.” And this resonates with me deeply. Continue reading “Nyege nyege – the feeling of a sudden uncontrollable urge to move, shake or dance”

Remembering how to be a philocalist (part two)

It was so refreshing for me to have left the concrete suburbia within which I presently live, to once again return to the sensation of being in Africa. I had lost sight of it very quickly and I knew that I needed to act on this before I became further swept up into a confusion of neither being here nor there. Continue reading “Remembering how to be a philocalist (part two)”

Remembering how to be a philocalist (part one)

They say beauty is in the eye of the beholder and that it is all around us, (if only we remember how to look).

I have now entered my third week of working here in Uganda, and quite honestly I lost this ability almost immediately upon commencement of this. Whilst I won’t go into the finer details of why, I can simply state that communication is hugely vital in pretty much all aspects of life. When making the minor decisions such as to leave the entire “life as you know it” in order to fully immerse yourself into the unknown, having some form of clear communication channel around this is somewhat useful. At least it is for me. Thus when I found myself at my new workplace on day one, in a role entirely different to the one I thought I had come for, I was utterly thrown. In fact, I was devastated. Continue reading “Remembering how to be a philocalist (part one)”

WordItOut-word-cloud-1809838

Beyond all words

 

As I venture onwards with my travels in Uganda, I find myself continuously in awe of it’s complexity.Yet the one thing that repeatedly comes to mind is this: in a country of many languages, cultures, customs and beliefs, there may be a multitude of difference yet one thing remains – the unity of  communication, beyond words.

Wherever I go here, I have learnt now to be assured that if I smile at a local, they will smile in return. Their wide smiles brimming from side to side, and their eyes shining with happiness, that a mzungu has acknowledged them. (NB Mzungu = white skin.  It is not meant to be derogatory in any way, though it can feel a bit strange at times when you are simply referred to by this term.  Or when children come running from apparently nowhere, excitedly calling out “Mzungu! Mzungu! How are you!” whilst reaching out their tiny hands to make contact with yours, in fascination of who they see before them). Continue reading “Beyond all words”

Where the wild things really are

As the sun rises, so do the Impala.
As the sun rises, so do the Impala.

For my first experience of an African safari, I took the advice of a friend and opted to go on tour with Red Chilli Safari, beginning from their hostel in Kampala. It has quite a spectacular setting given its nearby location to the hecticness of the city. Dinner and meeting new people on my first night there, after watching the sun go down over the hills whilst sipping a cold Nile Special, led me to an early bedtime, ready for an early rise.

Each of the following three days continued in the same manner, with each one beginning around 6am. It is not for those who want to lie-in that is for sure!

Continue reading “Where the wild things really are”