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My ‘new’ new life

Sep 24 • 1724 views • 3 Comments on My ‘new’ new life Africa, Diary of a Muzungu, East Africa, Kampala, Travel, Uganda, Volunteering

Q: what gets stared at more than a mzungu?
A: a mzungu with a dog!

I feel I’ve been out of touch recently, suffice to say things are very definitely on the up, after a difficult couple of months. Delighted to report:

I have a dog!
• Making headway at work & getting on really well with Patrick and Enid (office staff) and Eva (house girl).
• Simpson (our gate boy) – who has his very own bullet point because he’s my best Ugandan friend – has started university. I’m so proud of him but I miss hearing his happy voice around the compound during the day. [PICTURED: Simpson studying outside his room]

His name’s Baldrick!
• The knee held up! I had 50+ people round for a big BBQ and dancing till 4am this Saturday. The great thing about VSOs is they’re all happy to chip in. “Best party I’ve been to in Kampala” Jo said and she knows how to party! Jo was my dance partner at Africa Hash and we love S Club 7. We’re both over 40 and We Have No Shame.
[PICTURED: Eva prepares the traditional matoke steamed green banana for the party. A Ugandan woman is supposed to prepare this every day for her husband. It’s very time-consuming – your career held to a ransom by a green banana – imagine that ladies!!!]
• As great as life here can be (on a good day), it’s also very transient. At my party we welcomed 15 new volunteers but said goodbye to four good friends so another good reason to mix with Ugandan and ex-pat friends too. Still there’s a good life lesson about ‘making the most of it’ (as Sarah would say), which takes me back to ….
Dogs. “They live for the moment” according to Cesar Millan, whose totally fantastic book on dog psychology has opened my eyes to a whole new way of seeing the world. “Hallelujah! I do believe!”
Sorry Enid’s had that Christian music CD on again in the office. That and the heat have fried my brian.
Or possibly my brain …

Placid within the compound, as soon as he’s in the street (leash on), it’s one big crazy sniffing adventure for Baldrick. He’s completely oblivious to me as he drags me here, there and everywhere. I just love it, we’re having so much fun (apart from the bit where I slid 10 feet down an irrigation ditch in the pitch dark, surrounded by Ugandans bent double at the sight of a mzungu suspended mid-air by a dog on a lead).
Ugandans have never seen anything like it.
I can walk for an hour every morning and not see any other white people. Everyone stares a lot anyway – and mostly break into the most dazzling smile as you pass them by – and many literally jump out of the way when they see Baldrick. (I don’t let on that he’s not dangerous! Especially after the occasional “give me your dog” which is non-threatening, more curiosity I think).
In the three weeks I’ve had him I haven’t seen anyone else with a dog on a lead or even walking with one. There’s a perception that because he’s with a mzungu he might be something special, when he’s just another “indigenous mix” that got washed into a ditch. This one got lucky. He was rescued, in a very poor state – hence the great name – unlike the majority of dogs here who live on rubbish dumps and of course don’t have jabs / get neutered etc. There are plenty of good reasons to stay out of the way of your average Ugandan dog!

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3 Responses to My ‘new’ new life

  1. lizziema says:

    Hi Charlie, you sound very settled. How are the feet and the head now, it's nearly a week since the party?! We used to have those sort of do's on Provo, everyone bring something and they are the best parties for the hosts who basically only have the clearing up to do!

  2. lizziema says:

    Well done you for getting that first amount of money! Wonder what you are doing with it? Give Baldrick a pat from me

  3. Charlie says:

    Feet and head ok now!
    Enjoyed wearing high heels and getting dolled up but god did I regret it the next day! And hadn't given a thought to clearing up …. and then had to spend whole day on feet washing up, mopping floors etc.
    Could not wake up monday: went for nap lunchtime, woke up 7.30 am tues!
    That said was easiest party to organise, deal was everyone brought s'thing to eat and drink and it worked fantastically well. Simpson and Eva had a great night too, S. throwing some moves on the dancflr with me and Eva struggling to the compound gate laden with 2 of the most enormous carrier bags of party food leftovers (she does take the p**s that girl sometimes). But hey it was nice to see her happy, she does look after me.
    Lookin fwd to the next party:)

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