Luckily the chalk marks along the route were reliable for a change. In my dash out of the house to take Baldrick for his Rabies jab, I’d forgotten my trainers so there I was sliding about in the size 12 deckshoes T’s lent me as Baldrick pulls me along in his constant quest for food, particularly acute at this time of day.
So there we were, just the two of us negotiating the chaotic, muddy trough that passes for a road, wending our way downhill through the discarded garbage of the slums washed down the hill and trying to get back to the KH3 (Kampala Hash House Harriers) meeting point before sun sets. Jumping on the back of a boda boda is a Hash sin (and with a large dog not easy!) so we try and keep pace with the rest of the Hashers and walkers. We don’t get too close, Ugandans are ‘feared of’ dogs and most startle easily at the approach of my canine friend.
PHOTO: Typical slum scene: Hash routes take us through every part of town: through rubbish heaps and slums, across swamps and along smart avenues.
Even without running, last Monday’s run was exhausting. The everyday shouts of “mzungu, mzungu, bye!” are this evening accompanied by screams of hilarity from the women. If seeing a mzungu is unusual, seeing a mzungu with a dog is borderline insanity. (I just make out the words mzungu, mama and umbwa) and of course there’s no mistaking the subject of the wide eyed stares and pointing. Us. And it’s all good natured. Ugandan children are delightful. I return as many of the shouts and waves as I can and proceed down the road with a big grin on my face. You can’t help but feel special and you just know that kids are going to run home and tell the family they’ve had a smile from a mzungu. One morning I walked out of my compound straight into the arms of a small child: he was only 4 or 5 years old but he ran upto me, grabbed hold of one of my legs and gave it a big hug. Then ran off. It’s a great way to start the day.
My friend Harriet at the gonja stop on the way to Lake Nabugabo.
Serious one second, the most open and delightful smiles a second later, that’s the Ugandan way.
I knew my luck was in when T offered me his hot roasted gonja.
Hash hijinks on the bus on the way to the Lake Nabugabo run.