Lira does Kampala, and Europe does Prom

Saturday morning the ILF house slowly stirred.  After going to bed at 5.30 in the morning as the night finally wound down, I heard Rehmbo and Ben leaving around 8.  I got up and helped them close the gate and then did some lounging until my phone rang. Alison’s missing phone was calling me.  Normally, when a phone gets stolen here the thief gets rid of the SIM card right away and replaces it or sells the phone.  So, when I answered the phone I was a bit confrontational, and the guy who took the phone was talking about maybe bringing the phone back and then he hung up on me.  At this point Alison heard me talking and came in and we discussed how weird this whole situation was.  He called back and Alison talked to him and he said he was willing to bring the phone back but was worried he would get in trouble with the law, so she tried to assure him that she just wanted the phone and that’s it.  When Ben came back all three of us were talking to the guy and arranged a meeting down the street – but he never showed.  Out of time and patience, we got ready for the Kampala trip sans cellular.

Back at the house I finalized my packing and withdrew some more money for the city.  I said goodbye to everyone and even bid the goat and chickens farewell.  The ILF car rolled up and I plopped my things in and we were soon on our way.  A good five hours later we meandered through traffic to Old Park and dropped Alison and me at a fancy glass tower amidst the crummy chaos – our hotel!  This place was a really nice hotel in the middle of the city center, and we were greeted by a giant bed, a TV, air conditioning, a nice shower, and even a balcony!  After checking in and relaxing a bit, we went out and I got my first taste of mizungu Kampala – Lotus Mexicana!  I had a delicious meal of Mexican food in this African capitol before heading to a rooftop bar in Bukoto for – yes – an “American Prom”-themed party.

In the circle of the UN, a guy named Stijn has (sort of) never had a birthday party.  Since all of these Europeans had never had a Prom either, they decided to have a prom in honor of Stijn’s birthday.  A few weeks ago Lisa approached Alison and me to be the prom consultants since we were the only ones who had ever attended one.  In Lira I found the best possible shirt – a shirt from an American high school’s After-Prom Luau! I mixed this with purple trousers I found in the market and a coat I found in town.  But this fashion had nothing on some of the guests at this place.  Lisa was in the most amazing dress ever bought in Lira.  Ilaria was in a white tuxedo.  The birthday boy was in a dazzling silver shirt that shined amidst the lasers and lights at the party.  The party was really fun and it was a great welcome to Kampala.

The next morning, Alison and I boda’d our way over to Cafe Javas to have a grand goodbye.  Our commute was sprinkling, but right after we arrived it started pouring and we ended up meeting with a drenched Debs, Lisa, and Ilaria for lunch.  After trying to make sure everyone was dry and warm, we had a good meal and talked a lot before bidding farewell to our Lira folk.  That afternoon Lisa, Debs and Ama all headed back upcountry, so it was good to see everyone off.  From there I met up with Morris and George in Wandegeya to catch up for an hour or two before going craft shopping.  I ended the day with a solo trip to Ndere Center which was really cool, but it deserves its own post so you’ll just have to wait.

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