Wednesday, October 29, 2008


This evening was another one of the evenings that I love it here. Walking home from work, I was greeted by child after lovely little child, screaming-giggling-calling “Rockelay! Bye!” Halfway home, a woman motioned me over to the fire by her hut where she and other women were working and had me try some of the fresh, hot vodka they had just brewed. It was amazing and delicious. They were so friendly and greeted me kindly and – just to make clear – they weren’t asking for money or anything. They were just being hospitable to the stranger/visitor in their midst!

Yesterday, I also loved it here. Wandering through town in the middle of the day (no power + no generator fuel = no work), I came across a random assemblage of traditional dancers and musicians. It was great and amazing! At first I watched – a group of women in a makeshift hair saloon (iron sheets and UNHCR plastic drapery) offered me a stool. Then I ululated with the women – uh, kind of. I TRIED to ululate. Then, eventually, I danced!!! The dancers were incredible, and the drummers, and, my favorite, the homemade violins that the violinists bowed were amazing. I’m a pretty horrible dancer, but I’m energetic and a clown, so I always have fun, and the dancers and musicians always love me.

Ugh. I can hear the generator humming now at the home of the rich people cattycorner to ours.

We no longer talk about whether there is or is not electricity (just as we stopped long ago talking about whether there was or was not running water). Now, we talk about whether there is any fuel in the district to power our generator at work. At home, we talk about whether we have enough kerosene for the oil lamps, and whose turn it is to wash the globes. We talk about whether the bridge between Gulu and Kitgum will flood, and how we will be totally cut off from the world if (when) that happens.

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