Here in Kitgum, I am my only American friend.
This means, despite the fact that everyone’s eyes are on this upcoming election, I am the only one who is able to vote, and I am the one whom the results will impact the most.
Sometimes I really wish everyone else here would stop speculating on it. It makes me nervous and frustrated. Especially because most people assume that McCain will win for the simple reason that they expect Americans as a whole to still be too racist to elect a black president. At least, that is what people tell me.
One of my housemates is a Kenyan Luo man, like Obama. His name is Oscar. My other housemate is a Dutch woman named Floor. The three of us get along swimmingly. This morning, we had coffee together, discussed the election, and I read aloud some Lewis Carroll nonsense poems (“Beware the Jabberwock, my son!”) and recited the first 18 lines of the Canterbury Tales in Middle English. As I am a huge dork (obviously), this means it was a great morning for me.
“Calloo! Callay! O frabjous day!”
Massai traders are coming to Bomah grounds (a soccer field towards the middle of town) today. Because they are from Kenya, and because they are fabulous artists and craftsmen, I am expecting them to have leather key chains onto which they have painted Obama’s face. Ooh, I hope I hope I hope!!!
My other close friends here are, obviously, several Acholi (Janet, JP, Mark, Monica, Sam, other Sam, Akello, etc.) and two Swedish girls (Lisa and Hilda). Recently, I’ve met and befriended a Grecian/Yemenite woman named Sara who is quite sweet. I have many good Acholi acquaintances throughout the town, whom I greet almost daily and exchange pleasantries with (Grace, Pasca, Lawrence, John, both Margaret’s, and, obviously, Madame Flora, my grocer). There are the children I love (Julian, Flavia, Gloria, Hope, Passion, Jojo, Joanna, Dearie, Sharon and Nero). There’s my friend Amanda in Kampala, my friend Kristen in Gulu, and my friend Steve, I forget quite where. And, lastly, there are far more people here who know me than whom I know.
“Rockellay! Affoyo!” I hear from every direction as I walk through town.
“Affoyo ba!” I respond.