baby on board

i generally pride myself on being someone who is unphased by the bizarre or strange.

in my travels i have seen some things that, if seen in my home context, would be quite strange or uncouth–and the person doing them would be quickly removed and potentially institutionalized. (for example: drinking blood from a calabash, wandering about mostly naked not on a european beach, eating innards of various animals [sometimes raw] etc.)

but this past sunday i was taken quite aback by something i saw.

i was driving my lovely land cruiser (she’s called gertie) out of kampala city, heading back home to kotido when i spotted a motorcycle taxi (called a boda) cruising along in front of me.

that is very typical–bodas in bicycle or motor form are everywhere in the city and in the villages–however this boda was not typical.

now before i go on let me describe some “typical” or “normal” loads for a boda of either variety:
* people (up to three besides the driver)
* chickens tied to the front handle-bars
* a goat (or two depending on size) strapped to the back
* an entire double bed, including mattress
* 50 plastic chairs on someone’s lap
* a load of matooke bananas
* anything you can get strapped to the back

so with those being “normal” loads one has to wonder what it was that caught my eye and even made me slow down.

the first thing i noticed about this boda was that it was way to close to my vehicle.
the second thing i noticed, as i honked my horn to communicate i would like for him to please move over, was a little yellow sign affixed to the front of the boda.

it was a “baby on board” sign.
you know, one of those yellow diamond shaped signs people sometimes suction-cup to their car windows.
so, that was amusing but still not out of the ordinary.

the third thing i noticed was the cargo of this particular boda–and the reason he was unable to move over any further:

a coffin.
strapped to the back of this boda was a coffin.
he couldn’t move over because then he would be hitting people walking with a coffin. of course.

okay, so thats weird.
i peered over my passenger’s lap and out her window and into the coffin.
there was  a person in it.
maybe 20ish in age.
traveling down jinja road at 7:45 on sunday morning.

of course.

i wonder if  the “baby on board” had been placed on the boda for this journey–or if perhaps this particular boda driver was like a low-budge hurse… or if anyone else in the whole city felt the irony as i did on ascension sunday…

baby on board

baby on board


mzungu, bounty hunter

as a mzungu (that is to say, white person) i was recently accused of being “soft”.

i was quick to say that i do not condone the killing of other people, ever.
and it was pointed out to me that i refused to kill the rooster given to me in abim. (i think i went wrong naming him…he’s called bruiser, just so you know.)

i was quick to come back with, “but i kill on a regular basis!”

i was met with blinking eyes of disbelief.

“why, just last night” i said, “i probably killed 20 times.”

more blinking disbelief from my now growing audience.

one of the drivers who’d been around for the whole conversation said, “my sister… what, exactly, did you kill 20 of last night?”

he asked this with a mixture of excitement and disbelief in his voice.

i gave a snide little smile and said:
“what mzungus kill best, mosquitoes!”

[much laughter from audience and some slaps on my arms/back–this is a sign that you have said something truly funny]

the laughter subsided and then quietly, one of the women asked, “with what?”

she went on to explain that surely i killed these mosquitoes with a spray, or something else.

i wish i’d have a camera to capture the shock on her face when i said, “well, leah, with my hands of course!”

and then demonstrated clapping them together with a nonexistent mosquito in between them.

she just looked at me with big eyes and said, “mzungu hunter…can’t even eat what she kills…”

oh my…

i just want to share with the world that i’m sitting in a cafe in uganda and the song playing over the stereo is “one moment in time”

i’m doing my best to not laugh out loud…

an actual update to come soon.