Muireann taking photos in Uganda

 

Mac Cool's Uganda Letter

Photographs and Stories by Muireann Mac Cool

 

B l o g

A sujourn in Muzunguland-Kenya

01 Feb 2006

Letter from Nairobi, Kenya

I write to you from the swishist internet cafe in the world.well this part
of it anyway. When i left for Uganda in November I knew at some point that
my visa problems would take me to East Africa's version of Stab city- Nairobi.
I visualised myself heading into the city all alone eating dry bread on a
scabby YMCA bunk bed.I was releaved when I didn't have to go in December
because Henry, former Immigration Commissioner worked on my visa. He got
me an extra 2motnhs but sadly no more than that. Luckily I met this amazing
muzungu- Bethany- when she came to visit the craft shop with the Ten Thousand
Villages buyer. We had a ball, professionally speaking and so she said "if
you're in Kenya before April come and visit me". I told her it was unlikely
though I'd have loved it.

But now here I am staying in her beautiful apartment with all the craft touches.
She is a handicraft designer for the Menonite Committee (MCC) with exquistit
taste. I love her place.It's located in the leafy lush suburb of "Westlands".
She welcomed me in and gave me a yummy comfy bed and i'm able to eat anything
in her kitchen which includes: cheese, strawberries (holy fuck-couldn't believe
it) and grapes!!!!!! I've felt like i've been on holiday since I walked into
her place.

To make my trip worthwhile I've been buying stuff for the shop and making
contacts with jewellery designers so that I can bring entirely new stuff
for our shop and who knows maybe I should look into this EBAY thing. Uganda
has crafts but boy doesn't Kenya have crafts and they are slightly more sophisticated
so Ugandan shops are forced into buying stuff from Kenya for their shops
so that the Muzungu buy things..they couldnt depend entirely on there own
crafts which is a shame but that's how it is in Europe...it's the global
village of business. i've bought a bundle of stuff and it's all beautiful
beads, ostrechich (um dn't know how you spell that) egg shell beads, wood,
alluminum and silver.

One of the highlights was dinner with the Joders on the 2nd night. 3 beautiful
blond teenagers that "cuss" by saying oh darn and crud and harmless sweet
nothings. (i was mortified when there was slience when I actually said God
almighty) Olita or was it Eanna was playing the piano which is the most luxurious
sound in Africa for me right now. They made homemade icecream with this cool
contraption that is attached to a bucket. In the bucket is ice and salt and
you turn the handle to churn the pudding mixture in the middle. the girls
took it in turns to sit on the contraption to keep it in the bucket. it was
the yummiest icecream and when it followed shepard's pie I thought I was
in Heaven.


I say Niarobi is Muzunguland cause of the beautiful malls they have here
(Uganda has only recently gotten it's first escallator). There are lots of
Muzungu and asians and lots of people in those high up 4*4 range rovers.
Many of these places feel airlifted.
The only thing I don't like (apart from not having Francis here) is that
the security is a huge issue and so scarey to think about all the time.
I got on a matatu and the taxi driver got arrested. Kenyan Police are still
highly corrupt.


I'm trying to leave tomorrow but it's a bit of a disaster becuase the presidential
elections are this week in Uganda and Henry thinks they might refuse to let
me into the country. i'm heading on the 12hour journey tomorrow. Looking
forward to seeing the zebra's and lovely sheep out the window. 'm dreading
the border crossing. If you read this can you keep your fingers crossed for
me that I get 3 months.

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