Every day I’m hustling

Our first morning in Kampala, we’re woken up by the sound of someone hammering at the walls of the hotel. It’s clearly people, rather than a machine, because the rhythm’s too erratic. Starts hard and fast and quickly weakens, wavers. Some guys with sledgehammers, working on a piece of the parking lot maybe, or tearing down a wall. We can’t figure out where it’s coming from, but it’s impossible to ignore. Because we can’t find the workers it seems like …  ( continue reading

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How do you know the World Cup is on at Kampala’s Rock Bar?

new boda boda

1) The insectoid drone of vuvuzelas emanating from the televisions inside. 2) The boda-boda drivers gathered at the fence to watch from the sidewalk.  ( continue reading

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Hit the Ground

We arrive on June 14th, 2010. As our plane taxies up the tarmac I spy seven giant white letters set in the red dirt of a hillside along the airport. E-N-T-E-B-B-E. At the arrivals gate we meet our host, a young woman named Caroline. A writer herself, she’s worked as a journalist since the age of fifteen. She carries a hand written sign with my name on it in one hand and her cell phone in the other. As soon …  ( continue reading

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Of pork joints and the Lord


The last time I visited Uganda I spent a whole day in a dress. It was the day of my christening and my grandfather, Kaye (his English name was Henry), carried me around proudly…. Now I’m going to see Uganda again, decades later, and, more importantly, as a grown man.  ( continue reading

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  • Victor LaValle