Thursday, September 01, 2005

Bits and Pieces – Impressions from Uganda – Part IV


Where has all the power gone. Long time passing. Where has all the power gone. Long time ago. For two days Gulu is without electricity. And as so often, power goes off when you really need it. I sit in the office and try to scan and print important documents for our current workshop. A kind of a hard job, when there is no power. The fact that it is already Friday makes it likely that there wont be power before Monday – when the workshop is over.


Six thirty in the evening. Dusk is approaching. And as on any other day, thousands of people are on their way towards the city center. Mostly children and youth. Some carry a bed sheet, a blanket or a plastic sheet. Others just come with whatever they wear. They will look for a place to sleep. When ever the rebels are in the area, people try to get a save place for the night. The old ones stay in the rural areas and take care of the houses, the belongings, the animals, while the younger ones, the ones that are likely to be abducted into the rebel’s ranks migrate to town and come back the next morning. Who ever is too far away from the town to go onto this daily pilgrimage, will sleep somewhere in the bush. ‘The Green Lodge’, as one of my friends calls it. No matter if it is raining and cold. Being inside your own house is too dangerous. You are found too easily.


I
magine. There is a group of about 50 women. They have come for a residential training. So breakfast, lunch and supper is provided. Nothing fancy, but for many people in the area quite nice food. So is sugar for the tea. And people in East Africa take a lot of sugar in their tea. And usually they just take a bit of tea leafs. During the daily tea break at work my colleagues normally take about four to five tablespoons per cup. And they always smile at me in disbelieve when I don’t take any sugar at all or when I am satisfied with half a teaspoon. Despite the fact that I know all that, I was never the less very surprised, that four and a half days into the seminar 75 kilograms of sugar were gone. Amazing. Especially when I think of how long a kilogram of sugar lasts in my household. Weeks, months, more depending on the number of visitors then on my own consumption.

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