Every so often, I get fed up of our city – Kampala, that is.
I loathe it’s traffic jams. I hate the bad roads, especially the one to my home now. I hate that only a few of our streets are lit.
I still have the basic fear that someone will creep up to the car and grab my gadgets or that someone will try to sell me mosquito nets and chargers and toilet papers and under garment shorts all in one go.
So I take all the trips I can out of the city. And my friends know this. One of them, Athan, decided to get married in these last weeks. I don’t know if it was to help me get away from the city but it has an element of it, if you look closely.
Athan is Rwandan and Ugandan. There’s hardly a difference between those two. Athan married his beautiful Burundian bride. He believes in the regional integration. So, to mark the occasion we had to go to Rwanda. And learn words like ‘Gusaba’ and ‘Kufasha’. We had to learn that suits are not exactly the most welcome fashion at a Gusaba. We had to learn to get used to being told ‘Bon Apetit’ when lunch was served and learn to leave the pineapples on the dessert plate they were served on.
Rwanda always has a surprise up their sleeves when you visit. A new hotel here, a roundabout you didn’t leave there, a bar of people talking about a gorilla permit fee and radios that can’t get past their obsession for Darassa and Ben Pol’s ‘Muziki’. It’s so famous now, their President dances to it.
The receptionists at the Kigali Serena headbob to it as they work. They’ve got the whole smiling and warm regards for their customers going. They’ll lead you to your room asking you about your trip in Luganda and Runyakore when you tell them you’re from the West.
Even the guy that serves the morning’s highly recommended breakfast mumbles a ‘Kamata’ as he places the croissants and sausages on the table.
Athan hadn’t warned me early enough about this. I had errands to run in the city before the wedding. It was only a week to the Transform Africa conference and many of my high profile interviews needed to be locked in with face to face meetings. Luckily, Serena had a thing for gathering many of them.
They’d either be at the Poolside bar taking in the band as they sip on half-priced cocktails or at the Maisha spa, burning their body weight away as CNN announced the new UK election. Meanwhile, Britons, make up your minds, you don’t announce an election fwaa. It takes us years to have one back here.
But well, Athan had elected to get married. That counts!
And I too had elected; To be out of my crazy city and be pampered under the Kigali sun. I also elected to Darassa’s ‘Muziki’ song atleast for as long as the Serena kept the speakers running.