I am on an elongated honeymoon with city in which I live, Kampala. A rational mind living in this city would see the congestion, the number of motorbike accidents, and the levels of petty theft, but the mind of a lover is anything but rational.
My mind sees green hills, standing pert overlooking the beating heart of the city centre. It sees the taxi buses that serve as the blood flow of the city, bringing life to each of its extremities. It sees the millions of people swarming through this landscape, each like an atom of the body, for a limited period, an inseparable part of this wider being – Kampala.
The irrationality of my mind was brought into focus a few days ago when I was walking back from work over one of Kampala’s hills. On this occasion the weather was close and heavy. It had been raining most of the day and it felt like there was more to come.
On this day, a thick mist was rising from the sodden ground and dancing in the air with the heavy low clouds. Walking through this was like entering a steam room as the thick air stuck to the inside of my lungs.
For most in Kampala, their thoughts in these few minutes were on finding shelter before once again the heavens opened. My mind though, was caught in that moment, enjoying it, literally breathing it in.
I stopped and stood, just for a few seconds, and watched the moisture lift from the ground and glide through the overhanging tree branches. Through the mist I caught glimpses of other houses and people making preparations for the inevitable downpour. But for those few seconds, it felt like I was alone in the city.
The air of Kampala was slipping into me, dissolving the distinction between the two of us, for a few seconds making us one.
Of course the sky then opened dropping heavy thunderous balls of rain. Every other resident was dry under shelter as I was striding through the streets with thick red mud clinging to my feet.
Somehow though, I didn’t mind, I still enjoyed it.
As with every honeymoon, I know this will all end. I know there will be a day where I will be walking the streets and feel my wallet slip from my pocket as the sun burns that bit harder onto the back of my neck and I will long for nothing more than the soft comforting embrace of the temperate valleys from which I am from.
But that day is not here yet and so, just like every other lover around the world, I will continue forwarded, blinkered by the beauty of all that sits around me appreciating it to its fullest.
One response to “My love affair with Kampala”
I agree! and beautifully written – with a good understanding that loving somewhere (or someone) doesn’t mean it is perfect – just that you are celebrationg and enjoying all the good points. Perhaps happiness is about learning to enjoy the ‘half-full’ more rather than concentrating on the ‘half-empty’. We need to do that more – the sun is shining this morning in Stroud, the dew is in the grass, I miss kampala – but it is lovely here too.