Tuesday, 21 August 2007

Roots

Just back from a shebeen type bar in Wangagari, the local trading centre on the outskirts of Kampala that has grown up mainly to serve students coming out of Makerere for supplies, entertainment and general distraction from campus life. I went for dinner with two of my neighbours and ended up in a long discussion about tribes, family names, traditions and how you are defined historically as a person. In the UK we have such little understanding of our roots, everything has become mixed up and people can barely trace their family back three generations. In Uganda when you introduce yourself you are expected to say your own name followed by your father's (and his achievements), your grandfather's (and his achievements) and so on till you have covered at least ten relatives. It is true this applies almost exclusively to the men but despite all the problems tribalism may have created (mainly down to colonial segregation and type-casting) there is certainly something to be said in being proud of where you come from and being able to identify with people who would otherwise be total strangers...

Otherwise today has been spent battling with bureaucracy to try and get registered on my course. They had missed me out from the sheets they have posted outside the faculty of social sciences but hopefully that will soon be corrected. Looking down the list their is one Canadian, a Sudanese guy (african rather than arab from the name), a Rwandan and some Kenyans as well as the many Ugandans. I have also found out that virtually half of ECS (the school I taught at with Tom and Billy in the West of the country) are taking 'distance courses' here, including the headmaster and a teacher called Uwimana who started at the same time as us in 2004. This means they are here till the new term starts on the 17th Sept when I will probably travel back upcountry with them to visit the school and the Kamasaka family.

I will try and post some photos of my hall in the next couple of days.

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