I was away on the weekend at a wedding of a friend's nephew in the upcountry district of Bushenyi. The day was long but enjoyable, and as it was also a graduation party I was made to follow the Ugandan tradition of recent graduates attending in full academic dress - mortar board and all (pictures to follow!). This is in part to inspire young children to work hard and try to attain a university place, which in Uganda can be a tough ask due to the high fees. Government sponsored places are ultra-competitive and therefore only the very top A-level performers are eligible.
The wedding itself began in the local church at 2pm and moved to the house of the groom's grandparents for the reception. There were many speeches, including a brief effort from yours truly which was saved by a few words of the local Ryankole language (very similar to the Ritagwenda spoken where I taught in 2004), that seemed to amuse people. The only problem with the day was the born-again Christians who had run off with the key to the shed with all the booze in it! They were determined to keep it a dry wedding but the father of the groom (a relative of the President) was having none of it, so we were soon making trips to the local bottle store to bring back beer and Uganda Waragi. These supplies, combined with a fiery pot of local beer that was been brewed next door, ensured the after-party continued deep into the night.
I was staying with a friend of mine from the post-graduate hall at Makerere. He and his family very hospitably put me up for what was left of the night and got me on a bus back to Kampala the next day. The Commonwealth has now truly descended on the city and thousands of plain clothed special forces are crawling all over the centre. This is because the Ugandan Government does not want gun toting uniformed soldiers standing on street corners to put off the visitors. The soldiers have instead retreated to the suburbs - out of harms way of the delegates but instead annoying the rest of us. Traffic is also even worse than normal, grinding parts of the city to a halt and even disrupting the frequent motorcades that attempt to carve through everyone from the airport.
I will try and put up a daily update until the end of CHOGM on Sunday.