The comparative comfort of our language classes in Kampala.

The comparative comfort of our language classes in Kampala.

We leave to go north to Gulu, Uganda’s second city, about half a million people. Once you get out of Kampala the road is dead straight.

Leaving Kampala

Leaving Kampala

It starts out as a two lane highway, some six hours later it has become single track with occasional tarmac.

The road north to Kampala

The road north to Kampala

The famous red dust of Africa blows in clouds around the huge trucks going further north with materials to reconstruct South Sudan. There are no street lights in Gulu, cars loom out of the dusty darkness, some of the Bodas have lights the bicycles do not and none of hundreds of pedestrians use any form of lighting. What light there is coming out of the small shops is made soft by the dust (there are no road surfaces or pavements) walking about is strangely silent as the dust soaks up the sound.

That does not last. It is later and we are sitting on the balcony of one of the houses in our compound in the centre of town, it is a bit (not much) cooler than the 40 something it got to today. Somewhere across town is a huge dance festival with a series of local rap acts, it is to include Chameleon, the biggest pop star in Uganda. Each successive turn is louder and more dependent on the distorted bellow end of the discipline than the last, their sets are punctuated by occasional shouts of “Gulu are you ready”. Two blocks away Sammiz night club is pumping out Ragga, small children run up and down outside shouting “Muno, Muno” (whiteman, whiteman). The men working in the metal shop on the corner seem to be putting in some overtime. There is so much aural attack from so many different sources it swirls around like white noise, much like the dust really; this is not the Home Counties it is far more interesting.

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