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My flight leaves at 3:40 am so I get a hotel room near the airport for a few hours. We’ve driven 8 and a half hours from Kasese, I’m still fragile from the vicious food poisoning yesterday. I lie quietly in the dark, reading on my iPad. 

Something keeps tickling me. There are dozens of tiny ants in the bed. I sweep them off me and change beds. Dogs bark endlessly outside my window. If I brought Kakwese home, she wouldn’t bark. 

I shower, gazing at my aching stomach. 18 hours of flying ahead.  I drag my bags down three flights of stairs, thump crash. The desk clerk jumps up to help me on the last four steps.

He tries to call the driver for me but his phone is blocked. Like mine. The government passed a law that everyone must register their SIM card with their national identity number. People have to travel to their home villages to wait in line for days to get IDs. I registered my phone with Gabriel’s ID but it stopped working anyway.

While we wait, he shows me what he’s watching on YouTube. A preacher who seems to be causing people to drop to the ground and writhe. “This is the best pastor in East Africa. He prayed for me to get a job, and I did.”

“My dream before I die is to go to Michigan and Oregon.”

“Why Michigan and Oregon?”

“The first man who gave me an American dollar was from Michigan. It is such a good place.”

“And Oregon?”

“The Oregon Ducks. It’s all about the Oregon Ducks! The first time I saw them, I thought, how can a person be a duck?! I pray to get to Portland before I die.”

The driver arrives and we make our way through the still warm dark to Entebbe. He straddles the line on the road. His breath fills the car and he complains about the cost of school fees, of sugar, asks me if I’m married.

We navigate the waves of security, drag my bags up the stairs. I keep thinking I feel ants on me. In the airport, I find one, then another, then another, running across my arms. 


The drive from Entebbe to Kampala is dark.  It almost always is for this drive, because the flights from Europe arrive in the dark. But it’s 4 am and raining so the streets are mostly empty, the roundabouts clear, not tangled with cars and bodas all stuck.

It’s my 10th time in Uganda, and I arrive alone, this time. It all folds over, so familiar.  The thick dark, the smell of charcoal burning, the amplified music that’s probably filling a nearly empty room.  The roads are gaping with holes, and Ronnie my driver fills the car with a discussion of the mess of politics, why Africa has such a hard time un-messing itself.  He believes that Trump’s promise to pull all the aid is a good one — we’ve been getting aid for 50 years and it’s not helping. We’re dependent and all we know how to do is grown matooke.  I tell him about Jared Diamond’s theory about the role of malaria and landscape creating a culture embedded in survival.  He says he likes Americans, Canadians and English people because they know how to see people.

It’s a long drive, and I have a headache from 24 hours of travel, and I no longer have an internal time clock.  In the airport in Istanbul, I met a famous primatologist who lived with the mountain gorillas in Rwanda, started the tourism program there, and now brings grad students to study conservation.  I want to sit with her and talk about what she’s seen over 40 years. I want to talk about what I’ve seen over 10.

I open the door to my balcony and step out, the african night rain surrounding me.  There’s lightning in the distance and the city is spread out below. A call to prayer starts below me.  I breathe and I’m here and I find me in the centre.

Learning to keep my bike healthy

I blogged about how learning to fix my bike changed my relationship with it.

Keeping your bike healthy

Make your day harder!

I wrote a nagging post about incorporating movement into your day for the Fitness blog yesterday.

Make your day harder! (Guest post)


Sunset from the gardiner on the way to yoga 


What do you do in the chill dark of February?  Learn to fix your bike. Among other nifty things  I replaced a cable gear guided by Albert from MEC.


Dancing on the spinning bike in the beach themed class