Tuesday, May 25, 2010

What I think about when I think about running through Bukoto!

Yesterday the Hash ran through one of Kampala's worst slum areas, built on the swamps of Bukoto.

I live in this area, but not in the slum...just round the corner! When I drive past the outskirts of the slum,on the by-pass,I'm not ashamed to say that I just hold my nose and put my foot down (I bet you would do too...so don't act righteous!)

As you can imagine, the run was not a pleasant one. Jumping over sludge and mud and things you don't even want to think about. My trainer scraped the inside of my leg and I nearly cried at the thought of catching cholera...(I have been reading Shantaram at the moment...so I got a little carried away with myself!).
About 70 hashers scrambled through the slum for about 50minutes and I am sure we have been the best entertainment there for quite some time...70 Hashers, some fat, some thin, some Ugandans, some Muzungus-jumping over sewage and under hanging underwear, hordes of children running to beat us in this race to nowhere. (Unfortunately running in flipflops through mud and rocks -there was tumbles and tears!). We even were stopping in our tracks by a camel at one stage!

When the run had finished and we gathered at a local bar, I apologised to the new-comers...who may never come back to the Hash after such an experience! A regular runner then threw in the comment and stated
that it made a change from the wide leafy avenues of Kololo
(or the golf course!) and
that we needed a reminder of how our neighbours live.

This is true...but I make no pretenses about my reasons for being in Africa. I am not in fact here to save the world; just myself perhaps from the life of rushing home to the sofa for the daily offerings of soap (the kind on the TV)! I am not 18 years old on a gap year; here to make the world more colourful with by bleached blond hair and my over-enthusiastic smile. (The sections of ex-pat life in Kampala-la need a whole blog to itself!I am somewhere between VSO worker and NGO worker-with dreams of a yummy-mummy status!!)

I do what I can to help those I know that are in need of support to get a leg-up during these tough times. My job pays me and I don't feel guilty about the way I live. Ok, running through may not be as bad as going on the new craze of 'slum tours' that they offer tourists in Mumbai or in areas of South Africa. As I said, the book that I am reading at the moment gives me more than enough of my share of 'slum life' at the moment. When I have had enough I close my book and am happy that I don't have tidal waves of rats sweeping through my flat; just mice and grasshoppers! I don't feel the need to run around the homes of people in the slum, who wouldn't themselves be there if they had any other option.

My response to the fellow Hasher...
"Give me leafy Kololo any day!"