Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Out of Kampala

I am no Karen Blixon and it is not 1914. I am not, it will be of no surprise to you, the only 'white woman' in Africa. There are few moments here that I feel this is the case. This is mainly due to the fact that I don't live in 'Africa', I live in Kampala.

Kampala, for the most part, is a dusty, dirty, busy, polluted city. There are few moments I forget this; playing tennis at the private club or when I'm in downward-facing-dog at yoga! Once I am out of the city, even as close as Monyonyo, then I'm in Africa!

On a recent trip to the crater lakes I could not help continually quoting Blixon as I looked over the vast areas of lush plantations that surrounded me. There in Fort Portal, you really feel like you are in Africa!(Just avoid the expat bar, the Glue Pot, and the golf club, that keeps stocked by donations from St.Andrews).

We were staying at Ndali, a truly a special place. The farm of 1000 acres was set up three generations ago by a Scot. After being exiled in the Amin years, the grandson reopened the farm and set up a lodge around the old family home. His cousin now runs the vanilla plantation that has the 'fair trade' stamp of approval and stocks Waitrose and other high-end UK stores.(I think I have those details right...)

My friend and I went for a run one morning during our stay at the lodge. Two of their African hunting dogs ran with us the whole way like life-long friends; protecting and guiding us around the estate and surrounding areas. The dogs trotted beside us like we were checking the progress of the farm; we felt rather privileged that we had this "Out of Africa" experience!

There are often moments of this immense passion for Africa, when you think,  "Here I am, where I am ought to be."

Africans are passionate about their football and it is hard not to get caught up(even a little) in the building world-cup fever. When the stereos blare out the Waka-Waka song (an old African school tune) and you hear"because this is Africa", you can't help sway your hips and hope "This time is (really) for Africa!"

Africa really is a place that gets hold of you and never lets you go.

                                                           Having a Blixon moment!