Sunday, 17 May 2015

I Want Books... not Stationery!

*sigh* picture courtesy of
I have been having a great time settling into Kampala, though I suspect that the side of town I live, work and hang out at has a lot to do this. All the same, to give the devil his due, Kampala has been good to me. Before I go on I have to mention that since leaving my favourite radio stations in Nairobi, I while away my days streaming music online. I am currently listening to songs from the Grey's Anatomy soundtrack. That said, I hope my current emotional state doesn't seep into this post.

Last week I felt comfortable enough to go somewhere on my own. A shopping center like place near town called Wandegeya to access my ATM (ain't nobody got time for Mastercard charges!). My main worry was how I'd tell the conductor to stop when I got there. I still haven't gotten the hang of pronouncing long multi-syllable words without pauses. Try pronouncing Wandegeya... or Kembabazi in a single breath! I kept mouthing 'masao' (masawo?) to myself the whole way. Fortunately someone else was alighting at my stage and did the honours.

After that successful bank run, yesterday I ventured into the city alone. I had finally run out of movies and novels and I couldn't face a new week in such a state. I alighted at a very central part of the city and begun walking uphill before realising that the term 'uptown' was taken literally here. I passed a few banks, travel agencies, classy hotels and the parliament before deciding that downhill was probably the way to go.

Anyone who knows me knows how terrible I am with directions. Even left and right confuse me so let us not get into the details of North and South! With my weakness in mind, I tried to walk in one general direction. Two streets down I found myself along a decidedly down-town street. There was noise, actual people (for a city the streets I'd walked along had been deserted) and more motorbikes than usual. I walked along the street: past store after store that stocked printers and printing paper. At some point the stores gave way to mall-like buildings with several stalls... all selling stationery in various forms. Most had signs advertising plastic ID printing... which I did not know was a thing. Aren't IDs an institutional thing and shouldn't your institution provide them for you? Incidentally, this was one of the busiest streets I had come across yet. Apparently stationery is a huge thing here.

A few turns later I stumbled upon a movie stall but I didn't see a single street book seller. I guess stationary and books aren't as directly correlated as you'd think. I have finally concluded that the thing I miss most about Nairobi is my street bookseller. I was musing that if I could conjure one thing to bring here I'd have a hard time deciding between my bookseller (with his whole stash!) and my boyfriend. But since the boyfriend promised to bring me books I guess he has unevened the playing field.

Seriously though, if any Kampalians   Kampala people are reading this and know where I can get affordable books... which incidentally happen to be second hand books, please help out a sister!