Friday, 4 September 2015

Strange Propositions

Can I begin by sharing the minor discovery that everyone celebrating their birthday around this time was conceived on New Year's Eve? Let that sink in. These Virgos... Happy Birthday to my beautiful best friend, on that note.

My roommate and I discovered this cute little coffee shop near where we work. I love cute, little coffee shops. Those and book stores would be the ideal place to meet The One. There about 10 or so tables, the Mocha is amazing and cheaper than most other places, and the barista/waiter/owner does not hover. Because we are young and poor, we have to walk along this deserted road to get there. Our youth and poverty has been the reason behind some fun adventures.

The first time we walked there, we ran into two men in a black Range, packed outside a house with an ominous, black gate. One of them called out to us to stop and come closer. At this point I had been in Kampala for about 2 months and was beginning to let my guard down. Assuming that they were lost, I walked back to help. Man 1 introduced himself and I noticed what was quite possibly a West African accent. He asked us to greet Man 2 who was sitting in the back seat. Man 2 had long, untidy dreadlocks. My kidnapper alert was now hyperactive. While I surveyed the area for possible escape routes and tried to calculate how fast I could possibly run up the hill to get away (I am not much of a runner but Man 1 was really chubby and I figured I could outrun him. Man 2, on the other hand, could have been a Kemboi for all I knew), Man 1 asked if my roommate and I could take a selfie with him. For a brief moment I wondered if 'selfie' was code for 'I would now like to bundle you into the boot of this car'. When he didn't make any attempt to get out of the car, I then concluded that 'selfie' meant just that, in this context. I politely declined and we walked off.

Calling me a freak magnet is an understatement

Our most recent adventure was not as harmless as the one described above. Yesterday, just as we were walking past the infamous black gate and reminiscing, a man on a bodaboda circled us twice. After all this time in Kampala I have grown familiar with boda drivers propositioning me. I barely register their presence. We tried to walk around him before he said something in Luganda and tried to grab my roommate's purse. Being the Kenyan she is, she had been holding onto it tightly and he was unsuccessful. We tried to get away. In a moment like that, I naturally freeze while normal people scan the area for possible weapons. Fortunately, we did not need to fight our way out because our terrible purse snatcher seemed to rethink his ways. He rode off, leaving a lasting image of the green, plastic bag tied around the carrier of his bike.   

The world seems to be telling poor, young me that I need to buy a car to drive to lunch! I am also grateful that my run ins with criminals have been limited to the slow witted, cowardly criminals.

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