Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Network Issues in Uganda

Let me do something I hate to do, but because I’m pressed for time, have no choice. Tell a really lovely little story, an anecdote actually, badly. 

I was in a taxi (my stories often seem to start that way!), late at night (I have that kind of job) and we were all just trying to get home in as much companionable silence as possible. Until on some stage, a cantankerous, loud talking group of three men from the bar clambered aboard. 

The fumes of beer, on the first half of the journey, had been tolerable because the mouths that belched them were shut most of the time. In appropriate guilt, we the non drinkers liked to think. Until this group literally seemed to invade us, to shatter the peace, to demand we rouse ourselves from our dozing stupors. 

We wanted to pay attention, listen to the adventures that had them alternately giggling and shoving each other in merriment. But there was one problem. We could not, at least I could not, comprehend exactly what they found so funny. I thought it was a lost in translation thing. Until the driver, who I was seated next to, at another stage, as these guys took far too long to clamber again aboard, demanded to know what was taking them so long. Leg co-ordination. 

Challenged, the three men became even more vociferous. There was one in particular, who seemed so moved, kept thumping on the railing separating the front seats from the kameme, to emphasise his point, with lots of hmm, eh! Kyoka ensi eno

We all wanted to understand but there seemed to be a problem. The driver, sharp-eyed in that dark night, saw it first, and expertly pointed it out. 

“Naye byogamba nga tebilina network?” 

Rough translation, “Have you lost your network? You are not making sense.”

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