E – Diary #5

Diary 5
Saturday 28th july
Sweet green tea, Sweet corn, mice and bike baskets

It’s official, you can’t buy green Tea here even though they grow it abundantly. Milk has to be boiled so is impractical to have with the essential “our man in Kampala” beverage, Tea.
Getting used to black tea though – from a teabag made in India…. In a prior dossier our man may have mentioned he introduced MTCEA to the art of tea making and the test was passed today when, without encouragement, one of our interns, Lidia, shyly put the newly acquired kettle on for a brew. She’s never seen one before, especially cordless, magic! They boil water on charcoal stoves outside. No kitchens. They have their tea with sugar. Ayubu needs TWO TABLE SPOoNS OF SUGAR to get near the stuff.
I just bought a corn cob from one of the girls, maybe 6 years old, selling it up and down the street. Apparently it’s been boiled but doesn’t taste like it had more than a passing glimpse at hot water. Very nice in a raw sort of way. And very sweet in so many ways.
Check photo of the best mouse pad here. Jake, you are a star for offering to send replacements, and maybe some better keyboards and mice… And all the other things on the list! A little goes such a long way here; a mouse would cost close to an average week’s wages.
I got a bike baSket fitted to my trusty steed, “Blue Bell”, just now,.as well as getting an extension saddle pole welded on. Suppressed amazement and genuine admiration for how the “mechanic” dealt with the challenges of no work bench (the dirt road is my desk top, bwana), a partial set of ring spanners, one of those horrible multi-spanners you get with a kid’s bike, a welder with no maSk, not even sun glasses and literally no nuts and bolts.

I thought that stopping for these roadside repairs would make me late for the 9 am meeting at the office but it’s 11.30 now and Peter’s only just arrived.
Peter took me on the back of his 125 cc m bike to see the big white chief, chairman of MTCEA; he said it was 2km. Well  after 30 mins we got there, fascinating bloke, ex government, fingers in so many pies, construction, Crops, practically offered me a job Helping him to develop and sell real estate, extremely low tech coffee production, off to a meeting, etc, but what a character! Such good humour, very bright and happy.
The tea thing is really catching oN.at the office but I still can’t find any green tea. I’m not giving up. May have to take a trip to the tea gardens near Jinja. Bought ground nuts from A woman hawking her nuts, as you do, to go with the afternoon tea. Much humour.
On the way home on Blue Bell, my newly extended bike saddle gave way, oh no!, bending slowly backwards until I could no longer retain any sense of dignity whatsoever, much to the extreme amusement of all passers by!! OK, back to the guy with the welder, who took me down the street to a woman who sold me a long pole for 3000 sh, $1.50, and job done. Confidence somewhat sapped I took the bull bars by the car horn and ventured into a “bar” for a beer. Watched some Olympics. Cycling on home a local comes alongside me on the dirt track (and dirty takes on a whole new meaning) and we chat fOr several minutes. His wife is a midwife he tells me. Then a huge truck over takes us,.dust dust cough cough, just about forcing us into a ditch, and the discussion ends. Lovely!
Now sitting on the little deck with Charmie the maid, she’s slicing a cabbage and playing Kelly Clarkson as loud as her cell phone will allow. She’s good company,.about 21 I’d say and VERY interested on all things exotic. Spent all day reading my Wild Tomato magazine, which she is determined to be in, and which may yet turn out to happen. The clouds are building, the banana leaves are thumping. Young children are running after each other and the village, Namparika, is at one, as I am.


7 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Jo thompson
    Jul 28, 2012 @ 21:43:06

    Is Wild Tomato magazine about wild tomatoes, or other things??
    Great reading about your days and all your new friends Sim.
    Savlon on its way!!
    love Jo x


  2. Maria Bennich
    Jul 28, 2012 @ 23:43:52

    Sounds like you are really enjoying your time in Uganda so far. John and I are keen diary followers and always look forward to the next entry. Write a list of what is most needed and I’ll see what is laying around not being used. Especially computer stuff or perhaps old cellphones? Maybe even Summit has stuff laying around? Let us know. Maria&John


  3. Anna Li
    Jul 29, 2012 @ 00:24:40

    Loving the blog dad! When is the best time to call you, or is it quite random? You seem to be more than adapting to this amazing place that you describe. So happy for you dad, love from Anna


  4. Anna Li
    Jul 29, 2012 @ 00:27:13

    can’t find the photos? Am I blind?


    • simthomas
      Jul 30, 2012 @ 16:40:46

      Hi Anna, lovely to hear you. The photos, wel there should be plenty in the main “posts” section, but maybe not the ones referred to.
      It would be lovely to chat. If you could check the time difference? Skype me around 6-7pm my time would be lovely. Skype us very poor here. If that doesn’t work a quick phone call would be good.
      +256 772 385657
      Love you! Email me with your news if you have a chance. When are you back in kiwi land?


  5. john
    Jul 30, 2012 @ 05:06:20

    Photos of yourself and blue bell long overdue. Hand someone else the camera for a bit Simon so we can see you in your new place.


  6. hilarity2
    Jul 30, 2012 @ 16:57:47

    Love following you and your new friends. I could send a couple of keyboards and some mice if you can tell me how and where to send them. We’d love to help. They seem like wonderful people. Your “wealth of poverty” is a wonderful image. Love Hili


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