The Magic of my blue rubber flip-flops

Trip Start Jul 28, 2009
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Trip End Mar 13, 2010


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Flag of Uganda  , Rakai,
Sunday, February 28, 2010

So, the last entry talked about how we built ourselves a pond and I did mention that we went to the Russians for some advice and we actually left there with a trained mason and 3 bags of sand and the promise to also get the cement. But in fact, we left with a wee bit something more, which I thought deserved its own tiny blog entry.

But before I get to that, let me tell you a bit more about the Russians. In fact, this name is a wee bit misleading, because most of them are, if truth be told, Israeli and only one guy is Russian, Alexander. But now, he is the one that picked us up and we thus gave that entire group his name, just like the Adhollas. Okay, not really his name, but the Alexanders doesn't sound as funny as the Russians. (You will see in due course!)

The first encounter with the Russians

Once upon a time…just kidding…Some good time ago, Gun and I walked from Sky Blue Hotel back to our house. Along the road, there was this convoy of UN trucks parked and more kept coming. We watched them for a while and then decided to go as we didn’t get what was happening anyways. After passing the convoy, this truck pulls out of the gate of the hotel opposite Sky Blue, which according to rumours belongs to Museveni’s mistress, and the guys inside the car, 2 bazungu, asked us if everything was alright which we answered in the affirmative. Honestly, we were both rather puzzled, because we had never seen any other bazungu before…in Lyantonde that is. We talked a bit about them and Gun said that she thought that it was quite nice that they asked. Moreover, she said that she felt safe whereas she might have been a bit more on the look-out had some Ugandans stopped to ask that, unless we would have known them. (People here keep telling us to trust no one and everyone is just out to hurt us; so at some point you do get a wee bit paranoid.)

The infamous Lyantonde Tea Party

When Chris came to Lyantonde we walked from town to our house and again a car with a mzungu stopped to ask if we were okay. Yes, just fine, thank you very much! He then offered us a ride. He was Russian and when I asked for his name, he told us that 'of course’ he is called Alexander, he is Russian! (Well, could have been just as easily Igor or Pitr or Vladimir or Putin.) Weirdest ride ever: the way from town to RACOBAO is rather simple or, as they say in Danish, lige ude af landevejen! I mean, once you hit the main road, which the road going through town does on both sides of the town, you drive until you see the sign saying ‘RACOBAO’ and there you turn to go up until you hit the office. This guy managed to miss the exit 3 times. How??? […] Anyways, after dropping us at the house he left only to return 20 minutes later to invite us for a tea party. Actually, it wasn’t so much inviting us as commanding us; we didn’t really see a way out of this and thus went back into the car. During the tea party we got to meet the other guys, who turned out to be Israeli and oba Serbian oba … ah, why do I even bother, I do not remember where they came from. Now, we were offered some cake and tea and soda and chocolate bars and beer and wine and vodka (of course). Let me tell you once again, this cake was a ‘tiny taste of heaven’! Nevertheless, we quickly realised that apart from Alexander and one or two other guys who stuck mainly to themselves, they all seemed dubious and dodgy; I wouldn’t trust them with nothing! They talked a lot about how all people in Lyantonde are crooks and that we have to be so very careful because we will in fact be robbed…sooner or later. (While Gun, Helene, Adholla and Chris have already managed to leave without ever having been robbed, I have two more weeks to go to prove their theory wrong!) Also, those guys talked non-stop about sex and how it is horrible that they are here because they are deprived of the most natural and important thing…sex! (Did I mention that most of them, if not all, are married?) The reason: all women in Lyantonde and surrounding are infected with AIDS and thus they don’t want to sleep with them. Now, rumour has it that they are sleeping with secondary school girls from that school behind RACOBAO, among others. Avi, the creepiest of them, who will become our (sand and cement) donor later on, kept talking about the colour of his underwear, which seemed to be well-known in entire Lyantonde. Yack!!! So, after getting out of there thanks to a lie (nice try, Chris, but man you stink at lying!), we decided we didn’t like them and planned to do our very best to avoid them henceforth.

Sticking to the plan…

Now, the plan was so simple and yet so difficult. After this infamous tea party, one day Gun and I chilled at the house and our door was open in order to get some air. It was one of those January days where it was 30-something degrees…you know ;-) So, this car pulled up and I looked out the window and saw that it was Alexander and 2 other guys. All panicky I shouted: ‘The Russians are coming!!! Close the door!!! The Russians…they are here!!!’ Yet, we realised that we didn’t have time to close the door if in fact we didn’t want to be seen, so we decided to leave it open and just hide. Now, where does one hide in a tiny room that is too overcrowded when Gore, Ruth and Francis visit in the same time (you could almost compare the room to Harry Potter’s chamber under the stair case - and we are no witches!)??? We both jumped into the corner of her bed and stopped breathing for a while. The Russians parked in a way so that they could look inside the room and honked their horn, but they never walked up to the door. Thank God they are lazy; it would have been difficult to explain why we were crouching in the corner of the bed holding each other. Now, once they had left we had a good laugh about this…’the Russians are coming’…that is funny! (Now see, ‘The Alexanders are coming’ wouldn’t have been all that funny.)

When Gun left the same thing happened again: my door was open and they honked outside. Now, luckily Mzee was just getting water from the tank, so again, they didn’t walk up to the door. I became disillusioned though, because it seemed like the plan wasn’t working! So, aborting the plan altogether, Khrissee and I now walked into their house. Alexander then told me that he thought we had left. Ja, mate, that was the plan, but … taataaaa…here I am! (At least the others got out alright!!)

Begging from the Russians

Now that we were there I have to admit I felt very uncomfortable at first. That creep Avi wasn’t around, which was good, but all the others lay there to relax a wee bit after their lunch. We stuck to Alexander, as we had singled him out as the sweet one during the tea party. Now, Alexander’s English is only slightly better than my Russian, so he told us to wait until his supervisor comes; he will (a) understand and (b) be able to help. So, we once again were offered sodas and chocolate and sat there watching Discovery Channel (God Bless the Russians!) This time, those guys were really sweet actually. They asked genuine questions and no one even mentioned anything slightly related to sex and after a while I didn’t feel all that uncomfortable any longer. (Maybe it was the long overdue sugar intake!)

When the supervisor came, he turned out to be Avi…aaarggghhhh!! But even he was very nice today. (Maybe there was something in the food today…but I did blame it on the fact that they were pissed last time we were around while they were sober now!) Avi really tried to help and this guy sitting next to him also commented here and there and otherwise just sat there and smiled at us. When we left, Khrissee told me that she thought that smiling guy was rather cute. Njaahhh, he was alright…for what my opinion is worth! Anyways, the following day we went back to ‘pay a visit’ and thereby secure our donations. Khrissee was all made-up. Now, I told her that she should charm Avi to get the things and she pointed at herself and said: ‘This is all the charm he gets!’ (Go, get’em, tiger!) A tiny wee part of me thought that maybe she did it for that smiling guy. ;-) When we arrived, they were in a meeting. We waited and were then finally met by Avi how took us inside and gave us almonds. (Oh, maybe we should become friends with them…just to get their food!) We talked a bit and were told to come pick up the things (sand and cement) at 5pm. Yeah!

Ten to 5…yes, Lukyamuzi tunrs mzungu…we drove down there and Avi came. He then told us that there was something he needed to tell us. Oh no, we won’t get the things after all??? (Well, parts of me wished that had been the reason.) But no, he told us that this guy, Sivan, has …no no wait…first of all, let’s finish this thought: so we did get the things, but have so far only received the sand.

Blue rubber flip-flops…charming!

By now you are probably thinking: ‘where the heck is she going with this? We read the other entry and know you got the things and ate the chocolate and will build yourself a pond!’ Well, the thing Avi told us was in hindsight quite funny and I needed to make sure that we are properly leading up to what is coming now. So, he said that this guy, Sivan, had ‘fallen in love’ with ‘you’. Since he didn’t look at either one of us, we didn’t know who ‘you’ was…might even have been both of us. Now, I got already annoyed, because how can you fall in love with someone you haven’t even talked to and apart from Alexander and Avi we didn’t talk to anyone really other than: ‘Soda?’ - ‘Oh, thanks. Coke, please!’ Avi shouted Sivan’s name and … the smiling guy came around the corner! I had this wee grin and my face, coz I thought that’s great, now Khrissee will get her cute guy in the blue jumpsuit. Sivan, with that constant smile on his face, came towards us and handed a wee paper to … ME!!!! I was totally dumbstruck and must have looked so funny! Me? Seriously!? I went there wearing my blue flip-flops…

Tiny wee insert: Ruth and Gore have renamed the Russians ‘The Israelites’, which I think is quite funny…guess reading the Bible did rub off on me!

Now, the thing is I got this guy’s number. Period. Ruth said that she could just imagine the situation: while Khrissee, all dressed up, kept talking and talking to impress him and I sat there enjoying my soda, chocolate and TV, this guy pretended to be listening to Khrissee only to find the right moment to direct his brilliant Joey imitation (How you doin’?) at me. (Okay reading this is not as funny as watching her actually do it; she has the funniest face-expressions…and does a pretty good Joey too!) The paper, a half-torn yellow post-it (Carry Bradshaw gets dumped on a post-it, I get asked out; but at least hers was not half-torn), says: ‘Call if you like’ and is signed with his name. Ruth that cheeky bugger wondered what was implied by that: ‘Does he mean: call if you like Sivan or call if you like some?’ ;-) Either way, I won’t call! I kinda feel sorry for Sivan though, because again he does seem like a nice guy (from what I can gather, without ever having talked to the man). I just wish he had chosen the right girl. Khrissee is ‘mad’ at me. Ruth then said I should give her the number, which I tried, yet she refused. Gore pointed out that it is because she wanted to be the first choice. Well, … She was made up; I wore blue rubber flip-flops!
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