Monday, March 24, 2008

Easter Evening

Ekitoobero's Menu - made from bark. A traditional Ugandan restaurant

Kalundi and Maria question the waitress in Luganda, the language of Buganda (central Uganda)

Billy Kahora from Nairobi 

Binyavanga at dinner, while Maria looks on


Dinner with Kalundi (Ugandan filmmaker) and Maria (Ugandan accountant) and Billy Kahora (Kenyan editor - works with Binyavanga on the literary journal, Kwani?). We ate at Ekitoobero - a surreal experience. The bright yellow room made everyone look somewhat ill. The service was bizarre - we were asked to pay in advance, Maria had to get clean tablecloths for us to put on ourselves, the entire restaurant was geared - it seemed - to be watching the soccer match between Chelsea and Aresenal. Our was the only room of many in which the TV wasn't on. Anytime  a goal was scored, cheering interrupted our conversation.

And what a conversation. Kalundi was very curious as to why we were in Africa, and suspicious of Western fascination in the HIV/AIDS pandemic. It was his grandmother's town in Uganda that was ground zero for the disease in the late eighties. He lost most of his extended family. He is clearly tired of talking about it - and of talk of it. As he said, many Africans have died of many things, but the West seems fixated on this. Why?

A good question. To which he provided some challenging answers. These may turn up in the work.

A fascinating night.

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