As if the wild and wonderful disco wasn’t enough, my Ugandan birthday celebrations continued. Sunday dawned a beautiful sunny day and Cherie and Kirsty cracked open some latte sachets they’d brought from home. It was absolute bliss to finally be drinking coffee again (the irony of it all – one of Uganda’s main exports is coffee and yet they do not process it here so by the time it gets back to Uganda, it is too expensive for the locals to buy). I opened my presents, mostly hilarious things the girls had managed to find in Kyotera, but also pictures and cards Cherie had had the children make for my birthday and they were amazing. They contained the most gorgeous messages:
‘Teacher Emmy I am happy because your going to do happy birthday on Sunday.’
‘Emma I am going to be your friend thank you to be your friend. I am going to sing for you. I love you so much.’
Then came the showstopper – the girls had had a gomesi tailor-made for me – a traditional Ugandan dress, a little like a kimono. Rose and the other women were in hysterics watching me try to tie it and all the children came out to see this blonde muzungu dressed like a Ugandan woman. I totally blended in.
We had a big traditional Ugandan lunch of beans, rice, matooke (cooked green bananas– their staple food), cabbage and eggplant before heading into town on the back of a boda boda. We had a few drinks in the local hotel and got carried away making many a toast. Of course I ended up getting emotional but it was just that I am so happy to be here, so grateful to have found two incredible girls to share it with, who are on the same wavelength and in the same stage of life. Who would have thought this time last year that I was living on a yacht in the Greek Islands, being thrown in the water and dancing the night away in the Yacht Bar?! Oh how quickly life can change. But there is still nowhere I would rather be and my incredible day continued…
We got back to KAASO just before sunset to find that Ivan and Miral had set up the entire dining room with tropical fruits and banana leaves, had made fruit punch (spiked with vodka) and prepared guacamole with world’s largest avocados for our Mexican feast. But first, the sunset was calling. We went up a nearby hill that looks out over Lake Victoria and the hills of Tanzania and watched the sun set over one side and the full moon rise over the other. It was spectacular. The ‘emergency’ bottle of Oyster Bay sauvignon blanc was savoured from our makeshift sawn-off-water-bottles-cum-glasses. We made our way home along the moonlit dirt road back to KAASO where Rose, Sarah and the others were waiting. The Mexican feast went off to a soundtrack of the Gipsy Kings, our mouths were on fire from the hot chillies, washed down with the slightly lethal fruit punch and even our Ugandan friends enjoyed this new cuisine. The generator went out but the candles burned on and it will be a day and night forever etched in my mind.