We are now in Kyaliwajjala. The last quarter of the journey was unending. I pity those who still have to bear with the slow driving all the way to Namugongo. The night air echoes with hooting cars and footsteps of pedestrians retiring to their homes. The streets are lined with shops built in an identical manner, square shaped with wide open doors that run from wall to wall, the merchandise in each completely different from the other. One shop sells groceries and toiletries, another deals in electronics, the other is a boutique of sorts and the other a video library with CDs stack up in shelves in a resplendent display. There is a sweet scent of deep fried gonja wafting in the air. A security light from a grocery shop pierces through the darkness and highlights a makeshift kitchen in front of the shop. A woman with a huge metallic spatula is using it to turn gonja in dark caramel oil. She is bending over a charcoal stove crowned with a wide mouthed frying pan. Right next to the stove is a raised table with fried plantain fingers displayed on a silver tray. Kaine stops by the gonja stand and points out four fingers to the woman who has now left the stove to attend to us.
I have fond memories of Kyaliwajja. We stayed here briefly when I was eight years before we moved to Kasokoso. Back then Kyaliwajjala was remote and far from town so Dad opted to buy land in Kasokoso. Well, Mr. Kwikiriza is not my dad really. The Kwikirizas have two children; Tom who hopes to study Architecture at Makerere University next year and Dad’s little princess, Rabella.
I never met my biological dad but I stay with mother at the Kwikiriza’s. When she got employed I was about three. Everyone called her Juliet and whenever I did too, adults would laugh and mother would smile along. When the Kwikiriza’s had their first child, Mr Kwikiriza became Dad and Mrs Kwikiriza became Mom, and mother remained Juliet.
The Home in Kyaliwajjala belongs to Kaine’s parents. Her mother works in Kenya and is usually away. Most of the time the main house is empty except for the countable days when her father is around. I have been coming here for the last five years but I have never caught a glimpse of her Dad. She used to stay in the main house but was kicked out two years ago for smoking and bringing men to her room. She now lives in the servant chambers.
“Peter is not yet home”, Kaine sighs with relief when we find no car parked in the compound.
We have that in common; calling our Parents by their first names although for Kaine, it is out of contempt. Peter forbids her to bring visitors to his home until she can afford her own. I literally sneak in and out of this place whenever I visit.
You do not have a complete perception of the word disorganized until you have been to Kaine’s room. It is the bedroom, library, closet, TV room and dining room. Things don’t belong in Kaine’s room. The mattress is a little narrower than the bed. While it fits into the wooden bed lengthwise, if you rolled over towards the wall, you would fall onto wooden bars without mattress. Instead of mattress form, this side of the bed is stuffed with a blanket to improvise on such nights when Kaine has to share her bed. The TV stand is at the foot of the low bed; a white metallic stand with a Dell laptop on its middle rack next to a small heap of salt, tomato sauce sachets from a previous meal and a huge lump of tissue that was obviously taken from a bigger roll probably from the main house.
Kaine boils water using the electric kettle in the main house while I prepare the bed. The two bed sheets on the bed belong to different pairs each; one has predominantly pink flowers, the other predominantly yellow flowers. George Orwell’s 1984, a metallic hunger, a pearly pink artificial shell that serves as ashtray but whose contents have partly spilled onto the bed sheet, a used match stick, small crumbs of bread and other crumbs that feel like little sand-stones; all these are off the bed by the time Kaine walks back with two mugs filled with cinnamon spiced tea.
Kaine smokes before each meal. She does it for the munchies. I do not smoke with her because she has no Dunhills. We have tea with the fried plantain and I dose off shortly while Kaine tortures her nerves through another episode of the TV series ‘American Horror Story’.
Copyright © 2016-2017 by Daphine Arinda