By: George Barasa
I was recently invited by my boss to attend a Kuchu Times workshop in Kampala, Uganda where I had the time of my life. I visited great places, met amazing people and my skin loved the Ugandan weather. What fascinated me most on this trip was a name given to one of the suburbs on the outskirts of Kampala.
‘The Pink Village’ as it is affectionately called within the community is an area that houses several activists; it is also a home to many Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex (LGBTI) Organisations.
This is a travel journal of some of the Ugandan memories I will forever carry with me and cherish.
The day after I arrived, I had the pleasure of being taken to one of the local bars in the Pink Village. Being far from home, I was on a mission to let loose as I was certain no one knew me in this foreign land, but how life loves to surprise us! I bumped into a friend I had last seen over five years ago and as if that was not pleasant enough, my hosts introduced me to one of Uganda’s delicacies- grasshoppers.
I was a bit hesitant to taste the fried insects but must admit I quickly caught on and enjoyed their chicken-like taste. Grasshoppers are seasonal and are available only twice a year.
24 Hour Business
Another aspect that quickly caught my attention was how busy Ugandans are; they reminded me of worker bees going about their business 24/7. People seem to have a mission at all times and when the night falls, even more souls come alive. I must also mention how struck I was at Ugandans’ friendliness and hospitality.
I watched the Mayweather-Pacquiao match at a local pub where I made acquaintance with a celebrated model whose body brings an hour glass to mind. I later met her at another joint where diversity was exhibited; people of all ages and backgrounds were in attendance.
It was lovely to see people come alive and embrace who they are without holding back, several couples cuddled in the corners and others wiggled on the dance floor. Unfortunately, I blacked out after few puffs of shisha cutting my night short.
Soon it was down to business and I was given an assignment to profile one of the LGBTI organisations that is easily accessible from the Pink Village. Here I met men with beards and that being my biggest weakness, I felt like I was in the presence of black Jesus’.
I was also gifted with a bottle of lubricant before leaving the organization premises; I am still coming up with a plan to put it to very good use.
The two day training was an eye opener and I believe I left a better writer. I acquired skills I am sure will come in handy in both my music and writing careers.
The most memorable escapade of the two day workshop was when I couldn’t find the foot path back to my host’s residence.
The LGBTI Fraternity
The highlight of my visit was the amazing men and women I met, all the activists have inspiring and tear-jerking stories to share. Running this community in different capacities, their warmth is humbling and watching them go an extra mile to ensure my comfort brought me close to tears.
Just when I thought the treats were done, my boss whisked me off to a bar with a live band. There, I had the chance to dance and sing along and also made acquaintance with the band’s lead singer.
A few days before I was set to leave, my boss hosted a farewell dinner for me and we later had a lengthy conversation where she imparted some of her knowledge, which I will forever be grateful for.
In just one week, the Kuchu Times team became my family and accepted me as one of their own. I miss the fun and cannot wait for another opportunity to visit.