Sitting at an outside table at the Highway Restaurant here in Kyenjojo, Uganda. I've been envisioning feasting on a large plate of posho and beans since I arrived in the country, and I found a place to make this reality.
"Do you have posho and beans?"
(Roturo chatter aside)
"What did you say?" Smiling, addressing the woman sitting in the corner.
She chuckles, "I was saying she should charge you 5000, because you are rich!" Hearty laughter. I glare at her, and turn to confirm my order. I thank the hostess in Rutoro, turn, and head to my table-with-a-view.
"I'm not rich!"
Outside, I am almost immediately served a huge dollop of posho with a side of baked beans. Perfect!
"Do you have any peri peri?"
"It is over."
A newsie wanders over, drops a paper on my table. Yes, I will buy this paper, thank you! As I read Museveni's snarky "State of the Union" address, I can feel eyes on me--the inquisitive, but oddly passive eyes of young boys. I raise my eyes to meet theirs, shoot out a greeting, drop my eyes. Posho, beans, chew. I
It is only a matter of time.
I squint at the two boys. "Hey! How are you!"
Posho, beans. Museveni is insisting to me that he has brought about fundamental changes. Anyone who says otherwise is sick.
"From where do you come?"
"The United States!"
Occasionally a passerby will stop to join the boys in staring, perhaps hoping I'll do something exotic, or start spewing 100 dollar bills. Quickly they lose interest. Am I rich?
Gesturing for some reason at my food, I declare my love for posho and beans.
"No, no. Us? We dislike it."
Of course they do. There is Mountain Dew here in Uganda, and they've almost certainly tasted it. Nothing will ever be the same.
"Give to me your hat as a gift!" A wry grin, cock of the head.
"You give me a gift!"
Hearty laughter. What a ridiculous suggestion! An older man stops by long enough to tell me he has friends in Houston, Texas and New York City. I tell him how wonderful that is! The massive amount is posho is slowly dissolving.
"Your words are handsome."
"My words? Are...handsome?"
"Thank you! I have been speaking English for a long time."
The smaller boy wants me to know he has a friend in Singapore. In Singapore, their English is...(looking up to the right, scrunching face)... "very strong."
The older boy tells a nearby man about my hat. My hat is very expensive. Two men shuffle over and sit at my table, ignoring my greeting. Is my hat in danger? I don't want to share my table with two surly, silent men. Two more bites, a scoop of beans, and a swig of treated water, "Goodbye!" I assure the hostess that her posho and beans were very tasty, placing the palm of my hand on my stomach as proof. See? I love it.
And just like that my hat is atop my head, safe from lustful children and sullen men, and I'm strolling down the dusty street, rich as hell.