Wednesday, August 22, 2007

How We Really Live

Tuesday evening Stephen Browning, the U.S. Ambassador to Uganda, hosted a cocktail hour for a congressional delegation led by Nita Lowey of New York. J RSVP’d but it was a last-minute decision to attend. Really, I was just in the mood to get dressed up. Also, I had missed the Fourth of July party at the ambassador’s house and I was curious to see the grounds. We drive by his house a few times each day going to and from our house, but you can see very little through the gates. Once, though, we saw a huge turtle walking along the driveway and we sort of hoped we’d see it again at the event, but no luck.

Drinks were served by the pool. The house sits very close to the road, so we had no idea a long set of stairs to the side of the house would bring you to a large back garden with pool and pool house. It was quite lovely. I’m so glad our tax dollars are put to such good use. We arrived about a half hour late to a small crowd gathered by the shallow end. 24 of the people there were associated with the congressional delegation, which included 6 congress people, their family, and aides. The only other name I remember is the Rev. Jesse Jackson Jr. from Illinois, but there were also two people from California, another one from New York in addition to Ms. Lowey, and a representative from North Carolina. I didn’t talk to any of them. Everyone else I talked to, though, was on a serious mission to hunt down the congress members and demand money from them for their organization. I’d have had nothing to say to them, really. J chatted with three of them while I was discussing with someone else how to go about finding representation for a novel this person had written. I think I even offered to read his manuscript.

The delegation was in Uganda for two days, one of which was spent traveling to and from Gulu in the north. Then they returned to Kampala, had a fancy cocktail party at the ambassador’s house, and went to sleep in the poshest and most expensive hotel in the country. In her speech Nita expressed how much they enjoyed seeing how people here really live. Keep dreaming, sister, keep dreaming. I wouldn’t even make such lofty claims after five months here.

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