Mr. Besigye’s Jinja Rally

When I posted last week, I wished I had photos at the culmination of Mr. Besgiye’s rally. A local friend, Noah, attended the rally and took several photos of the action (thank you Noah).

These photos, combined with what I felt when this same rally took over both lanes of Main Street, make it hard to believe Besigye won’t get elected as president. Of course, that is the intention. Unlike the polite and restricted political photo ops and news conferences in Canada, even my brief and at-a-distance encounter with this very public rally screamed and pulsed with the unfettered joy of lovers who had not touched in months.

I can only imagine what it was like to be at the rally’s climax.

 

Advertisements

Political Shenanigans

Uganda votes for their president on February 18th: It is election crunch time. Posters advertising candidates are everywhere, and the men (sadly only men) themselves are making their rounds. Dr. Kizza Besigye, opposition leader and strongest candidate next to incumbent Yoweri Museveni, visited Jinja and area today.

The rally blocked both lanes of Jinja’s two-lane and two-direction main street for half an hour or more, its seething mass moving toward the center of town. It began elsewhere in the city in the morning and then toured through the area surrounding Jinja.

Music blared from boulder-sized speakers mounted on trucks. Men and women clung to the sides, tops, and rears of vehicles using anything they could hold on to, dancing and shrieking with envious joy. Boda boda (motorcycle taxi) riders and passengers were so dust-coated their skin had turned the orange-red of Ugandan soil.

I felt nervous watching, but smiled in spite of myself. Such enthusiasm and excitement were infectious, though there was no need to be close (I really have no part to play in the election), so I observed from a safe distance.

I did not see Dr. Besigye in the procession.

A Doxy Lesson

Doxycycline is a daily antimalarial prophylaxis. In fewer syllables: it helps prevent malaria. It is my third line of defense after killing every mosquito I meet and mosquito nets.

It has a multitude of other uses. For example, my skin will be clear of acne, and there is almost no chance I will be harmed by anthrax nor the bubonic plague. Regardless of its other uses, I use it to prevent malaria, so I’m glad it exists and I am happy take a daily dose.

Worth noting, however, is that it must be taken after eating a reasonable meal. “A good bed of food” was the description given by my local coordinator.

…which I learned after I found out what ‘doxy’ looks like on the inside of a toilet bowl.

Netting

Mosquito nets are common in Uganda. The fine mesh draped over bed posts in the above photo is one such net. For those unfamiliar with mosquito nets, their purpose is singular:

They keep mosquitoes out.

…which takes on a greater purpose in the global South. Malaria-bearing mosquitoes are a known quantity here. Fatal if not treated quickly and correctly, malaria is as scary as any other tropical disease and more insidious because of its unassuming transmission medium. As awful as the disease itself is, antimalarial treatment alone is worth avoiding. Many people familiar with “quinine” will attest to psychotic side effects.

Let’s go back to netting, but stop momentarily to talk about doors. It is an accepted fact that doors must be closed to be effective.

20160124_194110-Small.jpg

You could drive a bus of mosquitoes through that door.

A mosquito net must be tucked under the mattress to be effective. In this case, the bed’s posts are too far apart to tuck netting under the mattress (thus my original problem). Few, if any, nets of that size would be available.

My first thought was to hang it from the ceiling. That would require purchasing an eyelet to screw into the ceiling. My Scottish blood went pale and clutched its metaphorical wallet. Screws in the bedposts were also out of the question, since my collection of saved and leftover screws, a testament to frugal advice from my Dutch opa, was back in Canada.

I knew my heritage would eventually cave to self-preservation. However, after a long night spent trying (unsuccessfully) to kill a single mosquito inside the net, staring at the bedposts like a lazy lion might watch for prey to walk within claw’s reach, I reached a conclusion.

String.