A story from Kampala, and a very odd bird.

My excuse for the gaping silence since the weekend is totally genuine: I have been cooped up at a swanky hotel at Heathrow for 3 days on standby duty. Apart from allowing the airline to run an operation without grinding to a halt, this also partly explains why it is in financial disaster zone. I didn’t get used, so came home last night, released from my hermetically sealed box, with your standard airport hotel window, (i.e. non-opening). Actually, mine was non-viewing, looking into the internal atrium.

Remind me not to commit an offense punishable by imprisonment: I even had multi-channel tv and a swivelling easy chair and still felt locked-up. Locked-up with wi-fi at rates beyond my means. I didn’t fancy the option of trundling around said airport looking for a hot spot either, so my post has had to wait.

The enforced solitude did however offer the opportunity to really get stuck in to ‘Women in Love’ and more importantly, pay attention. I even tried reading it out loud in various accents I thought suitable to the time and place. (Note to self: don’t do this in public. Actually, why the hell not.)

The airline have finally given me something to do this week and so off to Toronto tomorrow. And again on Sunday. So, before I depart, please accept this offering.

It is a small flavour of Kampala, Uganda. In fact, a very small flavour; a sniff really. Mostly taken from the seat of our transport from the airport. I think it has the material for a longer story, but since I have imposed a 250 flash limit on myself, I have kept it short.


Sister Maria coughed as she leant against her school gate; clutching her tumorous stomach, she prayed, eyes closed, head back.

‘Not today, Lord, please.’

Above the dusty city prehistoric storks glided on invisible heat, lusting for carrion; hungry for death.

Maria stepped forward, over the trickling sewer. She peered down the hill, trying to spot the Archbishop’s car. Inside, her life’s work waited patiently for their graduation, proudly waving away flies.

Along the gritty road, clogged and choking, Maria watched as the hopeful opened shacks selling bruised fridges and dented dreams; the hopeless swept dust and the last of their dignity from their cardboard porches. Further away, fuming mini-vans snorted diesel, impatient to cross the stream of traffic like unruly wildebeest.

‘Good morning Sister, I hope you are blessed today.’

Maria turned to the “Look Good” barber shack leaning precariously next to the playground wall.

‘Thank you Paul, I hope so too,’ said Maria, smiling, ‘and thank you for making the children look so smart. Please let me know how much I owe you.’

Paul shook his head.

‘Sister, I do not believe you can afford to pay for twenty hair cuts.’

‘And I do not believe you can afford to work for free.’

‘Then,’ said Paul, turning away, ‘we are equal in this matter.’

Maria marvelled at the generosity of the poor as a stork landed greedily next to the gate, assessing its options.

‘As I said,’ called Maria as the Archbishop’s car pulled up, ‘not today, thank you.’

Copyright: flyingscribbler. 2010

The stork described is the Maribou Stork, otherwise known as The Undertaker Bird.

Stay tuned for Canadian themed posting soon. I’m rather enjoying this.

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