Power-saving mode

On the way here, Gerald the driver told me he watches Who Wants to be a Millionaire? and The Weakest Link on BBC Entertainment. Why did so many places in England have names ending in ‘shire’ and why was she only the Queen of England if she ruled the whole United Kingdom? I didn’t know.

Busembatia is only an hour’s drive from the expat-friendly, tourist-magnet town of Jinja, but it feels far from that world.

“Bye Mzungu!” squeal all the kids.

“Mzungu – it’s that colour that you have,” a man called James explained, slowing his bicycle alongside me to introduce himself. White people have stayed here before, but that doesn’t seem to have dulled the excitement.

Resources feel precious now. The water you tip from a jerry can, the power supply that may cut out, the prepaid internet. Even the daylight in a sense, because once dark falls – always at around 6.30pm, indoor lighting is poor and being outside is unsafe.

Things sort of shrink as the limits of your world draw in. The choices – what to do, buy, eat – become simplified. The day slows down.

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