Swimming is the act of taking most of your clothes off in a public place and flopping into a huge tub filled with over chlorinated water.
It is a fun activity that you can do in the sun, rain, in windy conditions and even in the middle of the night if you’re brave. Brave because everybody knows that snakes and crocodiles and other such scary, long, slimy things take residence under pools from 8.00pm onwards.
It does not require much skill to get into swimwear, but it does require effort to keep it on as you’re getting out of the water. Swimming pools enjoy embarrassing people by clinging to their bikini bottoms/ trunks and exposing their buttocks as they attempt to leave the water. This is why you need to carefully rearrange yourself before climbing out and also why people exit pools so slowly. They aren’t trying to be Baywatch, they’re trying to protect their baby-makers from exposure.
For the last two months, all of hell’s hounds have lain on their backs and breathed at us. Vampires have taken over the sun and are trying to see if they can make Ugandans sweat blood. The only way we can fight back is by summersaulting into water and throwing defiant looks at the sun.
The first contact that you have with the cool water fills you with so much benevolence towards your fellow man that not even the sight of a child drooling or a grown man sneezing into the water is enough to make you quickly flop back out of the pool.
Unfortunately, after the first few minutes of cold, unadulterated happiness, the water gets lukewarm and it starts to feel like you’re swimming inside somebody’s stomach, which is when you get out of the pool, carefully, and head for that cold drink that the waitress has just placed on your table.
Swimming also involves a lot of serenity and contented sighing until some blind idiot dives or swims into you, after which you are allowed to unserenely grab their feet to save yourself from drowning and then slap their ribs.
Because there are not so many pools in Kampala, these places can get crowded. It’s perfectly normal to hate everyone who comes in after you, because ugh, they’re mucking up the water with their sweaty bodies, but be careful not to be openly unfriendly or you will be thrown out of the establishment. Hear that, Mina?
Also, it’s okay to be jealous of three year olds that can swim in the deep end like cute little tadpoles, but you have to be very quiet about your indignation or else their mothers will curse you and you’ll feel like a horrible person.
And during those post-lunch hours when you have to eke out a living in a poorly ventilated cubicle, nobody will judge you for bursting into tears in response to the heat. It’s OK to feel sad about your office not being located inside a swimming pool. People, let’s go swimming.