Dear Kampala, Mind your Own Heat.


I hear real rain is coming. The sky looks guilty, like a man whose wife just caught his hand inching towards the bottom of a waitress. How noble of it to finally do something after allowing the sun to barbecue us for weeks. As I write this, its clouds are moody, gray and we’re enjoying the coolest temperatures we’ve had in a while.

I don’t trust the sky to resist the sun though. Clouds will eventually part and the scorching sun will proceed to make us suffer as usual.

I had this on my mind as I was chose my outfit last Monday and it didn’t take me long to pick out the most flowery, diaphanous and expansive sundress in my closet. This dress is short, short enough for the fabric of its hem to flirt with the back of my thighs whenever one of these rare winds breezes by. I look precious in this dress, free. In a concession to my status as a wage slave whose body and mind belongs to her employers 6 days of the week from 9-5, I threw a little jacket over the dress.

For a long time, we’ve all wished we could set up fans under our desks to dry some of the sweat sliding down our legs. We’ve had to tolerate the sadists in office who always want the ceiling fan off. One of my friends has semi-permanently moved his desk to the patch of shade under the tiny, dudu filled tree in his parking lot. Things are bad.

Last Thursday as I returned from lunch, I had to stop myself lying down on the cool looking grass outside office. When I settled at my desk, I had a terrible urge to lie on the cold tiles of the floor. On Friday, I walked into Wandegeya’s Green Shop wearing a suit and walked out in a creased cotton dress. I didn’t even mind that the dead skin cells of its former owner were merging with my own skin. This heat has changed all the rules!

So as I picked my outfit out that Monday, I decided that whoever was going to be offended by my thunder thighs could just go and kiss the sun.

I got to office and immediately began craving muwogo, so I slipped out and walked to my muwogo dealer in Kamwokya market. I don’t know where she gets her cassava from, or what tricks she uses to make them so crispy and soft and the same time, but I have never bought muwogo from anywhere else, not since I found her.

Street harassment annoys me when it comes from men, but when it comes from women as well, when they drop all they are doing and holler, jeer, rave and practically weep about a few inches of leg, that’s a whole new experience. Instead of the usual discomfort and fear, I felt a great defiance. I stared back at everybody who made an effort to get in my face and asked them, with my most terrifying glare on, “Why are you staring? Have I got something on my face? Or do you want something in yours?” They looked away every time.

It is (or has been) much too hot for judgment and bias. It is madness to expect everybody to encase their legs and arms in thick fabric in such heat. When somebody who looks like a tourist (white skinned or light skinned with a funky hairstyle) wears clothes that are appropriate for the weather, people stare in awe. When we Ugandan girls do it, people convulse with indignation.

Leave us alone, people. Mind your own heat.

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One thought on “Dear Kampala, Mind your Own Heat.

  1. Pingback: Dear Kampala, Mind your Own Heat. | jordantumwesigye95's Blog

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