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The Nun’s House

Here in Kampala we gave great honor of being the guests if a group of Catholic nuns. The guest house is the permanent residence if two or three sisters, and they host the occasional conference or retreat. Sister Salome journeys here from St. Kizito’s School once a week or so to pick up supplies for her school and conduct business in the area.
The house sits in one of Kampala ‘s seven hills, so that we access it by driving through the busy city center with its tangled waves of foot traffic, cars, and motorcycle taxis (boda bodas). Once at the top if the hill we turn left into a red clay dirt road that has been so torn up for the laying of a ditch, it can no longer justifiably be called a road. Sister’s intrepid driver, Nathan, edges are car at a 35 degree angle past a wooden cart displaying bananas and a woman who casually flattens herself against a stone wall to let us past. All bets are off when driving in Uganda.
Behind the locked gates of the guest house, the city noise disappears. Simple painted concrete walls shelter cool air and the sound of laughter echoes off high ceilings. We are greeted with warm smiles and the smell of roasting potatoes.
Our rooms here are simple. I type this from a single bed with a t-frame of lumber built into the head and foot boards to hold a mosquito net. A corner sink and writing desk are the only other furniture. The hot water heater is not working, so the sister offer to bring us pitchers of hot water for bathing.
In the evenings we dine together over Nile beers and good food, telling stories and laughing. We sleep at night as if we were a thousand miles from anywhere and wake to sun slanting through windows and tropical birdsong.
And as I type this, a fragrance of toast and coffee has begun to drift in from the hallway. Regards to everyone at home, and thank you, with great affection, to the sisters here in Kampala.

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