Kung Fu, Machine Guns, and Mosquitoes

Journal Excerpt – Monday, September 9, 2013

Morning. Still no electricity or running water, but the night was cool and I finally figured out how to fight the mosquitoes. Just keep the window open. Sounds counter-intuitive, but they fly in and out that way. Had my first peaceful sleep in weeks.


It’s a five-minute walk thru the mud to Wakaliwood. When I arrive I see Bukenya Charles (Uncle Benon) teaching Kung Fu to a small group of children. His classes are normally on weekends, but school is out. He’s making himself available every day this week to help the local kids stay out of trouble.

It’s 7am and Isaac is at the computer. He’s usually asleep this early, but he’s taking advantage of the electricity. He’s been up all night adding new sound effects to Who Killed Captain Alex for the upcoming international release. He has many more explosions than he did 2 years ago, and cracks himself up when he adds a new neck snapping. His morning ginger tea sits beside him, untouched.I plop down on the couch beside him and plug in my laptop to charge, finally. Mama Racheal hands me my tea and I get to checking email. I jump out of my chair. Somehow I managed to get Isaac an expedited appointment at the US Embassy for his travel Visa. It’s for tomorrow morning. I grab my things.

“Do you hear the AK?”

I look at the Kung Fu scene he’s been editing. “No.”

Isaac laughs. “No. Outside. But of course you don’t. US is M-16. Here we are AK. You hear it now? POP POP POP POP. It sounds like popcorn.”


I hand Mama Racheal the empty mug. “Well, I need to go to Kampala to print out your confirmation. You need it for the interview.”

Isaac is focused on the computer screen. He does that. You can have an immersive, completely satisfying conversation with him and his attention will never slip from what he is doing. He’s not being rude. His mind can be in two places at once.

“Noooo, you cannot go. There are protests. Demonstrations. It can be very dangerous. Believe me. Believe a Ugandan when they tell you.”

I go anyway.

It wasn’t until late that evening, alone in my room at the Boom Motel, without lights, water, or the bother of mosquitoes, that I realized what I had done. There was machine gun fire and angry mobs in protest, and I drove thru on a motorcycle just to get a damn photocopy.

It’s amazing what we’re all going thru. I just pray he’ll be able to come to the US.

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