Polish Girl, Katikitiki, and The Grateful Dead: (aka THE ULTIMATE DANCE PARTY)


Ok, I know you’ve all been waiting with baited breath to see the finished goat structures (complete with goats) so I’ll just show you those right off the bat.  I don’t want to keep you waiting:

Here’s the completed first structure, the one we were working on in my last blog entry:

And the second one:

With goats!

Yesterday at work we had sort of a ceremony, where a representative from the Kakira Town Council came to see the goat structures.  We sat and talked for a little while, everyone shook hands, and then we took some ceremonial pictures.

Of course, a goat had to be included in the picture…

But it was hard to keep him still!

There were also a ton of kids that followed us around the whole time we were in the village, yesterday.  Usually we’ll get at least one or two who come up to us, and some will follow us when we walk, try to hold our hands or get us to take photos of them, stuff like that, but this was definitely the biggest and most dogged gaggle of children we’ve had yet.  They kept running after us and trying to get our attention.  They were showing off for us, too—dancing and doing cartwheels and things like that.  Oh, and they LOVED pictures.  They wouldn’t leave me alone when I was trying to take some of the goat structure to include in our project report.  I appeased them by taking some of them in front of the structure and then saying “ok, and now you all have to move out of the way.”  As you can see, some even snuck into the ceremonial goat photo…they just didn’t quite get it when a picture wasn’t intended to have them in it.

“Ok, but really, you need to move, now…”

Anyway, that was basically the biggest thing we’ve done at work all week.  We also brought in a financial trainer yesterday to talk to the people in the community about how to best manage their funds and keep records.  I’m sure it was very informative, but the session was conducted almost entirely in Lugandan, so I really couldn’t understand it.  It was funny, at the end, they asked us what we had to add to the lecture, and we really didn’t know what to say except that we were sure that whatever the trainer had said was very important.  Other than that, it’s been a lot of sitting around and waiting, as usual.  I’ve finished every book that I brought with me, except Neil Labute’s Bash.  Luckily, other interns also brought books, so we’ve been doing some trading.  Also, Sean Michael Welch was nice enough to send me some more of his plays to read, so I’ve got those to look forward to as well!  This is especially important because we’ve got our mid-program FSD retreat this weekend to Sipi Falls, which is supposed to be beautiful, but there’s little-to-no electricity.  Luckily, I’ve got a head-lamp (thanks mom!).  It’s kind of silly looking and I feel like a coal miner whenever I wear it, but it does give off a sizable amount of light, so it’s completely worth it!

Last weekend was pretty uneventful.  We stayed in Kakira on Friday night (our first time doing that), so it was pretty much exactly the same as every other evening I spend in Kakira.  Emma bought the first two seasons of The West Wing at the dvd store, so I borrowed them from her and now I’m addicted.  She’s very proud of her role as an enabler.  I’d been meaning to watch it for years, and I’m glad I’ve finally gotten the opportunity to.  Oh, and it was nice to be able to have immediate gratification after the finale of Season 1 and not have to agonize for months about what had happened to the characters.

On Saturday, we went into Jinja.  Backpackers was completely booked, so we tried a new hostel, with a very similar name (Jinja Backpackers on the Nile).  It was prettier and nicer than the other ones we’ve stayed at so far, and it had a beautiful restaurant, right on the Nile River, with really good food.  It was definitely worth it.  Here’s a picture of the view from the restaurant:

We weren’t able to go out to the clubs or anything, because it started pouring after we finished dinner.  And when I say pouring, I mean coming down in BUCKETS.  It made so much noise on the roof that we could barely hear one another speak!  It rained again on Sunday, too, pretty much all day.  We actually got trapped at the internet café we went to for breakfast, and had to stay there for most of the day.  As a result, we had to miss lunch with the new interns and couldn’t go bungee jumping (though I’ve actually decided against going…not because I’m scared, because I want to save my money for the SAFARI we’re going on after the FSD program ends!  That’s right…I’m going on a safari.).  I was disappointed not to have met the new interns (you know how much I love new friends!), but hopefully we’ll get to hang out with them at some point!

By now, you’re probably wondering about the title of this entry, and how the hell it applies to my life here.  Well, for a while, I had been talking to my host sisters about teaching me how to dance like Ugandans do, and about playing them some of the music that I listen to back home.  On Monday night, most of the family had gone to a burial, so we were the only ones home around dinnertime, and I figured it would be perfect.  So I brought my laptop into the living room (part of why I wanted to do it with less people around…I don’t like calling attention to my laptop or having to answer questions from everyone about how much it cost, etc.), and opened up itunes.

Zahara likes strong female singers (she’s named Whitney Houston and Marriah Carey in the past as favorites), so I played some Regina Spektor for her.  They girls really liked her; they thought she had a beautiful voice, which made me happy (because I’m pretty sure most of you know how much I love Regina).  I tried to play them music that was popular enough that they might have heard it, but that was still music that I actually liked (I know I said “Call Me, Maybe” was my jam the other weekend…but really, we all know that it’s usually SO NOT).  Included on this list was “Some Nights” by Fun. and “Home” by Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeroes.  They wanted to hear “classic” music, and they really like country music, which is at least somewhat similar to folk, so I thought The Grateful Dead would be a good choice.  They LOVED them!  I was very proud.  I thought they might have heard of the Grateful Dead before, since they’re pretty famous, and they know some similar artists, but they didn’t.  I tried to work in a bit of a history lesson about hippies and the 60s, but I don’t think they really appreciated it, which I was sad about.  They just thought it was really weird that men would have long hair and beards (but I think those of you who fit that description are really cool!).

Next, the girls shared a mix cd they had with different popular Ugandan songs.  I was really proud of myself, because I actually knew one of them before they showed it to me!  Before I left New York, I tried to look up some Ugandan music, and I found a playlist on youtube!  One of the songs (and the only one I really remembered) was called “Katikitiki” and it’s by a woman named Angela Kalule (I may have spelled that incorrectly).  It’s not in English, but essentially it’s about her counting the hours until her husband or boyfriend or whoever gets home (katikitiki = the ticking of a clock).  It’s very popular here, and I’ve heard it a few times playing at stores or on public transportation, too.  Now it’s on my itunes.  And you can listen to it here:

Please note: The music video is weird. They’re all like that.

So we listened to that song and many others, like “Pressure of Love” by Chosen Walden, “Daniela” by Chamelion and Papa CD, and “Njagala”—which is Lugandan for “I like it”, by Judith Babirye.  I’ll be bringing them all home with me, so I can share them with you.  And of course, I got a dance lesson.  I think I got the very bare minimum, it was like how people mostly dance at clubs, I guess, so it was actually pretty similar to dancing in the U.S (minus the grinding and booty-popping).  Basically, it’s moving your waist and hips with the beat and sometimes incorporating some slightly more complicated footwork and arm movements.  So, pretty much like how I already dance.  I actually had no trouble picking it up, and it really was pretty much how I typically dance, but I guess it was still very funny to them to see me dancing.  By the way, Ugandans think EVERYTHING is funny, especially when a muzungu does it.  So it didn’t really phase me much.  Then, they were asking me to play music that I like to dance to at home, and wanted to see how I danced.  So I played Polish Girl, by Neon Indian (because it’s always Polish Girl), and I danced for them…basically in the same way I just had been.  I told them that my friends always play this song at parties.  I’m not sure how much they really liked the song, though, I think the electronic-ness was strange to them.  I explained to them about techno/electronic/dubstep music and how popular it was in the U.S. for people to dance to.  They definitely did not see the appeal.  That’s ok, they can keep dancing to Angela Kalule’s music, and I’ll stick to Neon Indian and Golgol Bordello (I’m wearing purple, today!).

Stay tuned for an entry about my electricity-free weekend in Sipi Falls!




About racheltamarin

I'm a college student, studying abroad in Jinja, Uganda this summer. Through this blog, I will share stories and thoughts about my journey (and make sure my family and friends know that I'm still alive!).
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2 Responses to Polish Girl, Katikitiki, and The Grateful Dead: (aka THE ULTIMATE DANCE PARTY)

  1. anyu says:

    nice blog rachel! i’ll be waiting for more! keep on having fun 🙂

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