Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Three Notes on Gulu

Cats tune the radio to one of two stations. Either it plays the worst of American hip hop and Ugandan pop music or white people singing about Jesus. This Christian music ain't the soothing sounds of Gospel; it has no listenable value for the non-religious. The hip hop is kind of interesting; I don’t hear any songs about rappers doing their usual violence, so all that is left are songs about bitches and hoes and sex. The Ugandan jams have taken to emulating these styles, so there are a lot of songs that are all autotuned and horrible and far from revolutionary. I don’t know why I thought cats would be playin’ Fela Kuti and Lucky Dube round the clock.

In a town with 65 percent of the population living in poverty, it is pretty easy to tell who has some flow to spare. Look to the men, because they are driving something German. Then look to the women, because they 1) have a hair weave and 2) their skin is lighter than other women. Not because they are actually light skinned, mind you; they have been using the skin cream that lightens skin. And they seem to only use it on their faces; arms dark as mine, face dark as my baby's. Not a good look, you would think. But here it is.

Gulu is slowly taking in mad missionaries and visitors. They are mostly young white college students. Many are with Invisible Children. Aid groups who have been in the area for a while tend to call them “highly visible children.” I pray to God (heh) that one of them will walk up and ask me if I know Jesus.

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