Sunday, June 1, 2008

Sex and the City of Kampala

I went out last night with the new Kiva fellow, Taryn (who arrived in town on Friday and needed to stay awake until a reasonable hour), to see "Sex and the City" at the Cineplex.

I enjoyed it, actually, though my priest head was saying, "You people so need pre-marital counseling, it's not even funny." But I couldn't help but wonder, "What do these Ugandans make of all of this?" The closet the size of a small city, the teetery-high-heeled shoes--well, everything. I don't know, and I don't really have anyone to ask. I spent the movie with part of me wondering what it would be like to watch this as a native of Kampala. I have no idea.

The one thing that occurred to me, though, is how many more images the average Ugandan has of the U.S., and some of its particular cities and places, than the average American has of Kampala--or most any foreign place, for that matter, with the possible exception of Paris. In the movie it's an imaginary New York, an imaginary L.A., to be sure. But they are suggestive of the genuine article.

When people here ask me where I'm from and I tell them California, they have an idea of what I'm talking about. If someone here tells me they're from Tororo or Mbale, or even the nations of Niger or Nigeria, I'm still not quite sure what that conveys. My ignorance simply continues to grow.

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