Series, Taxi Tales

Taxi Tales: Traffic Jams

By David Tumusiime, Uganda:

I love traffic jams. I love every one of the traffic jams on Kampala's many roads. I used to hate them. But now I love them. They are useful to me. They are no longer a waste of time when I'm on them.

I'll probably never go for another Uganda Cranes match at Namboole stadium after the last heartbreak loss to Zambia. But when I used to go, part of the fun was the traffic jam as I made my way there. I always came back from Namboole with a new friend, some of whom even thought we should go home together. I think for most people the fun was on the road to Namboole than in the stadium itself. I know it was for me.

Let's move to one of the busier roads. The road to Entebbe Airport was one of the first to get traffic jams in Uganda. For a long time in my life, that jam was welcome because it delayed for as long as it lasted my reluctant return to boarding school. Today, the Entebbe road jam is worse than ever and it still has its advantages for me. I started reading again because of the Entebbe road jam. Not novels like in my younger years, but the lives of 20th century earth shakers: Men and women whose childhood sorrows and traumas determine your world and mine today.

However, I'm in the Kampala road jam a lot; like anyone who lives in this city. Most times I opt to get out and walk the cracked pavements, hopping over manholes. But that's when it's not night. When it's evening or getting dark, I sometimes prefer to sit in the traffic jam and watch Kampala catwalk past my taxi window or brush impatiently by.

Kampala is at its best for me in that evening time. You can tell, from the way people walk; carry themselves in the evening, who will be back in the city tomorrow morning, who is tired of it all etc. So yes, I love Kampala's traffic jams.

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