Last week had to go to the capital of the state of Rakai, where the village of Kibaale is located to the town of Rakai to do some business. Every three months, the clinic received a significant amount of money from a certain fund but since July of last year no one knows for sure how the money is suppose to be spent. Each nurse or clinic employee has given me suggestions or information they believe to be a fact. I am expected to spent this almost 1.3 million shillings or approximately $600 US and produce receipts for my spending each quarter…… since I know nothing about this fund, I decided to go and ask the person who hands out the cheques and ask her the rules and regulations as to how the fund suppose to be spent.

I did the driving and took with me two other individuals, Samalie, a Kibaale community leader and Asaph, one of the clinic nurses. Due to some road flooding, we had to take a longer route to Rakai….. but we made it in time for our 11:30 appointment. BUT like many things in Uganda….. it is always depended on African time and not on Canadian or American time…… we had left Kibaale before 10 am which is tea time and now that it is 11:30 and we were all a little hungry. We waited until after 1:30 to speak with this individual…. but I got the answers to my questions…… I now know what I can and cannot spend this money on…. and I must have receipts for everything.

Once the meeting was over it was 2:15 and we were all hungry….. we could not get back to Kibaale in time for lunch. So, Samalie suggested to stop at a restaurant called the Hilton for something to eat. We drove for about 20 minutes towards Kibaale and this restaurant. I was somewhat anxious….. this was going to be my first Ugandan restaurant….. would I be able to find something to eat…. or would I have to eat matoki and rice. The outside of the restaurant gave me hope….. the place looked like something I might have tried in the American south since a large portion of the restaurant was open to the sky and fresh air……

I was given a menu and saw fish and chips……… that was acceptable to me. So, I told Samalie and she states that it was available…….. within minutes two dishes arrived at the table. Both of them were exactly the same….. a large plate of matoki (a starch made from a various on a banana or plantain) with rice and slices of tomato and a large bowl of soup with a fish head in the centre. My two colleagues enjoyed there food but my was yet to arrive…… in fact they both had completely finished their food including picking the meat of the fish head and my food was no where to be seen…. I was starting to wonder why fish and chips were taking a long time.

Samalie………..ventured out to the kitchen a few times to check on my food…. only to be told there was no electricity but that the food was coming. I could not help but tell the joke about why my fish was late…. it was because the cook had to go out and catch the fish first……… well, a few minutes later a plate of home made chips arrived with a large tomato salad (in other words… large slices of tomato with green peppers and red onions). I was so hungry that the whole plate of chips disappeared quickly. But as I was finishing the last of my chips and my hunger was now satisfied….. I thought about the fish. Maybe they forgot……. it was just then that a large plate arrived with a complete fish including the tail and head it was deep fried and about 7 to 8 inches long and 4 to 5 inches wide…..

I had asked for fish and chips and that is exactly what I got….. not the Canadian version or the American but the Ugandan version. I had two or three bits of the tasty Tilapia and was not able to eat another mouthful. I took the fish home and like most Canadian and American…. I had leftovers the next day for lunch.

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