Beautiful chaos at Wildside Park 

Photo credit: Shutterstock

I went there in the drizzle. It’s in Syokimau, another book club to promote my book. I have a newish book called Let Me Call You Back. [Grab a copy from any major bookshop.] Wildside Park Lounge is in Wildside Recreational Center; and indoor games, swimming pool, turf football.

When we got there, in deep dusk (OK, it was 8 pm] a group of young skinny Somali boys were chasing a football in the slight drizzle. The lounge was in a container that overlooked what I imagined was the National Park.

The lounge itself is a bastardisation of the world lounge, so don’t raise your hopes. There are no lounge seats with cocktail waitresses in short white dresses. There isn't a big crystal ball hanging overhead. The bar is behind a cage and there stands a young bowlegged barman. The windows are wide, offering a view of darkness beyond.

The book club called Mad Readers Book Club was a bunch of Ugandans who read a lot and like to meet and talk about literature, which means they like to talk about life.

There was food, lots of food; chicken, meat, chips, ugali, greens, more meat. I’m no meat fan but after about half a dozen plates of meat passed under my nose, I finally picked a piece. It was delicious. So, the food could be great there. The service isn’t; my hot dawa took constant reminders and when it came it was too bitter.

Didn't matter, though, the mood in the room was electric; there were laughs and jeers, taunts and jibes. Points were made with gusto. A lady without a voice occasionally blew the whistle loudly to bring the meeting to order. It was beautiful chaos.

Occasionally, something beautiful happened; a train rattled past in the darkness and the room stood up and cheered. It doesn’t matter how old we are, we all love to see a passing train because deep down - under our degrees, Masters, offsprings, positions, and stations in life - we are still children.

So, if you ever find yourself at Wildside Lounge, look out for those trains. It’s the cherry on an otherwise unmemorable cake.

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