*Originally posted on facebook* Read part 2 here
There I was, standing in this gigantic room in disbelief.
I said a prayer of thanks giving to the Lord Jesus.
I must have broken into a song in my mother tongue,its possible!
There was a huuuuuuuuge bed with 4 pillows and 2 cushions. (Yes I counted)
Everything was white with sprinkles of black.
There were two beautiful lamps on both sides of the bed.
There was a couch and a coffee table.
There were magazines.
There was something that housed a coffee machine, coffee sugar and all those tea related things, which I learned how to use two days before I left.
There was a really fancy version of a reading desk over looking the window.
There was a humongous television. (yes it was flat)
There was a small glass fridge.
In one of the drawers on the bed there was a safe.
I wanted to utilize all the money paid for me so I opened it and threw my dollars there.
I proceeded to tour my home for the next 8 days in awe, thinking, “Gyenvudde”!
I walked into the closet.
There was more space than the clothes I had carried.
I started questioning if I had carried the right clothes or if they were enough.
I unpacked and made my way to the bathroom.
Banange the bathroom was exquisite.
I wasn’t sure if I was clean enough to use it.
It was all white..
There were too many towels of all sizes and shapes and no manual on how to choose.
There two bath robes and I thought about how it was such a mockery of my ‘baeless’ life.
How come all other things were not in pairs?
There were all these fancy smelling liquids and lotions.
I didn’t know what to do with my self.
So I sat on the bath tub and decided to read the labels.
I concluded, that if they are good enough for this “Amelikan” hotel, they are good enough for my African skin.
I poured half a bottle of something in the tub.
I had trouble balancing the temperature of the water.
The taps were weird.
Finally I slid into that foam and as I sat there relaxing from all that travel, I thought about home. ( I really need to learn how to relax)
I missed my sisters and mother dearest.
I hadn’t talked to them since I left, except a text at the airport to let them know I had arrived.
I got out, robbed up and headed for the room phone.
All my attempts to reach them failed, then I remembered the small fact of time zone and how they were probably sleeping.
I began to feel officially hungry.
I looked at the hotel menu and nothing made sense.
I knew if I called, they would have trouble understanding me.
So I got the TV remote, hopped inside those covers and tried to watch “Amelikan” television.
I was spoilt for choice.
I really loved the commercials, so I would switch from one to the next.
I got my phone and tried to sign into the hotel’s Wi-Fi.
I was not successful.
Okay now I was really hungry and I felt very stupid being a hungry adult.
It looked warm outside so I put on a dress , body socks to be safe incase it was still cold, a sweater and a shawl I had stolen from my sister Luckie Kirungi.
I had been advised to carry my passport until I got an ID for the bank on Monday.
I left my room and first took a moment to appreciate how well carpeted the hotel corridor was, as I waited for the elevator.
When I got to reception, I asked for help with the Wi-Fi, which I got, I also asked if I was allowed to bring in food from outside and they said I was, even though I had no idea where I was going.
I walked out of the hotel with the confidence of a DC dweller.
I attempted to use Google Maps to find places to eat but that stuff always confuses me so I gave up.
I figured if I was smart enough to get here, I sure could find a restaurant.
But the coldness, “yamawe” the coldness!The wind almost blew my hungry self off the side walk.
I saw a young lady walking out of the hotel and I asked her for directions.
She was also just in DC to visit but Google Maps had located Pizza Hut for her.
I don’t eat pizza and I didn’t know at the time that Pizza Hut served more than pizza.
I thanked her for being kind, and we went our separate ways.
I thought I saw a Mac Donald’s but it seemed too far off from the hotel and excuse me I wasn’t trying to get lost in a country that makes horror movies about people getting lost.
I discovered a few days later that it was actually not that far, but oh well.
I walked the opposite direction of the hotel and I bumped into a Starbucks.
Thank you Jesus, I could really use a hot drink.
I ordered for a hot chocolate (it’s the only thing I thought I would pronounce without sounding stupid)
I paid I think almost 4 dollars for it.
When they gave me my change, I didn’t bother counting because honestly, that Amelikan money was too confusing.
I didn’t understand at the time why prices are written with a big figure and tiny ones.
That hot chocolate saved me from coldness.
Since my brain was slowly unfreezing, I could open my eyes and see restaurants.
The closet one had sea food and no please I wasn’t trying to experiment with “Amelikan” sea food.
I just walked into a grocery shop and purchased a good number of snacks including cranberry Pepsi Cola.
It tasted horrible when I took it later.
I got another cup of coffee on my way back and decided, food was overrated.
It was about 8pm and I was shocked to see that the sun was still out.
The other shocker was discovering that it’s possible to walk around in a place and come back without any dust on your shoes.
I don’t remember when I finally slept.
What walk me up was a knock on my door from my team mate Katende Stephen,( oh yeah I didn’t travel alone)
He had blacked out the minute we arrived.
It was maybe 9am in the morning of Sunday.
He was so hungry and luckily the horrible testing cranberry soda was there plus a cake to cure the biting hunger until we went down stairs for breakfast.
I was called that our DC contact was at the reception.
We went down to meet her.
We also met the team that was just arriving at the hotel from Kenya.
It was great seeing them.
I had read their articles and part of me felt like I knew them.
While Riro Jeremy was too exhausted to do anything but sleep Mercy A. Okoth just dropped her bags and decided to join us as they took us around the city.
We visited or saw all the buildings that house the World Bank where we were going to be spending the week.
And of course took pictures in front of the White House.
How else was I to prove to the world that I went to the Washington District of Colombia?
We found our way back and even got burgers on the way.
I was officially settling in.
Every place I passed I made a mental note to remember.
When we got back and as I helped Mercy unpack, I noticed she had a small flag of Kenya for her night stand as well as a pin for her clothes, with the words, “make it Kenya”.
I was so disappointed in myself for not thinking about carrying something Ugandan.
I realized in that moment that I needed to make a better effort to love my country.
That is actually when I decided, that when I got back I would tie on the cool kids of #koikoiug to travel this pearl of Africa and fall in love, enough to carry around a piece of it whenever I traveled.
Patriotic sentiments aside, I went back to my room very determined to call home.
I used WhatsApp to call.
First thing Mother Dearest asked after establishing that I was alive, was,
“Oliire? ” (Have you eaten?)