*Originally posted on facebook * Read part 3 here
talked to my family for what felt like eternity, I still had stories but they had to sleep at some point.
It was Sunday night.
Dominique Nicky from Rwanda joined us and we were officially East African Community.
I remember taking a lot of time deciding what I was going to wear to my meeting with the Vice President Africa Region for the World Bank the next day.
I had a lot of dresses, my sister Akiiki D Kasande had taken me on a shopping spree.
Ultimately I settled on my lucky dress, the one I wore to do my interview before I won the contest.
I tried it on for confirmation that I still got it, and the mirror didn’t disappoint.
I checked the schedule they had given us to confirm the time of the meeting.
Mercy called my room in the morning to make sure I was awake.
The five of us met in the lobby and decided to first find breakfast.
Dominique bullied us into going to Bourbon Coffee because they have one in Kigali.
When we got there they assumed we were all Kenyans because those Kenyatta children were wearing their pins with “Make it Kenya”.
Another reason for me to carry something Ugandan, next time I go outside countries.
We did the “Amelikan ” thing and got our coffees to go.
I was now officially the Google Maps of the team.
The hotel was a bit near the World Bank offices so I led the way on foot.
It was very surprising to see how many people actually walk to work.
We got to the J Building a.k.a the Africa Building before the time of our meeting.
We had to get temporary passes into the building because we weren’t going to have our IDs until later in the day.
Did I mention, at this point I felt like I have not eaten anything like food?
Anyway we finally made our way to our meeting.
First we had a briefing.
We met, all kinds of Africans working at the Bank.
Ugandans, Kenyans, Rwandans, people from Madagascar, Senegal e.t.c.
They were all really hospitable and proud of us, “ambitious young Africans, who are going to change the world “..
We went to our meeting, with the vice president as well as our country managers and Director East Africa Region.
Wow it was intimidating!
I felt like I had to give the introduction of my life.
My country manager was there and so I kept looking at her for assurance that I wasn’t messing it up.
I don’t remember what I said about myself or what I had written, all I know is I was the first to speak of the five of us.
I just wanted to get it over with.
However when I was done, Mr Vice President, turned to our country manager and requested her to give me a job or an internship.
I must have said something right and true to their promise, I got the job when I came back.
I listened keenly as others shared their stories, eeeissh these guys had dreams, all of a sudden, I was hanging out with brilliance.
The meeting took about 20 minutes in total.
The rest of the day was spent walking around DC.
We bought a communal SIM card to help us stay in touch.
We got our IDs from the IMF building, What a Wow!
I struck up a conversation with the lady giving them out and she told me she comes from Ntinda in Kampala.
We spoke Luganda with pleasure.
That Monday was the last day we had that much free time.
The rest of the week we hopped from meeting to meeting.
I have never felt so important or so busy in my life.
We did a tour bus ride around Washington sometime during the week.
I saw museums.
The images from the Holocaust museum have stayed with me since.
We visited the capital building, saw the Lincoln memorial and whole bunch of historical sites.
I visited George Town and George Washington Universities.
I escorted Dominique to the Rwandan embassy and we got so lost that we finally decided to take a cab.
Everyone at the Rwandan embassy could speak my mother tongue.
One of the most amazing experiences was attending the “Let Girls Learn”, event that then First Lady Michelle Obama was addressing.
Girl child education has never sounded so deep, or convincing.
The Secret Service agents were truly good looking.
The atrium where the address was, was exceptionally grand, but I was too drawn in to even take a picture.
My sister from outside countries Doreen Kagaju Feroze kept checking on me almost every day to make sure I was coping well both in cash and in kind.
She sent me a list of all the stores I could do shopping.
I celebrated my birthday at one of the World Bank staffer’s house.
It was so refreshing to eat a home cooked meal.
I got to keep almost all the cake because the Amelikan people don’t do calories.
I got overwhelmed sometime during the week and so one morning I left the hotel earlier and just went and sat in the bank’s book shop.
I was being very dramatic but it was very therapeutic.
We did our last interview with one of the Bank’s media guys about our experience and I cried my eyes out.
I had to actually go to the bathroom, look myself in the mirror and tell myself to keep it together.
It was just one of those things where emotions go rogue.
Shopping later in the day helped.
I had a list and a budget.
I tried to stick to it but yamawe,
A combination of my villagism and Forever 21 didn’t exactly help my cause.
I shopped until I literally dropped.
That was Saturday night.
I had so much trouble packing.
I called the boys to sit on my small suitcase so we could close the zip.
I don’t remember sleeping that night.
I had a friend of a friend visit me
We talked and even walked in the streets in the middle of the night and before I knew it , it was 4am.
Our flight back except for Dominique was on Sunday morning at 10am to be exact.
I had a friend’s sister picking me up so I went ahead of everyone else.
It was so comforting, it felt like family.
I got to the airport with too much time on my hands.
I moved everywhere and I bumped into Pastor Gary Skinner.
I was so amused, I had to approach him, introduce myself and even ask for a selfie.
The moment was too important.
Also I almost missed my flight, the good looking Emirates guy giving out boarding passes insisted he had given me my passes yet he hadn’t.
It became a whole thing, which ended with me being the last person to get on the plane.
This time the 13 hour flight to Dubai felt longer.
I stayed away from all their food.
I was clearing the way for all the nice home cooked food I was going to have 25 hours later.
I wrote a blog, then
I slept ,woke up, watched TV, slept, woke up until we reached the UAE.
I had just one hour before getting on the flight home .
I fell in the chocolate shop because I had so many of those chocolate promises to keep.
I found my way to the aeroplane only to be told that we are going to be delayed for a few minutes because something was mechanically wrong with the plane.
The few minutes turned into 3 hours.
I couldn’t complain.
It was 3 more hours in the magnificent Dubai airport.
I found food and went on my second tour of that obscenely huge place.
This time I even saw cars.
I called home to let them know I would be 3 hours later than planned.
Finally I boarded.
As I was beginning to enjoy my view (Another Amen for the window seat) before take off, a young man walked up to me and insisted I was in his seat.
I was tired so I was torn between ignoring him and being polite.
I chose to be polite, I told him there was no way, they allocated the same seat to two people.
I showed him my pass or what was left of it and he refused to look at it.
I was over it, I went back to the cheap option of ignoring him.
Someone on the crew came and politely sent him to his seat.
But God, why are people like this?
6 hours later I was at Entebbe.
I couldn’t help but compare our airport to where I had been.
I prayed that the good Lord shall one day also make our airport a sight to behold.
Of course people were skipping the queue as we lined up at customs.
It was infuriating.
I just took a deep breathe and waited my turn.
I prayed against “bafeere” for my luggage.
I bought airtime and called to find out if my welcoming crew had arrived.
They hadn’t just arrived, they had found their way inside to look for me.
Mother Dearest and two of her daughters.
There was too much hugging and not enough breathing.
It was good to to be home.
I kept fantasizing about my first actual meal in 8 days the whole way home.