I began writing this on a flight home from Uganda, which was Normal beyond my wildest expectations. There were small signs, of course, that things weren’t quite right: the key wouldn’t extract from my hotel door unless it was in the locked position. Trip two is delayed. Whoever organized the marathon forgot to leave pinholes in the bibs.
But there was a marathon! The cell network still works when it rains; guns were not everywhere. Buildings are painted different colors, and ads on the radio routinely extol the virtues of condoms. There’s an app, SafeBoda, that you can use to hail motorcycle taxis with tested drivers and reflective vests; the division I interned with at USAID a few years ago provided seed funding for this, so using it felt like closing a tiny circle (do not tell my mother, part infinity). The English, a still-reverberating repercussion of colonial ghosts, was a game-changer. I know why I was there, and I did feel like I made myself useful, but all of this gave me pause: why was I there, again?