4 AM: I awoke up with some “bright ideas” and couldn’t fall back to sleep. Why is there loud music still playing outside?

5 AM: I heard the Muslim call to prayer and it reminded me to pray myself and to thank God for another day alive. Oh yea, and safe elections please?

7:30 AM: After talking to some people online (shout out to my momma) I’m now at the only opened coffee shop in town eating a lemon scone and drinking coffee (Café Americano).

7:35 AM: Ha…just gave the scone away. That’s the problem with sitting at the window near a Ugandan street. All the little kids walk by and stare at your food and make sad eyes, making you feel incredibly guilty for eating a proper meal. I never really liked it at this place to be honest—it’s a mzungu hot spot and even though I would typically enjoy the windows, here it is as if you’re on display. Am I the observer or the observed? It’s hard to say. Mzungus are scarce in Gulu these days so I’m inclined to say that I’m the one being watched…like an animal at the zoo. It’s a bit unsettling.

I traded the little boy outside the window my lemon scone and 300 shillings (about 15 cents) for a single samosa that I didn’t really want (they’re too greasy). Did I do the right thing? I’m always conflicted. Don’t want to refuse anyone in need, especially a child, but he did have a bucketful of samosas so it’s not like he was starving. Maybe I just contributed to the breeding of dependency and the assumption that Mzungu=Money. I feel bad if I give and I feel bad if I don’t. There’s no winning in these situations. But hey I found out the proper term for my previously held “bitterness”—it’s called “compassion fatigue”, apparently its quite common for people in my line of work. Fortunately God and I worked my way out of that one…hope I don’t relapse. I think I’ll eat a banana and crackers at the apartment for dinner just to be safe.

Kids playing in the alley.

9 AM: So far all is calm in Gulu despite (or perhaps because of) the increased military and police presence on the streets. I watched a video on BBC Online earlier where a reporter…uh…reported…right here in Gulu. It showed the roundabout, Crane Bank and everything! I saw him right here at the coffee shop the other day. Didn’t know he was a reporter at the time obviously. Not that it would have mattered.(Here’s the video…see the Lukodi memorial by ChildVoice at the end!…http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-12482717)

“Let’s Get it On” by Marvin Gaye is playing and Brian just brought me another cup of Café Americano…uh oh. Hoping I’ll be productive today with all this caffeine and adrenaline in my system. See…a little bit of fear can be healthy after all.

11 AM: Work stuff.

1 PM: Go to hut in Lukodi to pick up my little paraffin stove for making pasta tonight. Swing by polling centers on the way to sneak some pictures. People lined up to vote. Relatively quiet in the villages.

People in the village lined up to vote.

3 PM: Went running around the Gulu High School soccer field. Polls were set up around the perimeter of the field and people waiting to vote watched me run. Glad I could be their entertainment in my cool once-white sneakers. Just when I was really struggling though, three little kids showed up along the field and started giving me high fives every time I came around to them—10 times in all. It never got old. It made me smile wide every time and keep running so that I could do it again. Everything still normal around town.

5 PM: Calling it an early evening today just to be safe. Failing at making even pasta. I think my little stove is broken. What a waste. Mmm cheese sauce for dinner. Thinking about home now. Can you imagine being nervous or worried about safety on Election Day in the U.S.? The worst our people do is sit around long tables wearing suits and arguing with one another ha.

Boiling water outside the apartment

11:30 PM: So it seems Election Day in Uganda came and went without a hitch. Well, at least in Gulu anyway. The true test thought will be Sunday when they announce who was elected. The man in the apartment across from me said he’s keeping his business closed on Sunday just to be safe…in case there were riots and people tried to loot his store. Don’t blame him. It’s somehow quieter tonight than last night. Is it possible that there was actually a peaceful election in a peaceful Uganda? That would be a first. I pray that it is so. We’ll know for sure on Sunday.

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