Somehow: Living on Uganda Time

Monday, 20 January 2014

Somehow Uganda 542

One of those books which I only read because somebody gave it to me – thank you Linda and Lowry – and I loved it! Douglas Cruickshank turns up in a small village in the far west of Uganda to work with coffee growers as a late-in-life Peace Corps volunteer, falls in love with the place and produces Somehow:  Living on Uganda Time.

The book is essentially his snapshots, a photography critic raves about what a great photographer he is. Sorry, he isn’t. But his images perfectly capture everyday Uganda and everyday life and what brings it all alive is the text. Douglas underlines that he’s not writing captions, that he positively dislikes them, but what he does write are like the photos, they’re diary entry snapshots. Musing on what he’s doing and seeing or the memories that something in Uganda triggers. By the end of the book you can clearly feel why he loves the place.

Weirdly I’ve never been to Uganda. I’ve been to four of the five countries that border on Uganda – I’ve not visited South Sudan, but I have been to Democratic Republic of Congo (as Douglas suggests, a non-starter of a name), Rwanda, Tanzania and Kenya. My Congo travels included a spell just across the border from Douglas’ Ugandan haunts, so the territory looks very familiar.