The book I chose for Uganda was Tropical Fish, Tales from Entebbe by Doreen Baingana.
Such a good book! Well-written, great characters, a super solid sense of place; it’s everything you hope to find in a work of fiction, but so often don’t. I really enjoyed it, and highly recommend it.
The story is told through the viewpoints of three sisters. Their experiences of the world are all very different, but one common thread is that they are growing up during a time of conflict, doing the best they can to bring some normalcy to chaos. The setting is during Adi Amin’s rule, but the crazy-making by the people “in charge” could apply to anywhere, anytime.
Like now, for instance.
“The change was gradual and the result normal, like many other thing’s about Amin’s time, including the every day fear in the air. She remembered how everyone had laughed in astonishment then got used to it… Everyone adjusted to the upside-down week, the upside down life, including other unbelievable and ugly things she didn’t want to think about. The bad smell had become familiar.”
Back to West Africa, and I’m thrilled! This will be my first in-depth introduction to The Gambia, and I’m truly excited about it. A country surrounded on three sides by another country (Senegal), and dominated by a single natural feature (the Gambia river), just the physical dynamics of the place seem super cool. Very ready to jump in, meet some new people via my reading, and have the chance to cook some more delicious Western African food.
Here we go!
Map of the Gambia (Image by Central Intelligence Agency – CIA World Factbook, via Wikimedia Commons)
Flag of The Gambia (Image by Vzb83, Public Domain, via Wikimedia Commons)
Location of the Gambia (image by Flappiefh – Own work, via Wikimedia Commons)