“Keeping Track”Zahara Abdul
While the rest of Kampala city is slugging it out on crowded roads and muddy, disintegrating pavements, a small group of the city’s most fortunate citizens glides to work in a manner that, if not perhaps as spacious or as luxurious as it could be, is definitely faster and involves less trouble. These lucky few, passengers on the only commuter train in Uganda, travel 16kms between Namanve and the city for a bargain fee of 1,000/=. The ticket queues are full of people elbowing each other for an iota of space. Then, once aboard, the train snakes through the filthiest suburbs of Kireka, and foul smells waft in from the heaps of garbage on the sides. In the carriages, it’s too crowded. Even when the train carries about 600 passengers, it feels like there are three times more people in here, all heading to the city center. When the lady with the Kabalagala comes round maybe you dig out 200 shillings and buy two from her. You smell armpits, heavy from the day’s labor. Hands touch, forced into proximity. Maybe you meet a colleague or even maybe get a comfortable seat. Sometimes there’s a fan, or a light, or an open window, or all of those things.
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