Women is...: Dreamings


(reflections on HIV/AIDS in Uganda)

am In the dream of dream. Somewhere into the rough melody of breathing, there is a woman. In the dream of dream, somewhere, a woman cries. Cotton wool of it
busuti|| is with folds in knees through the clock of standing on knees by a place at a bed. It holds tea in one hand, and in the dusk of day it drinks it. Lighting kerosene is lighted by motion of hand to the cup to breathing of lips.

In a dream of a dream. Somewhere.

Three men lean against the bar, focused on the cool froth of their afternoon drinks. A Kenyan beer, Tusker. Their suits are freshly pressed and their talk is pungent like the smell of overripe mangoes. They speak like ageing roosters about the news of the past weeks, and between the gossiping they mourn. Grace’s daughter is sick and she has gone home to the village in Ankole. The rains are heavy and the men hope that the bus will reach the village by nightfall. The road must have been churned to mud by now.

An old woman murmurs short prayers as she watches her daughters pounding groundnuts. It is nearing five o’clock and she is wearing a dress of ochre and green that seems at peace with the red clay of the hillsides. Her son Joseph will be marrying on Sunday and the community will be expecting a grand feast. The millet has been ground and is ready to cook but ten kilos of matoke still need to be cut and prepared by the day. Her oldest daughter turns to look at her abruptly and she remembers her husband who passed only last year. She grows weary remembering the hours of cooking, washing, digging she did to support her family- yet her husband still sought satisfaction outside of the house. Her prayers resume as the pounding begins again.

In a dream of a dream. Somewhere between heartbeat and the coarse melody of breathing, there is a woman. In a dream of a dream, somewhere, there is a woman telling stories. The days grow long in each syllable she offers. Sometimes she speaks in bullets that recall the days of armies that swarmed the country like locusts, destroying what they could. Other times she speaks in Nile waters that brought wazungu so far from their homes. They say she can speak in injections and pills that bring the fever down, and bring life back for another day. Today she is speaking in reams of colourful cotton. Bodies are being cleansed for burial and she will clothe them in the hues of mountain flowers.

In a dream of a dream, somewhere. There is a woman.