Saturday, December 24, 2011

Juice Lady

Look carefully. The background is a building in progress,
see the scaffolding timbers? I'm always amazed the
buildings turn out straight. A few apartments in the mid-
ground. Between the roof and staircase, on the ground,
you can see the ladies cooking their hearts out to serve
a meal to the folks who ordered that morning. To the right
out of the picture is a guy making creative, artsy
Christmas trees.
Kampala is filled with vendors of all sorts and if you’re smart you’ll make friends with a local to find the best food and drinks in town (not to mention the best prices). After doing just that, I discovered the Juice Lady. Really she provides plates filled with fresh fruit for the merchants in the area along with a variety of drinks. She has a refrigerator that works only when power is on and a little square of space in the way back of a building that fronts home hardware such as shower heads, paint, and tile.

Somehow the Juice Lady manages to make her passion fruit juice exactly perfect every time. At one point I asked if the juice was really fresh and she almost seemed offended. So now, every time I go into Kampala – a taxing event given the heat of the day, the heat of the taxi, and the heat of the hike uphill into town – I get a reused, hand-scrubbed Fanta bottle filled the most amazing passion fruit juice in the whole world. She even gives me a straw that drops down into the neck of the bottle and has to be fished out with my finger.

As I enjoy this sweet nectar, I stand by the back window for the breeze and look down into another hidden nook where the women work hard to prepare food for lunches distributed to merchants who place their orders early.