Saturday, January 20, 2018

Farewell Thee Ba-Summers

Since the year started, a soothing calm has prevailed over this dusty city of ours as it tries to regain its sanity, clarity and direction after the Christmas recess. Many of us had beat a hasty exodus with Teen Daughters to the depths of the districts - fearful of the arrival of the Ba-Summer - especially the boys who were bound to unleash carnage for the month that they were on holiday including, scattering Teen Daughters with their diaspora swag.

The week preceding Christmas, Entebbe airport was a mess as Emirates and Qatar airlines ferried in plane loads of Ba-Summer. Each arrived with an accent – an accent they probably spent months trying to perfect into an east coast or west coast US accent or a British one at that. Having an accent was crucial, but the most important accessory every Ba-Summer had to have, was the British or American passport.

The Arrival of Ba-Summer
They needed to have one so they could floss on Fake Ba-Summer – as in those who live in the diaspora but still need a visa unlike them, the Real Ba-Summer who just waltz in. They need the British and American passport to assure immigration and customs at Entebbe airport that they are ‘foreigners’ and therefore need to be treated with respect and failure to get that respect, they will rant and call the British High Commission or American Embassy – if not, to go onto Twitter and Facebook and vent their wrath with the rest of the world telling them how barbaric and heavy-handed officials at Entebbe Airport are.

A  Must Have? The British Passport
During their stay, the Ba-Summer looked so different from the rest of us. The Tommy Hilfiger, Adidas, Nike and Rebook T-shirts they wore, all had authentic logos with perfect stitching, unlike the ones sold in Uganda and imported from some backwater sweat shop in Taiwan where, fake logos are sewn on askew and Tommy Hilfiger is spelt as ‘Tommy Hilfigger’, Adidas as ‘Addiddas’, Nike as ‘Nikke’ and Rebook as ‘Rebbook’.

Authentic Tommy Hilfiger Wear
In the diaspora, the Ba-Summer are reliant on Visa and not cash. In Uganda we also use Visa but the Ba-Summer are a step ahead of us. While Visa services are now available in most big stores, bars and restaurants, the Ba-Summer are not used to inserting their cards into the machine. They are used to ‘contactless’ – a simple tap of the Visa card on the machine to complete the transaction.

One thing that shocked many of them is that Uganda has Uber. “What you have Uber in Uganda?!?” so I heard one of them exclaim to what looked like her rather bemused Living In Uganda Cousin. And she went on – “Is it like the one in England?” At this point I should have interceded and given her a couple of slaps and told her to stop faking it, because it was so obvious she was one of them Ba-Summer who had been living in England for less that three months. I found this out because when Living In Uganda Cousin went to the washroom, the Ka-Summer gave up on forcing her awful South London accent and came back to down to earth and was now using proper Ug lingo like – “I sloped down to the ka-shop” and “Eh, that ka boy is fake, oba a muyaye - just” to whomever she was talking to on the phone.

Having Ba-Summer in town was economically enriching for us. They gave us their American dollars and British pounds to change into Uganda shillings and we made sure we paid ourselves - without first asking them, a 30k – 50k commission per transaction. When they asked how much it is to fill up the Premio with a full tank of petrol, we told them 450k yet it’s only 190k. And when they discovered roadside Rolex, we told them they cost 8k yet, they cost a mere sh1,500.         

For Every £50 They Gave Us to Change For Them, We Gave Ourselves A £10 Commission
But now, they  have departed back to the wintery cold of the US and UK - empty handed of course because while they were here, their authentic Tommy Hilfiger, Adidas, Nike, Rebook went missing as did their socks, make up kits, authentic iPhone chargers. But the funny thing, the day after they left, we somehow manged to 'find' them. Hmm!    
That Last Hug
 Photos: New Vision, Agencies, Facebook


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