heaven-sent comic relief

We were driving through Kampala at night, going back to the house where we were staying. Conversation was at a minimum, and we all stared out the windows, earnestly wishing for the traffic to move more quickly.

Mary started giggling. “That lady stuck her tongue out at me!” she said, pointing out the window.

We all shushed her and resumed staring out at the traffic.

“No, really!” she insisted, pointing at a matatu (taxi) that was pulling up alongside us.

Sure enough, in the back seat, there was a middle-aged woman making faces at us, sticking out her tongue and waving her arms. They started giggling, and the rest of us couldn’t help smiling. The matatu fell behind again, and we all burst into conversation – “Did you see that?” “What was she doing?”

A few minutes later, heralded by “Here she comes!” and “Look, look, there she is!”the matatu came alongside of us again, the woman still making faces at us. I smiled and waved, and she paused her antics to grin back momentarily before resuming the show. This time, we all laughed out loud until the traffic moved her out of sight.

The matatu passed us again and again, and every time the hilarity grew until we were gasping for breath. Even the parents were chuckling.

Finally, the matatu pulled over to unload, and our van burst into cries of, “Aw,
man!” and “That was hilarious!” We then started doing imitations of her more funny moments, and everyone was soon laughing again.

I glimpsed a dark hand raised above the traffic, waving goodbye, and I waved back until I could see it no longer.

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