In some countries, late night shopping channels offer a wide range of goods for sale – much wider than you could possibly imagine. Of course the stereotype steak knives jumps to mind, along with the perfumes, handbags, and hair accessories (clearly I wasn’t that addicted).

But what’s the Ugandan equivalent? Street vendors who pass by your vehicle through the streets of busy Kampala. Way more convenient. No dialling. No waiting on hold. Just wind down your window and buy what is for sale literally right out the driver or passenger door. And what’s even better? The banter and haggling. The traffic jams make this a perfect opportunity for shoppers. I don’t know why we even bothered going to a supermarket on the eve of President Museveni’s swearing in ceremony; we should have just waited for all the goods to walk past our window during our eight-hour traffic jam.

From fresh fruit and vegetables to windscreen wipers (fitted straight away) and inflatable children’s paddling pools (already pumped up) we could just reach out our hand for these transactions, that’s all the effort it required.

To keep us from going insane during the longest jam of our lives, we recorded every item that went past our vehicle. In no particular order, they were:

  • Bath mats
  • Padlocks
  • Phone chargers
  • Coat hangers
  • Mushrooms
  • Ugandan flags (multiple sizes)
  • Children’s football boots
  • Footballs
  • Grasshoppers (ready to eat)
  • Simsim ball snacks
  • Mangoes
  • Thermos
  • Hand washing stand and stations
  • Belts
  • Windscreen wipers
  • Jackfruit (cut and ready to eat)
  • Pillows
  • Toilet paper
  • Bananas
  • Floor mats for the car
  • Oranges (orange and green colour)
  • Lemons
  • Upholstery spray
  • Pineapples
  • Chipping hoes
  • Sunglasses
  • Peas
  • Paddling pool for kids (already blown up)
  • Car freshener
  • Mosquito nets
  • Children’s floor mats
  • Children’s posters
  • Loafers (natural)
  • Foot scrubbers
  • Cheese graters
  • Set of knives
  • Apples
  • Tool set
  • Hats
  • Face masks
  • Belts
  • Hand brooms
  • Bottles of soda
  • Chewing gum
  • Insect zappers
  • Sieves
  • Dustpan and brooms
  • Woven baskets
  • Collapsible chairs
  • Dog collars and dog leads
  • Skipping ropes
  • Prescription reading glasses
  • Laptop cases/briefcases
  • Small tomatoes
  • Groundnuts (still in their shell as well as ground)
  • Dash mats
  • Roasted soya beans
  • Sponges
  • Phone holders
  • Packets of crisps
  • Sneakers/running shoes
  • Assortment of spieces
  • Garlic
  • Cushions
  • Condoms
  • Handkerchiefs
  • Steering wheel covers
  • Aftershave
  • Shin pads
  • Groundnut paste
  • Grapes
  • Paintings
  • Sugarcane
  • Books about prosperity and how to become rich
  • Small flags from football teams
  • Ginger

I can’t say we were enticed to buy too many items but we did buy: simsim balls, jackfruit and chewing gum. o big spenders here.

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