Current city or town: Kampala, Uganda
How long have you lived here: Since 2011
Three words to describe the climate: Friendly, sunny, dusty
Best time of year to visit? All year. It can get wet in the rainy season, with flash floods, but that doesn’t normally last more than a few hours.
1. The most striking physical features of this city/town are . . . The birds. Kampala is full of wetlands. My home is near one and I sometimes see ten different species in a day. There’s a species that thrives in the middle of the streets. The marabou stork, karoli, the garbage collector. In the past the city had poor waste management and this attracted the storks, but today they have fallen in love with the lampposts and tall buildings and won’t leave, though the council has tried to exterminate them.
In All Our Names, the Ethiopian-born novelist Dinaw Mengestu tells the story of two Isaacs and a Helen living, loving, and leaving each other—apparently in the 1970s. The story, which takes place in both Uganda, and a generic Midwestern U.S. town called Laurel, is narrated partly by Isaac, whose real name isn’t really Isaac (he is also called Langston, Professor, and Dickens at different times and by different people), and partly by Helen, the American social worker assigned to him after he comes to the U.S. to study at university.
The novel begins with the faux Isaac, almost twenty-five, leaving his village in Ethiopia for the Ugandan capital of Kampala, to “claim his share,” i.e. to become a famous writer, surrounded by like-minded men. There, he meets the other Isaac (whom we’ll call Isaac  for clarity) at the university, though neither Isaac is a student, and it is unclear whether the two men are like-minded. Their relationship and involvement with the revolution against Idi Amin makes up Isaac’s share of the narrative.