From the Twin Cities to the Queen City

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I had got accustomed to life in the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul. The warm hospitality, the nice summer weather, an occasional ice cream cone at Izzy’s, pizza at Davani’s, shopping at Super America or the nearest Target, hanging out with my host families, playing football [soccer] every Saturday with a group of Ugandan residents, lectures in the Roach Centre at the University of St. Thomas, van rides to different destinations and of course my cosy apartment. Life was good and simple.

Now I am on a plane wondering what the next phase of the WPI fellowship is going to be like. I have just read the US Airways magazine about Charlotte.  It’s a beautiful city going by what I see on the cover page. Perhaps its royal slogan the Queen City has something to do with its beauty. The largest city in the state of North Carolina, Charlotte is our first stop on a five week whirlwind tour of the US.

Charlotte, which I have come to know as the second largest financial centre in the US after New York, is the host city of this year’s Democratic National Convention.

We [WPI fellows] are received at Douglas International Airport by WPI’s program travel staff, Kristine Mortensen. As we leave the air conditioned airport, we are hit by the humid conditions outside. It was warm in the Twin Cities but not as humid. Not so worrying for me though as I come from a tropical country.

Our hotel is a couple of miles away from the city centre and so we take a bus. Sleep Inn is a simple guest house in the Concord area of Charlotte. It’s a nice quiet place with an indoor swimming pool. Daniel Renyi is my roommate for the five nights in Charlotte. You have to get used to sharing rooms during this phase of the programme.

Kristine or Kris as we prefer to call her orders some chicken and vegetarian pizzas for the now starving and exhausted group. After about 45 minutes of waiting, the pizzas finally arrive and we have our fill.

As we retire for the night, I am optimistic about what lies ahead. Covering my first ever Democratic National Convention will be exciting.

For now folks, let me get some sleep.