09 July 2016

An encounter with America

Invited to participate in the programme that is meant for Africans deemed to be upcoming leaders in their respected countries, Mukotani Rugyendo, a young news editor-in-chief of a government news paper, the Uganda Times and a writer, like most Africans, is very excited when a plane in which he has travelled, touches America soil at the John Fitzgerald Kennedy Airport in New York in 1981. his first encounter is with Jill, a beautiful young African American woman he meets at the airport. From the start it is clear he develops some kind of a crush on her. Jill is to be his escort throughout his visit.

He has a vague idea of how he is to spend the five weeks in the USA. Because he lands in New York, he is keen to visit places in the ‘big apple,’ first, but he gets disappointed when he is told that he will proceed to other cites first.

American Encounters explores several realities of an African visitor to the American society of that time, that has managed to transit to today’s life. In a bar, mainly visited by affluent rich Americans in long island, rugyendo experiences racism as his presence bothers two white gentle men, one of whom claims to be George Bush senior’s personal friend.

In Westport, Rugyendo discovers the social, economical divides in America, where young black men, mostly teenagers, are engulfed in poverty and drug abuse; standing aimlessly on the streets, angrily staring at the cars passing by in the Hood.

In Seattle he cringes at the American government’s decision to begin production of the MX Missile. He speaks about his approval of the development with the two journalists he meets at the University of Washington, only to learn that to the American people, creating more than slightly a thousand jobs is more important than the negotiations between America and the Soviet Union to limit production of deadly arms. At the same university, he learns that Latinos too, in America are marginalised.

Throughout his journey, Rugyendo meets publishers, news editors, scholars, dramatists, politicians poets and Maya Angelo. He visits universities, amongst which is the legendary Yale in New Heaven, where he gives a speech on the overly exhausted story about president Idi Amin, and how he ruined the country.

The dialogue throughout the book reads well thought about, you wonder how Rugyendo was able to remember all the conversation he had with the people he met during his visit.
The plot is well written, the diction perfect, the narrative flows very well throughout the whole memoir.

The book gives an insight of the American diverse culture and the reader will find humour in some chapters. It’s a book you will find informative, and also helpful on how one should perhaps behave when they meet strangers of a different culture.

About the book
• Title: American Encounters.
• Author : Mukotani Rugyendo.
• Publisher: RoseDog Books.
• Number of pages: 173
• Genre: Non Fiction
• Available: RoseDog Books Online Bookstore.
• Cost.10$



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