There’s no rest for the wicked. Otis Redding singing ‘Cigarettes and Coffee’ as I packed my bag. The sun has just reached above the trees and already one of the cars has departed, and we are waiting to leave. Today’s rallies will be from here all the way to Amuru, a long way south, and there promises to be little rest from the choking heat.
Mao looks as though the campaign trail has toughened him, the softness of being in elected office stripped away by punishing days moving non-stop. But he’s a charismatic one, always a big grin, greeting by name and offering a firm handshake. Last night he bounded on to the stage brandishing a garden hoe painted in the colours of the Democratic Party, then posed with it on his shoulder as the crowd applauded.
His speeches are full of little stories and jokes, but the messages are clear. I’m not partisan in this election because I have no stake in it, but I enjoy listening to him. He spots an opposition candidate in the crowd and gently pokes fun at him. The candidate laughs, maybe because he doesn’t have a microphone.
So this is the campaign. I’ll be shooting a documentary piece from now until election day, and whingeing about the heat as much as possible.