• Traveling 6 hours just to sit around a friend’s house with her for the weekend.
• That your school’s night watchman is armed with a bow and arrow.
• Guys blasting music from boom box radios wherever/whenever they want. This applies to aforementioned night watchman, at 3 AM, right outside your house.
• An entire day alone with absolutely nothing to do.
• Attracting a little parade of kids who follow you like ducklings when you go running.
• Cow and goat carcasses hanging on the street corner, swarmed by flies, and chopped for customers with a machete which has probably never been cleaned.
• The way meetings invariably start 2+ hours late, and even then people are still trickling in. A friend’s relative who was visiting recommended that they serve food to encourage timeliness. Friend’s response: “Then the food would just be late. It’s cooked by a Ugandan.” Too true.
• How people go to church on Sunday and to the witch doctor on Monday. Most pastors also go to witch doctors. Mix and match, aye?
• Getting unreasonably excited and telling all your friends when your town’s supermarket starts stocking a new product. Recently it was raisins. RAISINS!!!
• Being served a giant mound of every carbohydrate imaginable when you eat local food.
• Seeing police, border patrol, and security guards bribed in the open.
• Relating to your friends’ Facebook statuses like this: “If you’re watching a movie with a sexy shower scene and you catch yourself staring at the shower head, you might be a Peace Corps Volunteer.”
• And this: “Uganda makes me feel like Donald Duck. No one understands what I say and everyone stares at me like I am not wearing pants.”
• Geckos darting all over the place in your house.
• Being asked how Barack Obama is doing these days, as if you’re old pals.
• Men dressed in hot pink skinny jeans, bedazzled shirts, or patent leather flats. Maybe all three at the same time. Fashion = irrelevant.
• Surprised reactions when people see you doing any kind of work – gardening, cooking, cleaning – “Eh! You can dig?” Yes, white people are capable of operating a shovel.
• The extra syllables added to ends of words: clothes is “clothes-as”, weekend is “weekend-ee.”
• Competing with your friends to see who speaks the best Uganglish.
• Women you don’t know stroking your hair and asking you to cut it off and give it to them.
• Creepy ssebos knowing every line to every Celine Dion song, and serenading you with them.
• Breast feeding in public. Including directly next to you on a taxi where you are crammed 6 across on a bench meant for 3.
• Goats on leashes. Trucks overflowing with village hitchhikers. Cows on rooves. A family of 7 on a single motorcycle.
I could go on and on…
It will suffice to say, that amidst the challenges, there are laughs each and every day in Uganda!
Kola nuts last longer in the
mouths of those who value them.
[African Proverb – Ghana]