Thursday, April 21, 2011

Good Stuff in Uganda

Uganda is a great place... for all the hard and sad and difficult things I saw there I really have to say I generally LOVE Uganda!

Some of the best...

- There seems to be a sense of community. First of all, there are people literally EVERYWHERE in Kampala. I am not exaggerating. If you drive down any road it is lined with people. People walking, riding bikes, selling goods, sitting on a step, playing cards, holding babies... just people everywhere being neighbors. It was a nice change to isolated, under populated Colorado.

- The food was simple and appetizing. I really only ate a few places, mainly my guest house that served traditional style food, safe for mzungu's (white people) like me. My favorite was rice with this red gravy... I know you are thinking, "Rice and gravy, that was your favorite?" But seriously, it was simple and tasted SO good. Like mash potatoes and gravy it was comfort food.

- Going along with food, Uganda soda is THE BEST in the whole world (I am sure it is served else where, but I'll just give Uganda all the credit). It is made with cane sugar and in glass bottles... the best is Stoney!!!

It is like ginger ale, but about 1000x better. It tastes like real ginger, with the spiciness of ginger. I contemplated bringing some home in my suitcase, but was afraid the glass bottles might break. Me and another lady on the trip would fight over the bottles they had at dinner. Another good one was called Crest (yup like the toothpaste) but it was like carbonated lemon juice... very sour, but very refreshing!

- I loved seeing different sights... goats, long horned cattle that my driver said are compared to Ugandan women because they both walk with a slow and graceful gait. I loved seeing mamas carry their babies on their back with a simple length of cloth. Mothers with new babies all seemed to wrap them in sparkling white blankets, wrapping them up and covering their faces. Boda... motorcycle taxis, with "smart" dressed women in high heals sitting sidesaddle with their ankles primly crossed and looking graceful in spite of the traffic and crazy driving antics of the boda boda. I loved seeing all the lovely hairstyle women have and how they covered any messes in their homes with lace and doilies. I could go on and on. I think my favorite was seeing Eron, my new sister (Kizito's aunt) and how she would take what I would deem dump worthy and make it into something beautiful and lovely!

- I enjoyed the sound of lugandan and Ugandan english. Everything just sounds nicer.

- I enjoyed how most people assumed I was about 22 years old... I can't tell if it was because I didn't have 3 children in tow to up my age or what?

- I enjoyed that they assumed my name was Mercy... even though "r" isn't really pronouncable so it came out "Macy."

- I enjoyed wearing skirts... every. single. day... and it was viewed as normal. The lady that worked at the dining room desk said, "Macy, you are a very smart dresser! I told my friend the other day, 'That woman dresses like a true Ugandan!' You look very appropriate to be here." It totally was about the highest compliment I could get... Ugandan's generally dress very "smartly" and look so nicely kept... no jeans and tee shirts. BUT I had to wear my chacos... I just couldn't bear to wear the appropriate close toed shoes that most professional Ugandan's wear. :-)

- Ugandan names are pretty interesting... some of my favorites... Wilberforce, Patience, Silas, Wisdom...

- The traffic and driving is UNreal! I think the lesson I learned is: 1. Just avoid hitting others. 2. If you can fit, you can go there. 3. Expect the unexpected. 4. Pedestrians... well, you just don't want to be one. 5. Expect others to cut you off, swerve into your lane, head on, and to have close call after close call... That said, my driver was an AMAZINGLY safe driver. I knew we'd be ok. I did have the hotel driver take me to the airport... big mistake! He drove scarily fast and I am not joking a mini bus taxi drove out in front of us and I thought, "Oh great! I am going to die in a car crash... just as I am leaving the country... how great is that!"

- Also, the green! It was so so green and lush! It was refreshing to my dry and weary soul... the part that misses Tennessee.

What a great place... SO different than Colorado, but so unique and good in all it's own ways!

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