Keith, Steve and I explored Fort Portal last night. Eventually I hope to have a good enough internet connection to post pictures. I have about a bazillion I want to share.
It feels safe here. It feels safer than some poor neighborhoods in the States, even though the people here are much, much poorer. I feel like a fish out of water, which makes sense since I practically glow in the dark!
Keith commented that it feels like we’re in a real life version of “Where’s Waldo”. Steve added that it’s not Where’s Waldo, but Where’s The Geeky White People.
It’s amazing how friendly and happy everyone is here. The landscape is absolutely beautiful. It looks exactly how it does in movies about Africa, but better. The shopkeepers here are very nice, and they don’t seem to care whether or not you actually buy anything. They’re happy if you just stop by and chat for a little bit. Everyone asks after the health of my mother, because they can’t imagine her being well if I’m 15,000 miles away.
Some things are the same between Uganda and the States. They listen to the same music we do – Lady Gaga and Ludacris are especially popular, judging by the music blasting from shops and nightclubs. They watch the Kardashians. Their ice cream men blare the same shrill electronic tunes.
Other things are very different. Women collect and care for various barn animals here so they can get a good husband with their dowry. Some women won’t eat meat at all, because they’d be eating their dowry. People here fear witchcraft. To be sick – especially to have AIDS or Hepatitis – is to be impure, and it’s very shameful.
Life moves at a slower pace here. When you say 9am, it really means mozey on over sometime around 9ish. Maybe as late as 10. People stroll down the streets, seemingly without a care in the world. No one looks like they are in a hurry here. Even the insane careening boda-boda drivers have an almost-bored expression.
The food is different. Mostly it’s stews. The fruit is phenomenal. The pineapple here has officially ruined any chance of me ever liking canned pineapple again. When I get back to the States, I’m going to be a pineapple snob. If it wasn’t picked off of a Ugandan tree this morning, it’s not fresh enough!
I miss everyone back home. But at the same time, I know everytime I look up from this computer screen, that I love this place and I know I will be back.