Life has been a little crazy of late and of course the blog was the first activity to be neglected in the chaos. I don’t have much time before my laptop battery runs out, but here’s some thoughts about my life in Kamwenge…
The things that make me proud to call this place home:
- When I go and hang out with one of my friends who owns a small shop on the main street, she gives me free apple juice because ‘Kim, you are my visitor here, not my customer! That’s what we do in Uganda…’ I’m not quite sure if she has many ‘customers’.
- The beaming Ugandan smiles that creep across the faces of onlookers as I attempt my simple Rukiga. Although frustrating, learning the language and the encouraging moments of success that follow are turning me into an addict!
- Tropical rain on a tin roof – which coincidentally my house has.
- The food market and all the associated smells, colours, tastes and typical Ugandan-ness that it represents. More on this in another blog soon!
- Babies, Babies, Babies! Everyone here is popping them out, and I do love them…
- Never being in trouble for being late. *sigh* I was made for this place. I rocked up 2 hours late to a meeting the other day and only ¾ of the people had arrived. No more angry looks from time-obsessed Australians who disagree that ‘I was doing other things’ is a valid excuse.
- Being able to make friends with people super quick, with a liberating dismissal of the line between business and pleasure. A little story to demonstrate: I was at a shop in a nearby town buying internet credit the other day, while Michael was at the bank, and I started chatting to the girl at the counter. She asked if we could be friends and swap numbers. It seems Michael had a similar experience with a man at the bank. Once we reached our destinations, much to our amusement, we both received calls from our new friends asking if we had a ‘safe journey’ and wondering if we could hang out sometime. Easy!
- Cows. Everywhere. I’m used to them, but they never fail to amuse me.
The things that drive me bonkers:
- Before even starting to cook dinner, spending half an hour sifting through rice, 20 grains at a time, to pick out all the tiny little stones that are constantly destroying my teeth – the search for them aided only by a paraffin lantern because the power is out about 50% of the time at the moment. Grrr.
- Mzungu! Mzungu! Mzungu! Mzungu! Yes I am white. I get it. You live on the same street as me kid, how many times can the excitement REALLY last?
- Stud – when will that rooster learn that my house is not his own private highway?
- Babies, Babies, Babies! It seems that you do not need to know someone very well before the inevitable question comes – ‘Why haven’t you produced any children yet?’ And when I stumble through my answer about ‘culture’ and ‘how things are done’ in Australian marriages, they just look at me with pity and concern and tell me they’ll pray for me.
- Having no running water. It drives me nuts when the water pump in Kamwenge at the Mpanga river stops working. When I was staying in Uganda without running water for 3 months a few years ago it was fine – even quaint. Now that I’m living here, fetching water in jerry cans just doesn’t cut it!!! (Although it is a daily experience for most Ugandans)
- An ultra-aggressive and dangerously annoying endemic of the ‘man-flu’ in Bakiga/Banyankole men. It seems women are the tough ones in this culture too! Oh, how the similarities bring women around the world together J
- Bad Drivers. And I mean life-threateningly bad. Uganda has the 2nd highest amount of road fatalities per vehicles in the entire world. Driving 100km/hour on the potholed dirt road to Kamwenge is NEVER acceptable!
Thus ends my thoughts for this week.