Not afraid to head down to the store and outside the gates of Mengo Hospital anymore. Especially at night. I’ve gotten used to crossing the street. The biggest challenge. Non-stop matatus and boda-bodas (motorcycles for hire).
Felt overwhelmed in the beginning. Plus I was told a lot of stories before I left Canada. Around situations of trust. Begging. Misuse of boundaries.
It’s been three weeks and I am grateful for all the people I have met. Two women smile and laugh with me as I pass by. I’m good at the “How are you?” when I make eye contact.
“I love your dress,” they say as I walk by.
Greetings exchanged with the warmth of a smile. I utter weebale (pronounce whey-baa-ley which is thank you in Lugandan). They chuckle.
Then there’s Joseph. Our man in the know for the freshest pineapple and the most perfect mini-bananas, avocados, papayas, tomatoes, etc. His little vegetable and fruit cart sports a mini-light at night. It’s dusk and dark just after 6:30 p.m. here. I gather my goods with thanks and pass him his money.
As I’m dashing back to Mengo Hospital with two bags and a dry-sack of groceries all of a sudden I hear, “My friend, my friend!”
It’s Joseph with a beautifully ripe avocado in his hand.
“This is for Jennifer.”
He clutches my arm for a shake. I give him a hug.
Jennifer is my roommate who adores conversations with the locals. He’s taken a shine to her. Jennifer had stayed behind tonight.
Sure I see children begging in downtown Kampala. The odd adult. If I ask someone if I can take their picture, once I have been told I need to pay. I’m sure everyone could use an extra buck.
No different then back home though.
That’s Uganda for me today.