Saturday, 27 November 2010

Uganda Now

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.
Uganda now.

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