Eldrbarry's impressions of life in Uganda

A Short Term Trip to Uganda - March 3rd - 22nd, 2003

Uganda, like much of Africa, is full of Irony. Here are a few of my "impressions" of life there - deliberately tongue-in-cheek. . .

Ugandan Alarm clock: 3:30 AM Dogs Barking . . 4:30 AM Roosters Crowing . . 5:45 Muslim Call to Prayer . . 6:00 Birds Singing - People fetching water . . 7:00 Sunrise - Cranes making an awful racket . . 8:00 AM Breakfast might be on the table - finally that cup of tea!

Ugandan Seat Belts: Two knees wedged into seat in front of you; one hand to hang on, one hand to hold your camera and water bottle, one hand to open the window to let in air and to close the window to keep the dust out.

It's a Market when 1) the number of bicycles loaded with Matooke or charcoal are exceeded by the brightly dressed women with impossible loads on their heads and 2) the size of the speed bumps exceeds that of the potholes!

The aroma of smoke in the air is often, after the sticky heat, one's first impression of Uganda. Ugandans cook over charcoal fires (out back) in a waddle hut. When the ashes start drifting by, lunch or dinner is near.

Ugandans hand wash laundry in a tub with water hauled a distance in yellow jugs, lay clothes out to dry on the bushes or grass, and iron on the door step, but they are usually well dressed with colorful and clean clothes and wear good shoes!

They will launder anything for a price, but not your underwear!!

If it rains on a Sunday . . . Its Ok to be late since people will be anyway. But expect lots more singing! The service will go on and on, even if it takes all day!

Ugandan's, notorious for no sense of time whatever, employ timekeepers at conferences. However they are ignored unless it is one of the three daily times (10, 1, 5) for tea!

For a really good offering. . . 1) beat the drums 2) have everyone dance down the aisles 3) employ a brass band 4) take 20 minutes!

Ugandan School Children wear bright colored uniforms not for school pride, but because they spend half their day walking to and from school down the highway.

Forget daycare, just tie the baby on your butt, grab your hoe and head up the mountain with a loaded basket on your head! Women carry their children 9 months in front and then at least another 18 in back!

Ugandans are generally poor, but most seem to have cell phones!

In Uganda, they take care of the enviornment! They are required to plant two trees for every one they cut down. And in the middle of nowhere, someone will be encountered trimming the grass on the road sides with a hand scythe.

Ankole cows know which side of the road to walk on - with those horns, who argues. Goats, chickens and school children don't . . . that's why Matatu's (taxi vans) also have horns! Beep! Beep!

In America, it takes barbed wire and electric fences to control a herd of cattle, but in Uganda, just a boy with a switch and seemingly nothing else to do!

Don't take pictures at a Salt Mine unless you are willing to pay . . . twice!!

Never ask a ranger if there are any elephants around when you are stopped by a fresh pile of elephant dung!

You know you have interpreter problems when he takes three minutes to translate five words, and then someone in the back corrects him.

In African Restaurants, forget the menu! What they actually have can be listed on one hand - including the Matooke, Rice, and Irish (potatoes)!

Most Africans are fit, not fat! Is it the walking. . . or the diet?

You will never again take for granted lights and hot water after three weeks in Uganda.

The singing in African Churches is only surpassed by the Choirs in heaven! They start in perfect harmony and always end together on the same clap!