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My time in the Pearl of Africa

Friday, April 16, 2004

Good bye Uganda!

I'd like to put some final thoughts here, but I'm too tired after finishing up my last day here at the lab. So I guess I'll just have to talk to everyone when I get home.

See you then!

Thursday, April 15, 2004

Top Ten Favorite Things about Uganda

10. Gecko-watching at night.

9. Traditional Ugandan music on the radio.

8. Having a park across the street from the Project House.

7. Pinapple, mango, avacado, and passion fruit

6. Playing Ultimate Frisbee every Sunday.

5. Getting to see monkeys in a rainforest.

4. All of the green, leafy tropical plants.

3. Not having to do laundry or cook any meals.

2. Eating samosas and chapatis and drinking tea during breakfast.

1. The weather. Mostly warm and sunny all year long.

Wednesday, April 14, 2004

Top Ten list for today: Top Ten Mental Images that I Will Take Away From Uganda

10. Red dust covering everything, indoors and out

9. The shacks lining the roads that sell wooden coffins and seeing coffins in the back of pick-up trucks at the JCRC

8. Looking outside during a power outage and seeing nothing but pitch blackness

7. Dead flying ants completely covering the floor in front of the front door

6. Women walking around in vibrant colored gomesis

5. The views of Lake Victoria and the Nile

4. The streets clogged with endless lines of matatus (small bus sized taxis)

3. School children dressed in their school uniforms assembled in their school yards for the start of the day

2. The white buildings with dark green trim that make up the JCRC

1. The view from the Project House of the downtown high-rises across the airstrip

Tuesday, April 13, 2004

I'm going to start wrapping up my blog since I only have a few days to go. My last post will be Friday, as that is the last day that I will have Internet access here.

So I figured that I would take after Kent and put together a few top ten lists. So my list for today is 'Top Ten Things that Most Suprised Me about Uganda'

Before my trip, I had been briefed by many people about what to expect when I arrived here. Those people did a good job because I didn't walk around in a state of shock during my first week. Having a degree in Cultural Anthropology probably helped. None the less, a first visit to a developing country is one of the more eye-opening experience I expect to have.

Anyway, here's the list:

10. How tropical the landscape is. Most people's idea of Africa is open savannah with a few sparse trees. Kampala, however, is lush, tropical, and situated on green rolling hills.

9. The looming American "presence." From the huge, imposing, US embassy to the heavy influence of US culture on the lifestyles of upper-class Ugandans, I've come to realize how dominant the United States has become in the world today. Dominant in every sense. It is a bit unsettling.

8. Ugandans' unfortunate chronic littering habit. There is trash everywhere.

7. How a nation that produces tons of coffee beans chooses to drink only instant coffee.

6. The amount of public urination. Too much. Way too much.

5. There is really not a Ugandan "accent." English is taught in elementary schools, but the teachers often teach incorrect pronunciation and sometimes even teach wrong meanings to words. As a result, the English spoken and written here is a bit hard to decipher. Some Ugandans I can understand perfectly, others sound like they are speaking Chinese for all I can tell.

4. The traffic jams. Much much worse (and more dangerous) than everyday traffic in Cleveland.

3. The amount of missionaries and born-again Christians that are in Kampala.

2. Having armed guards at both my place of work and where I live. The guards have huge guns, like assault rifles. It doesn't make me feel any safer to have them around. Especially when you see empty beer cans strewn about the guard post at the JCRC.

1. How much I would have my "butt kissed" just because I am a white person. It is embarassing at times. There are many times when I wished that I could blend in and not attract so much attention.

Monday, April 12, 2004

Only one week left for me here! I wrote Kent an email today stating that "in exactly one week's time I will be on an airplane over the Sahara." I'm happy about leaving. I'm ready to go home.

My (long) weekend was boring and a chore to get through. On Friday night there was a big thunderstorm and I woke up on Saturday morning to find the house filled with dead flying ants. For reasons unknown to me, this happens every morning after a big storm. The ants apparently fly into the windows and doors (on the inside of the house), crash, get their wings knocked off, fall to the floor, and die. I don't know how they get in to the house, why they crash, or why their wings fall off. What the heck did evolution have in mind for these things? All I know is that there were so many of them near the front door that I had to sweep them up first thing or I'd be stepping on dead bugs all weekend. To make matters worse, other species of ants were coming inside to feast upon the dead flying ants. It was not a good way to start the day.

I've seen so many gross bugs here (cockroaches, millipedes, mosquitoes, flies, and millions upon millions of ants) that I've come to appreciate my gecko housemates. In fact, I'm happy now when I spot one in my room. I've got no problem with Hank and the gang eating bugs above my bed.

Thursday, April 08, 2004

Not much to say today, other than I am heading in to a long weekend. Both my house-mate and the cook are leaving Kampala for four days so I will be all on my own. I don't know if I will be at work on Friday or Monday, but at some point this weekend I will have Internet access. I'm going to try to get on the Internet using a lap-top at the House. If that doesn't work, I'll be heading to the computer center at the mall.

There have been some interesting developments in my project lately. I'll post more about that on a later date.

Happy Easter Weekend!

Wednesday, April 07, 2004

I didn't post anything yesterday because I forgot. I didn't realize until I was back at the Project House that I hadn't written my daily post.

Not much has happened in the past two days. My project is stalled. Again. I don't think that it will be completed until many months after I leave here. That's how research goes, especially here in Uganda where there are many obstacles.

This weekend is a long one for Ugandans. Both Friday and Monday are official holidays, so it is a four-day break for most people. Uganda seems to have more official holidays than the US. Four days off is exactly what I don't need right now. I'm starting to go a little stir-crazy with boredom when I'm in the Project House. I can't remember a time when I actually dreaded a long weekend. I may end up blowing the rest of my money on books because there isn't much else to do with my free time except read.

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