I have just finished my second week here in Uganda, and it has been quite the adventure! Transitioning from the rural Congo to urban Uganda has given me a bit of culture shock because Uganda is much more developed overall. Here are a few differences I have noticed:
- The slums in the rural area are made up of small brick houses. Here it is a sign of poverty, but in the Congo, regardless of how small it was, a brick house meant that you were fairly successful in life.
- There are walk in supermarkets here! In Congo, at least in the more rural areas, this was not seen at all.
- There is milk here! Not just milk powder, but real, liquid milk!!
- There is constant power, phone service, and wifi here, which has been nice, but I have found myself missing the simplicity of having none of those privileges.
- The men in Uganda are (for the most part) gentlemen who do not ask to marry me if I say hello to them.
- In Uganda, touch is much more a part of life. In Congo, the most touch you go was a handshake- here, if you have talked to a person more than once, especially with the women, you can expect hugs and holding hands and the like.
Although there are a lot of differences, there are many similarities in the two countries, as well. I have found (at least in Central and Eastern Africa) that Africa is just Africa. I don’t really know how to explain this concept, but it seems that even in countries that I have never been to before, I feel at home. Each country has its differences in culture and development, but at the end of the day, there is a common thread of just being African that is the same across the board. I know that I am in Africa. I know that being on time will not come before relationships here, as it often can in the States. I know that there are going to be certain things that will always be there- the clean smell after a rain, the call of a mosque, the shouting of women at their fruit stands, the chaos that is an African market, the lack of rules on the road, the shy, smiling children that just want to touch your white skin, the breathtaking sunsets and stunning night sky; these have been true of each country I have visited. There is a timelessness here in Africa that I haven’t come across anywhere else- and it is so refreshing!
As I continue to settle in here, don’t hesitate to contact me, as I would love to hear from you all! If there are any questions, comments, or if you have any prayer requests, I would love to hear them. For myself, I would be grateful if you could pray for a couple of things for me:
- That I would not experience any burn out in the next couple of weeks- we will be going full speed ahead, as we have been, and there is very little down time or quiet time here.
- That my body would adjust to Uganda. I have been having a lot of issues with the food here, which has just been beans and rice, something that I have grown up eating. The sooner my body can adjust, the better!
- That I would be present and active as a student on the Uganda Christian University (UCU) campus- sometimes it is hard for me to want to get out and get to know my fellow peers, both American and Ugandan.
Thank you all so much for your prayers, your support, and your love through this adventure! I treasure each and every one of you dearly, and I hope to hear from some of you soon!