SIMPLE UGANDAN REALITIES–CHALLENGES FOR THE AMERICAN UNAWARE

In case you plan to travel to Uganda sometime…

1. In America stair steps are always a standard height of 7-11 inches (usually 8 or 9, I looked it up). Each step in a staircase is the same height and width. Here there is no regulation. Walking up a flight of steps could involve a different height for each step along the way. So, for someone used to absentmindedly walking up, it can be a confusing journey for their feet!

2. Bathrooms do not always have toilet paper available, so it is always wise to carry some with you, just in case. (Not to mention, they don’t always have toilets either.)

3. When ordering a soda or water from a restaurant, you may be asked if you want it warm or cold. That simply means refrigerated or not.

4. When leaving a place, someone may ask if they can give you a push. As an unaware American, this can seem strange: Why would someone ask if they can hurt me? They are simply saying they would like to escort you to the gate or even your next destination.

5. In America the power goes out on occasion, but usually just if there has been a very bad storm that has led to power lines getting knocked down or something. In Uganda electricity is inconsistent. In fact, you may even find out the electric company has made an announcement in the newspaper that for the next six months there will be no power on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday from 6:00am-6:00pm. So, charge while you can, and have a back-up plan!

6. Rain. In America people tend to see rain as an inconvenience and something that interferes with their plans; we even pray it won’t rain. In Uganda we see rain as essential for growing crops, filling water tanks, and sustaining the family. Sure it may cause challenges with drying clothes or finding a way back home from town, but it is a blessing to pray for.

7. Someone may tell you they are going to flash you. Don’t worry, it’s not what you think. It means they are going to call you, but don’t want you to answer. They are either giving you their phone number, or don’t have much credit on their phone and want you to call them back.

8. Babies may cry when they see you and your white skin, especially if they are in a village. Don’t take it personally. They probably have never seen a white person before and are frightened as they try to image what is wrong with you.

9. If you stay in a hotel, they will most likely expect you to leave your key at the front desk when you leave. It may be their only copy, and they will need it to clean your room while you are out. No computerized swipe cards here!

10. Geckos will live in your house, spending their time crawling on the walls, eating bugs, hiding in the curtains during the day, coming out in the evenings…just ignore them and thank them for mosquito control.

I just thought you should know…😃

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