It was 10 minutes until my plane touched down in Entebbe airport just before midnight after 24 hours of travel and 3 layovers. Ouch. Given the seemingly hundreds of flights I’ve taken in the past few years, I have gotten my ritual down to a tee: seat up, tray table in the upright position, bookmark in book, ipod in backpack, stare outside at all of the cities lights. Little did I know, it would be completely different as I stared outside into complete darkness with not a light in sight (nice rhyme, huh?). For a second, I thought we couldn’t possibly be landing. Then, out of the corner of my eye, I see a few scattered lights which could be mistaken for a runway. Oh wait, it actually was the runway. I was in Africa.
In the three days I’ve been here, I feel I have learned so much from trying Matoke (green bananas, which surprisingly resemble potatoes) to learning locales political standpoint about the recent presidential elections. I also realized I am really not as adventurous for coming to Africa as I originally thought after countless conversations with ex-pats about quite ridiculous adventures. One ex-pat, in particular, lived in a tent for 7 months working with an NGO in Southern Sudan doing research filtering through manure trying to find causes for various diseases. No joke.
I will leave you with some notable differences between Uganda and America:
1) Drivers drive on the right side of the vehicle.
2) One of the main forms of transportation in Kampala are motorbikes called boda bodas (pictured below), which are really dangerous but also slightly exhilarating. Think dirt bikes with aggressive drivers weaving in and out of traffic on roads with major pot holes. Yeah, in the desire to stay alive, I think I will keep this means of transportation to a minimum.
3) Eggs in the supermarket are not refrigerated ( I am still shocked)
4) People who speak English generally speak very slow and quietly, so I always feel somewhat embarrassed after the third or fourth time saying, “Wait, what did you say?”
5) You barter for almost everything.
6) There are thousands of these birds here called the Marabou Stork (pictured below) that stand about 3 feet tall and are pretty intimidating. Sometimes, I wonder if these are the storks that bring babies into the world. Naaaa, they are just plain ugly.