I knew I was roughing it in Africa when…

…I turned on my shower only to feel warm water. No no no – maybe it was when I came back from work one evening to find my dirty laundry had been stolen only to find out my apartment cleaners wash our laundry for us twice a week. That couldn’t be it – No, I knew I was roughing it in Africa when I found out that the apartment came with a membership to the local country club. Yeah, that was it – I definitely did not expect that.

So, I learned quite a bit in my second week in Africa. I learned that I am more scared of going to sleep with a mosquito inside my mosquito net than pretty much anything else. I learned that there is worse bus congestion here than at the SF Transbay Terminal (see below)

Bus Port:

I learned that I really take air conditioning for granted. I learned that worship in African churches is a whole lot different than worship in American churches (kind of a good thing). Finally, I learned that I actually do have better bargaining skills than I originally thought.

Here’s the story: There’s a huge market in Kampala called the Owino (Oweeeno) Market which the best explanation is probably something like, “Goodwill on steroids”. The back story is that donations from thrift stores in America and Europe are shipped to this market and sold in box to a bunch of different people at this market at really inexpensive rates. In turn, these people set up their shops within this huge tent and sell everything from these boxes. My friend, Moses, said there’s all kind of gems at this market, but it just has to be sorted out from everything else. Of course, I was skeptical so I had to venture out and figure out what this mystical place entitled. Moses was gracious enough to join along as we trudged through thousands upon thousands of articles of clothing. I finally reach this jeans vendor and see this pair of seven jeans in perfect condition. Now, I know these jeans retail ~$150 but I didn’t think these vendors knew that information. Actually, I know they didn’t as the vendor states that the price is 60,000 UGX ($24). I would spend 60,000 UGX in a heartbeat for these jeans but thankfully – he didn’t know that. Here’s where the bargaining started. I said I’d give him 10,000 UGX, and he says 30,000 UGX than 20,000 UGX. I tell him 15,000 UGX is my final offer, and he tells me that he can’t sell them that cheap because it’s his cost (not true). I walk away and he yells out to me to my that he would accept my 15,000 UGX offer.  In all honesty, his cost was probably around 2,000 UGX and he was probably amped on getting 15,000 UGX, but I was pretty happy about it. Now, I won’t mention that I also ripped off on a pair of LaCcste (not a mistype) shoes because that would indicate that my bargaining skills are amateur at best.

Anyways, I have another crazy story about imported pork (I know, it doesn’t make sense), but I’ll have to wait until next time. I miss all of you guys in the states! Hope you are all doing well!

Ben

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About btejes

Just an average guy with a love for beans.
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3 Responses to I knew I was roughing it in Africa when…

  1. Jessica says:

    I love reading your updates and I’m glad you’re doing well. I’ve heard that the joy and gratitude of the Christians is overwhelming! I’d love to hear more about your experiences. Praying for you!

  2. Linda says:

    I see you bargaining at the market;your descriptions are worth waiting the week! So glad you have a new Ugandi friend, Moses. I actually saw some of those big boxes at Salvation Army regional hdqrts waiting to go to Uganda. I was looking for luggage for medical equipment and I at the Salvation Army here, I purchased 15 pcs of luggage for $10! I think I got as good a bargain as you.
    How is worship different? Can’t wait to hear.
    Have a super 3rd week in Kampala.

  3. Brian says:

    Sounds really interesting so far! I can’t believe I’m actually feeling proud of the SF transbay terminal.
    And great job with those Seven jeans. I hope they fit!
    When is your first excursion? Have you started setting up the Safari trip? My dad says Tanzania is supposed to have better game parks than Kenya.
    -B

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