Hard to believe but I’ve been now in Uganda for 3 months! Not even half a year ago I was sitting in my London office desperately wanting to go out there to help people and get out of the rainy city I’ve spent my last 8 years. Time flew by when you doing what you love.
Those 3 months were wonderful yet challenging. There’s no doubt in my mind that this is the type of work that I want to do – marrying up travel with doing good to people and communities. It’s incredibly fascinating to live in an African village and watch the community grow and benefit from your work. How did I overcome some of the difficulties?
- Chill out! Uganda and in fact the whole Africa doesn’t perceive time in the same way we, Westerners do. Time for us is more of a linear concept, a road with clear marks of past, present and future. Africans don’t regard future as time. It’s a ‘no-time’ hence the concept of time itself is more liquid and fluid. In Africa people tend to value other things like interpersonal relations more than time. Unless there is a strong drive for time management, everything in Africa will always be behind schedule. Being quite a punctual person this one definitely has taken me the longest to get used to! Typically, am the muzungu arguing with the matatu driver who told me ‘sister the vehicle is leaving now’ (and it’s obviously not).
- Food. Glorious food. I have written a post on it here. I love it but had to break up with cheese! Sigh.
- Muzungu… how are you? I heard that probably 100 times every day and I won’t lie – in the beginning it could annoy me especially when you are trying to talk with your companion! I got used to it now 🙂
- Things just take time… this is truth for doing a simple bank transaction to something basic like a greeting. You stop, you smile, you exchange a series of questions: how are you? How’s your wife? And kids? And neighbors? How’s your mother and father? How are things in your end? And it goes on and on…
- It was incredibly hard to see poverty both in the village and in town for the first time.
I am looking forward for the next 3 months ahead. Work should be really picking up the pace now so watch this space!