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Published: June 23rd 2010
This building on the right is the dormitory that I am staying in.
Once again I did not sleep well. I was hot and tossing and turning most of the night. It seemed that right before sunrise there was a nice breeze that came through the window and I was instantly able to sleep. That didn’t last long though because by 8am the hostel was loud and everyone was awake. I was extremely tired. It was now 3 nights in a row that I had gotten almost no sleep (first night being on the airplane). Regardless I still had no idea what I was supposed to be doing. I didn’t know if I was going to start my project or maybe switch rooms so I woke up to be prepared. I went down to take shower and miraculously there were shower curtains in almost every stall. It was still freezing cold though.
After my shower I went to my room and then got invited into someone else’s room for breakfast. I ate just a piece of bread and had some tea. The people had been here for a while so they had an electric kettle and things to cook with. In there I met the head person of AIESEC Uganda which is actually
This is where I go to use the internet.
a German girl named Manuela. She had been in Kenya for a while before coming to Uganda. It’s funny because since English isn’t her first language and she has spent so much time in East Africa her accent is very African. After the small breakfast some people were going around saying that they were going to the university to use the internet. Since I had no idea how to get to the university I went with them.
It was once again raining and it wasn’t very warm out either. I wore a sweatshirt in the morning. Eventually though it stopped raining and the sun came out in full force. It was a relief because it was frustrating walking through mud all the time. Now the mud had just turned into dirt and dust. To get to the university we walked through areas that look very much like the African slums that you see on TV. It’s such a maze that I didn’t see how there was any way that I would be able to find my way back alone. As you walk through the slums all of the little kids will shout at you “Muzungo!” which is the Lugandan
Going to the Supermarket
this is the road outside my hostel that I use to get to the grocery store.
word for a white person. The kids get very excited and they all wave. Sometimes of the small group of kids there is usually one that is brave enough to run up and try to touch your hand. It seems almost a game for them. It is very depressing to see the slums but it made me realize that the accommodation that I have is actually pretty nice.
On the way to the university I also bought a Ugandan SIM card for my phone so if you’re interested in having an expensive phone bill then let me know and I’ll give you my number so you can call me.
I once again checked my email and talked to some people at the university. The two Dutch guys went to a bar to meet up with other Dutch people to watch their soccer game. I was considering going with them but I went home instead and took a much needed nap.
That night we were having an AIESEC party called the “global village” where everyone in AIESEC in Kampala was going to gather and talk about their different cultures. Since I was signed up with AIESEC Canada but I’m American I wasn’t quite sure which one they wanted me to talk about.
At the hostel a large group of us left together and tried to find a collective Taxi. There was about 10 of us so if was had 4 more we could have filled the whole thing up ourselves. I never like walking in a large group like that but we all needed to get to the party and only one person in our group knew how to get there. Once again one of the local AIESEC members helped us to get a taxi and to get to the party.
We arrived at the party and there were way more people than I was expecting. We were in someone’s backyard and there were well over 100 people from all over the world. People from each country got up and sang their national anthem. Unfortunately when I arrived I was the only American so I had to do it alone which wasn’t very much fun. Around the backyard were tables labeled with country names where everyone put some things from their country there such as the local alcohol or candies. I brought maple syrup caramels and cookies since I was lazy and did my shopping at the duty free store in Montreal.
Eventually they called USA up to the platform again. This time two other Americans joined me and the other people wanted us to do something from our culture that was not our national anthem. They said either a dance or a song. The other Americans and I were standing there wondering what the hell we were going to do. We had no idea what was “American” that no one else knew that we could share with them. Eventually everyone grew impatient so one of the guys suggested that we sing “American the beautiful”. Afterwards Manuela who I mentioned before is the MCP which is the head of AIESEC Uganda said “Americas got no talent”. I was pretty offended because I had been part of AIESEC for 3 months, I had no idea what was going on and that’s the response that you give us? I don’t know how the other people felt and maybe I should have said something. I can say this though, In the US and Canada we wouldn’t invite you to our country, ask you to share a piece of your culture, and then tell you that you have no talent. That’s just plain rude especially for someone of her status who is a leader of a group that is supposed to promote cultural understanding and awareness. After our group they called Canada but the Canadians had no idea what to do and no other country had any idea so they eventually stopped with that ritual. The rest of the night we just had some drinks and danced and met other AIESECers from the area. Thanasis (the Greek) said he met a local named Herbert who said that he would take us to an “invitation” which was a Ugandan tradition before a wedding. We then made plans to leave the next morning around 10am to see the Uganda museum and then head to the invitation.
We headed back to the hostel and this time I went to bed and actually slept pretty well (must have been the alcohol).
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