Two and a half weeks. how have I already been here for over two weeks?
On one hand, it feels like I’ve already done so much since arriving in Jinja, but on the other hand, it feels like I just pulled up to the Sole Hope house yesterday.
Two weeks to fall in love with this place.
Two weeks to know that I don’t want to leave.
Two weeks to start thinking about a return trip.
It’s such a unique culture. It has it’s own rhythm. The pace has been compared to that of a small beach town back in the states. Replace the surfboards with bodas and the sand with red dirt and it’s a pretty accurate description.
Observations/thoughts so far:
- You can make plans, but they probably won’t go as planned. Things will be delayed, things will come up, and sometimes it will just pour rain. You go with the flow and adjust accordingly.
- Although I have seen three stop signs, I have never once seen anyone observe them. Instead of “stop” it seems to be “go when you want to go and pray that there is no one in your path”. And by that I mean the boda driver goes when he wants to go and you are at his mercy.
- I will probably be ridiculously sick of avocados and mangos when I leave, but I know that I’ll miss them terribly when I get home.
- I want nothing more than a hot shower.
- Coca-Cola tastes 10x better in Africa. Thank you cane sugar.
- Uganda is a beautiful country.
- Even if there is wifi available, it probably won’t work. Or you may fall asleep before your Facebook homepage loads.
- You can easily have three children holding on to each of your hands at once. Perhaps a few more.
- If you wear sandals, your feet will be red by the end of the day.
- Everything is better as a chalkboard.
Needless to say, life here continues to be interesting, yet fun. Some days are super relaxed with not much on the agenda but a trip into town for an americano and a few instagram uploads, while some days come with a list of things to accomplish. Somehow, everyday fills up with errands, babysitting, and other Sole Hope tasks. Each day ends with a meal surrounded by friends that tend to include a few good laughs. Although, a few evenings have been graced by uncontrollable laughter with tears to follow.
This change of pace has been a difficult, but needed adjustment. I’ve been forced to slow down and enjoy my time here. I’ve had to come to terms with the fact that my to-do list may not play out as I intended. I tend to burry myself in the jumping from one task to another. I plan out my time, know exactly what’s coming next, and move from one task to the other without giving it much thought. As much as I still find myself trying to jump right back into that “safe” routine here, that has not been how things have played out at all. Although I find myself getting frustrated at times, dare I say that I’m enjoying every minute of my non-scheduled “routine”.
I’m still trying to find my footing. I’m still determining what the next few months here may look like. I’m still curious to see what happens.
I have to say that one of my favorite things so far has been the time spent in the villages. If you know me at all, you know that I love being around kiddos. Village days bring many “Mzungu!” (meaning white person) screams and enough little smiles to melt your heart several times over. I’ve never experienced something so exhausting, yet so joy filled. Although I have made many attempts to capture those captivating white smiles popping against that beautiful ebony skin, nothing can do that little giggle justice. I wish I could take those precious laughs with me, but each time I must settle with a few waves and the echoing sound of “Mzungu, bye!” while looking forward to our next meeting. The joy that they have is infectious, and I’m trying to bottle up as much of it as I can.
Lessons learned so far:
- Be flexible and go with the flow.
- It’s okay to barter with your boda drivers.
- People will try to take advantage of you because you are a mzungu.
- If a mango smells disgusting, there’s probably a worm in it.
- ENOing in Africa is where it’s at.
- Sometimes Saturday nights involve boda races.
- Ugandans are beautiful people.
- Slowing down isn’t a bad thing.
- Being here isn’t easy, but it’s worth all the sacrifices.
- The next two months are going to fly by far too quickly.
Oh life, what an adventure you’ve become.