Sooo…. I got flu. I’m staying home from Church today, and I though I’d update you on Uganda 101. Here are some tips for staying in Uganda I’m sure you’ll need (when you come to visit me, that is!)
- First off, it’s NOT rude to stare here. You’ll find hundreds of eyes watching you at any given moment, and they don’t mean to be rude.
- If you hear someone honking at you, it’s not to tell you you’re wrong or doing something bad. It’s to let you know, there’s someone behind you that' might pass you. Or, it’s to try to get you to climb aboard one of the taxis (matatus).
- In the aspect of time, you’re not late for a 3 o’clock appointment until it turns 4. But, for the courtesy of us Americans, most people on mainland try to “keep time.” (But, if you want to make sure they do, just ask them to “keep time.”)
- You, as a “white person,” are a Mzungu. You WILL get called at by street kids while walking on public roads.
- In modes of transportation, the bodas are a must to know how to ride. They are little 250 horse motorcycles that you hire to take you anywhere within city limits. Even if you just want to walk, you’ll probably get offered at least half a dozen rides.
- They want you to dicker in the market and sometimes in the tourist shops, but not in the supermarkets (like convince stores).
- When people greet you in a friendly matter, it’s a full hug in which you first put the head on one shoulder, then switch and put it on the other. Or, if you’re less familiar, you shake the hand by putting fingers fist underneath the other’s hand, then switching and putting it over the thumb.
- Most people walk, so you have much, MUCH traffic in the streets with the hundreds of bodas and the cars and matatus going around the people, who usually walk in the middle of the road.
- Nobody moves in the rains. When it rains, expect delays in all areas of life.
- The speak a different language, even though they speak the same one you do.
1. You don’t “live” somewhere, you live where ever you are. You “stay” in your house.
2. You don’t “move” from one house to the next, you “shift.”
3. You don’t “go” somewhere for an appointment, you “move.”
- If you stay near a hotel, expect loud music ever weekend night. All night.
- If you receive a gift from a Ugandan, don’t open it in front of them. That’s rude. (Don’t ask me why…)
- If you visit a church, be prepared to speak. Be patient, the service may take all day, even if your message is short. And then be courteous enough to accept any dinner invitations.
- If you go to a restaurant, you call the waiter, “sebo”(“say-bow”), and the waitress, “nyabo”(“nyaw-bow”). That’s “sir” and “ma’am” in Luganda. They may of may not understand your English, so if might take a while to get your order right. Double-check what they think you said, or… you might not get your order right.
So, I think that’s enough to get you started. You now have a glimpse of a little of everyday life in Jinja. I can’t speak for anywhere else. The Islands have another set of rules, and I’m still not sure of any of those ones. I’m still learning about this place, Jinja, Uganda.