Wednesday, September 17, 2008

One month in Uganda

I'm still alive and doing well!

Everything is different from home, but then that was what I was looking for, and it's what I love the most about it. People are nice (even though they shout mzungu (white person) after me wherever I go).

We live in the poorest area of town and all around us the houses are basically shacks, some are made of bricks and doors are rare. We're staying in one of the new student hostels with a big gate outside so it does feel a bit like we're going inside and shutting the door on poverty, even though the lack of warm water, the mosquitos and the power going out when it rains help us remember where we are.

The weather is warm, around 25 degrees. It rains every second day, the roads turn to mud, and the rain drops are so big it hurts - I understand now why people here never go out in the rain.. I did last week, and when I got wet everyone was pointing and laughing (even more so than usual!). Not quite like Bergen - if you decide to wait till it stops raining there, you might be stuck for a couple days...

School has started and the first two weeks I attended around 10 lectures, but only twice did the professors show up. And we don't have any books! We have to get hand outs at one of the dozens of photocopiers spread out around campus - and I seem to be the only one who doesn't know where to get them. Well, that's not true, whenever I ask someone, they don't seem to know either. Then next time, as if by magic, they have them, but they still don't know where to get them! It is frustrating, and I have to say I have new appreciation for how easy everything is at home.

In a few of my classes I'm the only white person, and the only one who is new here, and it does give me more attention in a day than in a year of lectures at home. It's easy to be singled out, commented on by the lecturer, and have the whole classes looking back over their shoulder at you for the remaining hour of class. I'm kinda looking forward to being invisible again.

I'm also looking forward to Christmas, I miss warm water in the shower, washing machines, fridges and being able to do more cooking than just boiling water.

But I also know that I'll later look at these few months as an experience of a lifetime, and now that I'm in the middle of it I am determined to make the most of it.

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